Bringing the Classroom Home

Online learning classroom. Teacher giving a lecture online to a student.

By Sunny Lewis for Maximpact

LONDON, UK, March 20, 2020 ( News) – As schools throughout the world close their doors to slow the spread of coronavirus, the demand for online learning classes is growing exponentially. In the UK, after the last class on Friday afternoon is over, schools will remain closed until further notice as part of the country’s response to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Reluctant for weeks to close the nation’s schools, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said Wednesday that he was forced to close classrooms to up to eight million pupils in England – the first countrywide school shutdown in modern British history – as the virus spread faster than anticipated, forcing teachers and pupils to self-isolate.

The decision came hours after Scotland and Wales announced their own blanket school closures, and thousands of schools in England decided on their own to close or turn away pupils amid staff shortages and parents’ concerns.

Schools will remain open, however, for the supervision of hundreds of thousands of children of National Health Service (NHS) staff and other frontline workers, as well as for vulnerable children, Johnson said.

He also announced a national voucher scheme to ensure that pupils eligible for free school meals get a meal each day, and said that this summer’s exams would be replaced by teacher assessment.

Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with special educational needs requiring support.

Scientific advice shows that these settings are safe for this small number of children to continue attending, but asking others to stay away will help us to slow the spread of the contagious disease.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said, “Fighting coronavirus and protecting the vulnerable and our NHS are the government’s top priorities right now. We are facing increasingly extraordinary circumstances, but by asking schools to support our key workers and vulnerable children I am confident we will help beat this virus.”

Learning Migrates Online

With many schools facing physical campus closures and moving to online learning due to COVID-19, the American software company Adobe is announcing greater access to Adobe Creative Cloud desktop apps to facilitate distance learning.

Adobe resources are available to teachers across the world, no matter where they are based, and have been designed to adapt to any curriculum.

“We believe that doing so will make it possible to keep coursework, teamwork, and student progress on track through at-home access to Creative Cloud for students and educators,” the company said in a statement this week.

Adobe is giving its higher education and K-12 institutional customers globally, who currently make Creative Cloud apps available to students who login through on-campus labs, the ability to request temporary “at-home” access for their students and educators. This will be granted through May 31, 2020 at no additional cost. To learn more and request access, please follow this link.

We also know that delivering engaging experiences through distance learning is a new paradigm for many teachers and faculty. Through our community, we’ve curated resources to help educators and school leaders discover inspiring projects, best practices, and new ideas so they can continue to drive valuable learning in virtual environments. For more information on Adobe’s distance learning resources please click here.

Adobe also has a role to play in schools, businesses, and government agencies, and earlier this week Adobe began to offer free 90-day access to Adobe Connect, the web conferencing solution, until July 1, 2020. This offer gives users the ability to join meetings, trainings, and virtual classrooms from the safety of their homes.

The Adobe template project explores how social entrepreneurs have built enterprises which make a profit, and also improve the lives of vulnerable communities around the world.

Pupils learn how social enterprises address the Sustainable Development Goals. The course contains case studies of social enterprises, photographs of the people they work with, and inspiring stories of how their lives have been changed.

These materials can be used with or without a partner school, and instructions are provided on how to best use the resources.

Take Online Courses From Ivy League Schools for Free

With the coronavirus changing the ins and outs of our daily lives and public health officials imploring us to stay home and socially isolate ourselves, many of us will have time on our hands.

There are numerous ideas out there, from what to read, virtual museum exhibits, and aquarium and zoo podcasts to online classes for kids to keep their minds engaged and flexible.

People can now take classes from prestigious universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Cornell online in the safe haven of their homes, and they are free.

Dhawal Shah, CEO of online education clearinghouse Class Central, suggests that those bored in isolation at home check out his company’s list

of nearly 500 free online courses offered by Ivy League universities online.

There are classes on just about anything you can imagine, from Shakespeare to classical music to Buddhist philosophy. Here’s some of particular interest to business owners:

  • “The Science of Well-Being,” Yale
  • “Introduction to Computer Science,” Harvard
  • “American Capitalism: A History,” Cornell
  • “Introduction to Marketing,” University of Pennsylvania
  • “Economics of Money and Banking,” Columbia
  • “The Computing Technology Inside Your Cell Phone,” Cornell
  • “Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies,” Princeton
  • “Improving Your Business Through a Culture of Health,” Harvard
  • “Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content,” University of Pennsylvania
  • “Entrepreneurship 1: Developing the Opportunity,” University of Pennsylvania
  • “Machine Learning,” Brown
  • “Networks: Friends, Money, and Bytes,” Princeton

Online Learning Strategies That Work

The International Society for Technology in Education

offers 10 stratagies for online learning during the coronavirus outbreak.

Ensuring digital equity is the first strategy. Jenna Conan, technology integration specialist at All Saints’ Episcopal School in Fort Worth, Texas, points out that most families don’t have one computer per person. During a school shutdown, parents may also be working from home, meaning several people could be competing for one or two computers. So, make sure all online apps work on mobile devices in case a laptop is not available.

For teachers or students who don’t have Wi-Fi at home, districts must figure out how to buy or rent Wi-Fi hotspots and then have a plan for distributing both devices and hotspots.

Another strategy reminds teachers not already using a learning management system regularly to dive in now so that there will be no interruption in communication in the event of a sudden closure.

Teachers should train themselves and their students on the apps and technology tools they may need to use in the event of closure. Practice in the classroom and then send students off to try using the tools from home, says Sandra Chow, director of innovation and digital learning at Keystone Academy in Beijing.

Chow, who has been teaching online since coronavirus shut down her school in early February, says educators won’t regret spending time on this.

“None of this learning will go to waste moving forward,” she says, “as many of the skills learned during the online learning period will be equally beneficial in a regular classroom.”

Maximpact’s Online Courses 

Maximpact has been providing live online learning courses in Grant Proposal Writing, Sustainable Waste Management and Fundraising since 2016. Due to demand from participants that are scattered around different timezones, Maximpact has launched a pre-recorded

Grant Proposal Writing Course and Training of Trainers Course.

Now, those who wish to take the Grant Proposal Writing Course and Training of Trainers, can.

Contact [email protected] for any further information.

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