As COVID-19 restrictions start to lift around Australia, we will slowly transition back to school and students will enter into the physical classroom. What happens to the remote learning classrooms that we have built over the past two months? Will remote learning platforms such as Microsoft Teams continue to be a key element in teaching, or will we lose the gains we’ve made? We believe it is time to lock in the gains and adopt a blended learning approach the continues to leverage the technology and the new skills that have been developed along with the face to face classroom teaching to benefit students.
In the last two months, teaching has transformed from a face to face teaching into an online platform with meetings, group calls, file storage and private messaging. Teachers have had to adapt to the new landscape and have done a tremendous job at it. It isn’t an easy feat, completely changing a routine within a matter of weeks. Microsoft Teams has eased the transition with an interface that is familiar for many people who use Microsoft Outlook. It has enabled students and their families to have a direct point of contact to ask questions, speak to each other and learn.
Another gain that we have seen through the transition to online teaching is the adaptability of teachers, students and families in effectively using a new tools. It has not been easy with little time to prepare the content as well as the students and families for new ways of working. We have heard and experienced the challenges of learning and teaching in new places and in new ways. For teachers, parents and students to adapt and so quickly to learn the in’s and out’s of this collaborative software is outstanding. Will these agency gains that teachers, students and families have made continue in the future?
So in consolidating these gains, while authentically engaging in the capabilities of the 6C’s (character, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking) within the context of a blended learning pedagogy, we have found that we can increase student engagement through personalization and ownership enabled by leveraging a platform like Microsoft Teams.
COVID-19 hasn’t been enjoyable, but in tough times people adapt and overcome issues. Schools adapted their teaching routines to benefit students and families and as a result, technology has enhanced learning. It has given children a new platform to learn, communicate and collaborate on and families are now more connected with their children’s educations and teachers. We think this is what is required of teaching and learning in the modern era – blended learning that is flexible, delivered anywhere anytime, that leverages technology like Microsoft Teams and continues to strengthen links with families and partners.