In these unique times, when we are considering the closure of schools for indefinite periods of time to limit the spread of Covid-19, attention is drawn to strategies that allow learning to continue without the physical geography of school. Suddenly, we are hearing a lot of commentary on social media feeds and in the press around remote learning.
The broader debate on whether technology should/should not be integrated into learning has been temporarily disrupted to consider how we can use connectivity and devices to sustain education in these unusual days.
Remote Learning is Not New
Remote learning is nothing new. I’m old enough to remember the British Pathe piece on the Australian “School of the Air” back in the 60’s. Children in the remote outback receiving their lessons on short wave radio. And yes, we now have a whole host of new technologies to ensure children can continue to learn without physically attending school, but that does present a problem of choice. There are so many options and remote learning is still not an established enough as an additional/alternative strategy to compare its efficacy with physical schooling.
And it requires training; experience and access to the right media to be effective.
Free From Harm
It has suddenly presented us with a different ecosystem and, like all other ecosystems we are required to provide for children and young people, they need to be free from harm for all users.
So whilst the advice offered to schools over the last few days have been focussed on which technology route to adopt, we here at SWGfL want to remind educators that whatever you choose, it needs to be safe. It requires the same duty of care that you would apply to any other learning environment.
Safeguarding Advice for Remote Learning
We’ve listed a set of safeguarding checks that might inform which route you eventually adopt, along with a flyer to share with SLT, Governors, Directors and Staff and more detailed safeguarding advice on the individual technologies.
And remember we also run the UK Safer Internet Centre Professionals Online Safety Helpline, where you can get expert advice specifically designed for those who work with children and young people.