How to lead a digital school
On the 17th of April, I will be hosting a webinar with MindMingle and Microsoft. You can find more info about MindMingle here. I first heard about this organization when they organized a visit for school leaders in India to my school a year ago. May 2019, seems like a lifetime ago. You can read about the visit here.
The agenda this time is to discuss how to lead a digital school when all the students are home working on different devices. I will be sharing experiences from my own school and what I have found to be smart initiatives today.
The goals for the webinar
- What to do when schools close down
- Replacing brick-and-mortar education with Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Understanding the role of the teacher when the students are no longer able to physically attend school
- Discuss how to ensure validity and reliability in online assessments
The speed and scale of school and university closures represents an unprecedented challenge for the education sector and many institutions are scrambling to develop long-distance learning solutions. Even though remote learning is proving successful in some areas, uncertainty regarding the duration of the crisis is complicating the situation. Prolonged school closures can have adverse consequences such as children and youth being deprived of opportunities for growth and development while parents are often forced to remain at home, impacting both family paychecks and the wider economy as a whole. Source; Forbes.
Setting it up
- Information to teachers, parents, and students. Have up to date channels for clear and comprehensible information.
- Students and teachers meet at specific times. Good advice is to keep the school’s timetable. Use Teams or Zoom.
- The content should have the same high quality in the learning as usual.
- Teachers should make clear plans for each class. Many students will struggle with self-discipline.
- Teachers have to report back the instance they think a student is falling behind.
- This is the time for students to realize that they need to take ownership of their learning. They are responsible when it comes to being assessed and eventually get a report card.
When working with technology, teacher involvement and leadership is vital. And today it is even more so. In other words, students are facing daunting times, they are scared, they are uncertain, and they are at home. The presence of the teacher is significant, and we don’t really know how long it will last. Even if I’m confident, “This too shall pass,” my fear is that many students will end up with report cards with missing grades. That could in a worst-case scenario lead to many students having to take the year over again
- Digital content. There is an abundant choice of material online now. In Norway, they have a lot of free digital content, and it looks like that is the same in other countries as well. UNESCO has shared a lot of digital content the different countries can use. Look here
Peer assessment is an effective classroom technique for improving academic performance. The results indicate that peer assessment can be effective across a wide range of subject areas, education levels, and assessment types. If used correctly, peer assessment can free up time for the teacher to assist students with more significant difficulties or for more complex tasks. Anonymity is vital because assessors are more likely, to be honest in their feedback, and interpersonal processes cannot influence how assessees receive the assessment feedback.”
When students are at home, we can’t always monitor what they do, but:
- We can discuss academic achievements with students using Teams or zoom, alone or in groups.
- We can collect products from students in different formats (videos, podcasts, websites, presentations, written texts)
- We may ask students to document their work processes, through photo, video, audio, or written reports.
- We may ask students to improve, evaluate, comment on, or reflect on previously submitted works.
Student and teacher wellness in this difficult time
School leaders need to take the time to talk to the teachers to hear how they are doing and if there is anything they can do to help in this situation.
I know many leaders are talking about this now. Like in the Tweet below.
These questions are a good reminder that connection matters most, and everything else is secondary; George Couros.
At our school, we conducted a survey with our students and what we found was this:
438 students have answered, we are 950 so about half the students have answered so far.
How do you find working from home?
146 = Ok, 85 = works well, 100 = miss school, 36 = difficult, 72 = too much work
How is homeschool influencing your mental health?
139 = no difference, 81 = prefer working from home, 219 = I’m struggling with motivation now
We would like to offer those who would like to socialize something to do now, choose from these activities during lunch break or afternoons:
195 = Quizzes, 31 = Chess, 91 = Music, 120 = meeting and adult and go for a walk, 35 = book recommendations,
Other answers here; play Fifa games online, Netflix Party.
All in all our students give this situation a 3,5 out of 5 stars.
LEADERS!!! In a time of uncertainty let’s make sure we are CONSISTENT and CONNECTED for those we serve. The 2 best questions to start the day are…HOW ARE YOU DOING? DO YOU NEED ANYTHING?#LeadFromWhereYouAre #1minwalk2work #ImpactTheNarrative #HackingLeadership pic.twitter.com/cfi5c0nuCB
— Joe Sanfelippo (@Joe_Sanfelippo) March 21, 2020
Add your name and contact info if you would like more info or contact with Norwegian students here.