Illustration of two people looking down on their smartphone device

Coming To A Device Near You Soon

This year we’ve all had to learn to do lots of things in different ways.  Central to my business life are conferences and exhibitions, an opportunity to get together with those who are like-minded, share our knowledge, learn from each other, show our best and get to know one and other better face-to-face.

This month I’ve attended two – Edutech Middle East and Frankfurt Book Fair.  Although covering different subject areas, the themes were similar.  In the case of Edutech, how are schools and learning systems changing because of the global pandemic and in the case of the Frankfurt Book Fair, how is the publishing industry changing in a brand new online world?  

In both instances, the switch in demand to digital services for education and content has been sudden and considerable.  This was backed up by major education publishers – on 5th October The Bookseller published an article where Pearson, Scholastic and Hodder all reported that digital sales were sky-rocketing as a result of the global pandemic.  In the Middle East, where oil-rich states spend lavish amounts on technology, content and infrastructure, AI has been the saviour helping to manage the massive amounts of data which are being generated by a full switch to a digital learning world.

It hasn’t been a case of having to start from scratch either.  There has been massive investment in the education sector in the creation of digital learning resources, the technology to deliver these and the infrastructure needed for learners to effectively learn in a purely digital world for around 20 years.  It wasn’t though until these had to be relied on 100%, that they were relied on 100%.  The pandemic has accelerated everything.  Those publishers whose digital infrastructure and content were strong, structured and ready to deliver has benefitted tremendously whereas those whose wasn’t have had a tough time.  

In the world of education in the Middle East, a parallel and similar story has played out to the same conclusion.  The technology has been in place for some time, but it was the pandemic which was the catalyst to make a full transition to the widespread use of that technology by teachers and students in their day-to-day lives.

The biggest changes I’ve had to face in my daily life this year is the huge increase in screen time and the complete lack of human interaction other than by a screen that I’m having right now.  I’m pretty larger than life and over the years have enjoyed participating in hundreds of physical conferences and exhibitions.  I enjoy getting together en masse with like-minded people from my industry or area of specific interest and discussing all the ins and outs of these, meeting new people and learning new facts and points of view.  Since March I’ve been out of my house for business on two occasions and now with everyone glued to their screens because conferences are back in full swing, I’ve learned that watching short video precis of conference presentations which some are producing, or having the video and sound on whilst sitting in the digital networking area, or whilst making comments/asking questions in the chat field to the panel, is allowing a different and unique sort of involvement.  

At both online conferences, I’ve been able to make new contacts and ask questions which were answered.  Whilst I’ve missed seeing people that I’ve known for many years, and I’ve missed the physical interaction which is lost in the 2D world of a presentational live stream or video, I’m finding different and interesting ways to manoeuvre my way through the proceedings of an online conference.  

All around us things have changed this year.  The feedback from learners I hear both from my own children and those presenting as case studies at conferences is that the educational world they’re in now is one that they recognize more than before.  I have noticed the considerable uptick in digital learning that my son’s school have offered this year – a full online learning platform with interactive video, games and puzzles helping him through the maze of really getting to grips with reading, writing arithmetic in year one at school.  We had our first year one parent/teacher meeting on Zoom!

My hope is that we will return soon a more normal way of living.  I hope to be able to visit in person conferences and exhibitions again that are relevant to my work and business sector.  

But for the time being, my trusty laptop and smartphone are doing the hard yards and bringing the world to me.

Illustration image of Motion Graphics Designer Caoimhe Sweeney

Employee Spotlight: Caoimhe Sweeney, Motion Graphics Designer

Another month, another time to shine a light on one of our brilliant Motion Graphics Designer, Caoimhe Sweeney! Caoimhe has been working for Makematic for over 2 years and has been involved in multiple projects. We caught up with her this month to talk about her role at Makematic.

How did you get your job at Makematic?

A director I work with recommended a freelance position within Makematic on a project they were finalising. I really enjoyed working with the team and was happy to accept a full-time position with the company within a couple of months.

On a day to day basis, what are your responsibilities and priorities?

My day-to-day really varies depending on the type of project, which keeps things exciting and challenging. My average day consists of creating artworks and visuals, then animating and tweaking them in After Effects. Some projects need assets to be created that are ready to be dropped into an editors timeline, others involve creating entire videos. 

How do motion graphic designers collaborate with other teams within the company?

Translating a script into visual form is definitely a collaborative effort that involves working with producers/writers/researchers to outline visual goals. Understandably, it can take multiple iterations to find the most suitable visuals, and having a strong collaborative team ethos throughout the journey is essential. 

Are you working on any big projects?

At this moment I am working on the ‘Untold’ series, which is the biggest project with the most team members I have worked on so far. This project is so illuminating, each video is a spotlight into lesser-known, or untold, American histories. The team are creating beautiful works, which are not only really interesting but visually inspiring as well.

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned while working at Makematic?

Coming from an artistic background, the main lesson for me is how much you can learn and elevate your practise by working with others to achieve a common creative goal. If you are interested in making films or digital content, no matter what stage you are at, try to find people with similar interest and collaborate on some work together.


Caoimhe has worked on TOM: Teaching Online Masterclass, Unity, BrandEd and Adobe: Digital Literacy, which is available now on Adobe Education Exchange. You can also watch the trailer below.

In case you missed it, read our two previous Employee Spotlight blogs featuring Conor McKelvey (Motion Graphics Designer) and Ryan Lee (now Producer!).

Image of Tara Walsh and Eduardo Morlan in this episode of taking classes online

Episode 2: Taking Classes Online

Taking Classes Online is an interview and blog series where real educators share their experiences of teaching online. This month, I had the pleasure of talking to Eduardo Mórlan from Mexico. Eduardo has been teaching online since 2014, so it was great to hear his insights about teaching languages remotely.

My interview technique is improving slightly, but it’s clear there is still a long way to go. Despite that, Eduardo has shared some really great tips and tricks that can be implemented in any online class.

Check Out Teaching Online Masterclass

If you haven’t checked out Teaching Online Masterclass (TOM) yet, I suggest you get started.

You’ll be sure to find something of interest to help you navigate the online teaching and learning space.

If you’ve got a story to share or would like to write a blog, send me an email and I’ll be in touch.

Make sure to check out the first episode of Taking Classes Online where I spoke to UK educator Dr Heather McClue about the trials and tribulations of taking her law classes online.

animated drawing of teen sitting alone

Online Book Club Is No Replacement For A Killers Concert

Amid ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the unique frustrations and struggles faced by teenagers and their parents during lockdown are being overlooked, writes Jack Pickard.

“Hang on, my daughter has just started eating the dog’s food!” – before the coronavirus, the weekly board meeting normally ended with AOB and setting the next agenda, not retrieving your offspring from the kitchen floor. This is a typical COVID-era example used to highlight work-life struggles as we’re forced to work, study and parent at home. And parenting during lockdown is certainly not easy. But this applies to all ages of children.

Many are under the impression that teens are easier to look after during pandemic-enforced restrictions as they are more independent. Any attention or advice has been for parents with younger children, leaving the exasperated parents of teenagers forgotten and unsupported. But with so many parents of teens struggling during lockdown, this should not be the case. Teenagers, like young children, bring their own set of problems, all of which are magnified when forced to stay inside.

Take homeschooling and maths problems. Teens’ maths isn’t just simple addition and subtraction any more. Questions like ‘x2 + 4x -2 = 0, find x’ leave you not only struggling to understand the question in the first place, never mind answering it, but also wondering how someone ever lost x in the first place, given there’s one right under that small 2 and another next to the 4!

Being unable to help out in these subjects not only inhibits teenagers from being able to learn but it is also very demotivating for them, making it hard to encourage them to keep working. The result: raised voices, slammed doors and dirty looks for the rest of the day.

Another struggle for parents is trying to fill the void left by a year of cancelled activities that teens had been looking forward to so much. The advice is to find something new and interesting to do – join an online reading group perhaps, something you’d never thought of doing before lockdown. But for a teen, who was hoping to attend Leeds Fest, that just isn’t going to cut it. Not that reading groups aren’t incredibly exciting, but I reckon the atmosphere at a reading group might be slightly different to a festival. I don’t think I have ever managed to properly discuss the merits of the Great Gatsby as a commentary of the time period whilst being crushed in a mosh pit.

This excitement of freedom and friends is something that should be experienced away from parents. But with ongoing lockdown and restrictions on our social lives making this impossible – what are parents supposed to do to help their teens enjoy these times as best they can?

Freedom and friends also come with other more complicated problems. Unlike younger children, teenagers start to experience issues such as friends falling out and navigating the friendship groups that they belong to. Not quite Brexit, granted – they are not having to make complex political alliances or consider the impact that a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will have on the economy. But even so, teens are more socially developed, and their issues are much more complicated than a younger child’s struggle to pull two Lego bricks apart (unless that was actually a part of the Brexit negotiations?). 

All these things stirred together with a much-too-generous helping of hormones leave struggling parents with a rather unpleasant cocktail: a teenager with rapid mood swings and complicated problems that requires much more emotional energy than they did ten years ago.

While younger kids may demand more physically, teens require a different kind of patience, sympathy and understanding. Ignoring this and focussing attention mainly on parents with younger children alienates parents with teenagers, who are also having a hard time. As lockdowns look set to continue for the foreseeable future, let’s widen our focus to offer sympathy and support to parents and children of all ages. 

Animated drawing of wifi symbol, books and laptop to show different methods of teaching

The Acceleration Of Online Teaching And Learning

The whole notion of online teaching and professional development is not an old one. In fact, I was surprised to learn that its history begins way back in 1981 when the Western Behavioural Sciences Inst in La Jolla, CA, started running distance education for business executives via computer conferencing. Since then, many multinational businesses have grown within the space and traditional businesses have metamorphosised through a move to online learning. 

Kids are turning up aged 5 at school now with a digital-savvy to rival the best. Teachers have access to whiteboards, laptops, internet connections, online resources from publishers, brands, non-profits, digital content, VLEs and it all works swimmingly. Right? Well judging by what I have seen of my son’s first one year and one month of primary school, there’s still room for improvement.  

When faced with a complete lockdown and need to provide proper online teaching, the local education system, appeared to creak at the seams. Maybe it is because it doesn’t seem as though there has been a concerted effort to couple the introduction of new technology in schools, with the introduction of blended learning methodology in teacher training. This would overall raise the bar in state education and without this approach, digital learning and digital content become ancillary to the ‘analogue’ classroom experience.

My first interaction with online digital learning was around 15 years ago in the professional space when a member of my team excitedly showed me Lynda.com, now of course Linked In Learning. Lynda was the gateway to the world of online learning for me – many of the experiments and projects we were attempting to do at that time as an early digital publishing team, were beyond our combined knowledge and capability, and being on tight budgets invariably we would learn software packages or web design techniques via the easy-to-use searchable interface that Lynda provided. I didn’t look back.

Since then, there has been a massive increase in the amount of both office and classroom hardware and software being produced and sold all around the world along with all manner of different attendant courses on how to make everything work.  

In the classroom, the ubiquitous classroom whiteboard is supplemented with voting pads, laptops, iPads, and a whole host of other technology hardware and software products and services. As this has grown, the amount of video content has grown targeting teachers and giving them tips on how to use it.

This year the COVID crisis has highlighted both the need for increased interaction with online resources in any form of education for both teachers and learners.  Our own recently launched TOM – Teaching Online Masterclass is a free online professional development resource for teachers making the leap into remote teaching and learning. Teachers, who hold a crucial role within the education eco-system, are being rapidly upskilled in the methodology of teaching both in the classroom and online using a blend of different learning experiences. This is key to creating the community they create in the classroom, in the online space – a definite challenge. If they don’t, they risk being left out in the rain. Their pupils will become alienated and the process will become soggy and tired.

We have learned from my son’s school that at the flick of a switch, his year one teacher can take the classroom experience and re-create it online with individual 1:1 teacher Zoom time factored in for each and every child online too.  We now have a timetable for home-learning should the school be closed, and if it’s needed will give him 1:1 teacher Zoom time every two days – something which in its own right is no mean feat. 

Teaching and learning are going through an enforced change right now.  With little or no notice, thousands of schools up and down the country are having to adapt and change to home-schooling supported by the teacher online.  Whilst the last lockdown was pretty much a write-off educationally from the perspective of every fellow parent that I’ve spoken to, there seems to have been a huge technology uptick in our local school since. Systems have been geared up to make sure that everything can be run as if it were in the school, and a questionnaire sent before the term even started has made sure that every child has access to the technology needed in a home-schooling environment, if just via a smartphone.  

We are hoping that school stays open, but if not, then this time round, teachers and their pupils have better support.  Let us hope it will be a more fun and educational time.

Animate drawing of Motion Graphics Designer Conor McKelvey. Employee Spotlight text included

Employee Spotlight: Conor McKelvey, Motion Graphics Designer

In this month’s employee spotlight, we chatted to one of our Motion Graphics Designer Conor McKelvey. Conor has been working at Makematic for nearly 3 years! We chatted with him to find out more about his role in the company.

How did you get your job at Makematic?

I first started working with Makematic as a freelancer. I had just finished my BA (Hons) in Visual Communication and was looking for work, which was unfortunately scarce in Donegal. However, Dan, the lead animator here (who I knew prior) let me onto some freelance illustration work for BBC Bitesize. After finishing that, I was then brought back to do some animation work for their Minecraft series. Eventually, a full-time job offer opened up and I got it.

On a day to day basis, what are your responsibilities and priorities?

My day-to-day usually involves either developing ideas, illustrating, or animating. While I’m doing these I also have to keep an eye on my time management to ensure that my end of the projects is delivered on time.

How do motion graphic designers collaborate with other teams within the company? 

Most of our content has some kind of motion graphics or animation in it, so collaboration comes with the territory. Motion designers often collaborate with producers to help develop concepts, then realise those concepts for projects. However, other things can pop up such as helping to create content for marketing. 

Are you working on any big projects?

At the minute I’m working on Macmillan (publishing) and getting assets together for a new project called Beehive by Oxford University Press.

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned while working at Makematic?

No matter how good you think something is, there will always be changes!


Conor’s talent for animation is not only shown in our videos at Makematic, but you can also watch it on BBC iPlayer! He was recently commissioned for the BBC Two Minute Masterpiece for his short film “The Draught”. Watch it here

Conor has worked on our Skillsumo series, Think Like A Global Citizen series and many more! You can find this by visiting our VOD site.

Make sure to check out our other Employee Spotlight blog with Assistant Producer, Ryan Lee! Read it here

Animation of children in the classroom with devices

EdTech News – September

For many of us, September means the start of the new school year. This year, there’s a lot of uncertainty and changes to the usual set-up. Some students aren’t going back at all, some will have a hybrid model and others will sit in a classroom that looks and feels very different from before. Over these last six months, a lot has been written about the effect of COVID on Education and a lot more research will need to be done to assess the full effects. However, we do already know that some changes will be here to stay. Some people even say that the new desk set-up in the primary school classrooms, with all pupils facing the same direction towards the teacher, will increase attainment. 

This article gives you some more insight into what the future of the classroom may look like. Hologram teachers are only just the start. 

Two contrasting scenarios are offered here about EdTech and content consumption. First of all, a report by Credit Suisse, which claims that education is having its own Netflix moment. Secondly, how EdTech companies in South East Asia are partnering up with Telecoms providers. 

This article explains that where internet access is scarce, students, teachers and parents are turning to ‘old-fashioned’ television for their lessons. It is lacking the interactive element, but in countries like Brazil, this has become the dominant model over the last couple of months. It certainly is better than nothing and it looks like some countries are going to invest more in their televised educational system. 

At Makematic we continue the roll-out of Untold History stories during September, and this article offers some food for thought around history textbooks and the way that history is taught. 

What do you think, are we teaching our children enough critical thinking skills? 

Animated drawing of desktop showing books and illustrating classes online

Taking European Studies and Modern Foreign Languages Online

In her first blog for Makematic, Dublin based, European Studies and Modern Foreign Languages Teacher, Victoria Malcolm talks about how she successfully took her classes online.

March 12th, 2020 – We are sent home from school with hardly enough time to think about which books we might need for a period of lockdown. After all, none of us have done this before. Teach all their classes from home. Whilst simultaneously running primary school classes for our kids, queuing everywhere for everything, learning how to keep a safe distance and minding ourselves and others in this “new normal”. 

In the weeks running up to the lockdown in my school, a huge amount of work had gone on in the background to help us make the move to online learning. We had chosen Google Classroom as our means of communication and collaboration, as many colleagues were already using this. That said, having a class set up on Google Classroom and being relatively confident using it did not in any way prepare me for the demands of online teaching. In the space of a week, we went from never having heard of Zoom to black belt proficiency as we struggled to work out how we could best provide some sort of continuity of learning for our students. Add to this the ever-increasing saga that was Calculated Grades and the worry that kept you awake at night wondering had you done everything you could to make sure that your 6th Form students received a fair, reflective grade.

Five Months Later …

Fast forward to August 2020 and we are once again consumed by thoughts of school. Are those same classrooms that we longed for in the dark days of April really safe for us to go back to? How will lockdown have affected our colleagues and our students? Will we have everyone back at school? What happens if there is an outbreak of the virus in our school? It is this last question that causes me to look back at my experience of online learning and ask myself what worked, remember – with blushing cheeks – what didn’t and think about how to incorporate this into a plan of action for the new term where online learning may, once again, play a key role in our classrooms.

Zoom Actually Works

What worked? Zoom, surprisingly. Thankfully, all the internet horror stories of suddenly finding yourself in Johnny’s bedroom, watching him eat breakfast in bed at 11am and go through his German homework at the same time weren’t borne out – in my classes at least. An online code of behaviour is, however, non-negotiable

Set basic rules of engagement for your students: 

  • Behave as you would in class, 
  • Dress appropriately, 
  • Have all the class materials you need for the lesson, 
  • Be patient and respect others. 

Webcam On or Off?

Decide from the outset whether you want cameras on or off, your own included – 

often a quick check-in at the start of the class and a quick round-up at the end is enough with cameras on but it depends on the activity. 

Here are some ways I navigated this:

  • For my Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) classes, we were building towards an online oral exam as part of the end of year assessment, so being able to see one another was important. 
  • If I was working on a grammar point, however, the cameras would be off. No need for us to see the pain etched on one another’s faces. 

Private Chats and Breakout Rooms

But it’s not just the webcam, it’s the private chat function and the breakout rooms that were a game changer and is something I would love to be able to do in my real-life classroom! Here’s how:

  • At the start of class, I use the private chat function on Zoom to check-in privately on individual students. I found that a number of students who are normally very quiet in class really embraced the chat function as they felt they were able to ask questions without fear of intimidation from students who work at a faster pace. 
  • At the start of online teaching, I was overwhelmed by the intensity of the 30-minute class online. It was very demanding. However, giving students a task and putting them in breakout rooms to work on something for a timed period allowed me space to breathe and also to think about how the remainder of the class would progress once we were back together as a group. I made sure to drop in on each breakout group at least once to make sure that they were on task – they always were and I think they enjoyed the break from me as much as I did from them! I always chose the random allocation function for the breakout room, as that way, students who might not ordinarily work together in class, got the chance to do so.

Google Classroom

Google Classroom worked well, especially since not all students were able to attend live online classes or simply found them overwhelming. Here are some things I would recommend:

  • It is important to give clear, concise instructions. Don’t write essays. 
  • I got into the habit of writing a quick summary of what we had covered in class that day plus noting any work I had assigned for homework. 
  • Following feedback from my classes, I tried to put up a scheme of work for the week, including any homework exercises, on a Monday morning. That way, if anyone missed a class, the work was there for them. It also had the advantage of keeping me on top of everything and it is a written record of what we covered, including any notes posted, for when the new school year starts. 
  • In the beginning, I was frustrated when students were uploading handwritten work and I was trying to encourage them to type it. Then you realise just how much longer an assignment takes when you are doing it online. Very few of them are graduates of the Mavis Beacon School of Typing and so found that typing assignments made the whole process even longer. You can annotate a photograph of a handwritten page easily in Google Classroom so don’t sweat the small stuff.
  • As an aside, I believe that Microsoft OneNote was the absolute bomb for those schools using Microsoft Teams as their online forum. You can do all sorts of lovely things like recording verbal feedback for pieces of work, which cuts down on your workload considerably. That said, it is possible to upload audio files to Google Classroom so if you want to record yourself explaining the complexities of German word order and send it on to your students, you can! 

Keep It Simple

Overall, I kept it to these two main tools – Google Classroom and Zoom. I dipped into Quizlet once or twice for new vocab but found making new quizzes time-consuming to be honest. Colleagues had good success with pre-recorded material – voicing over PowerPoint presentations, showing worked examples via Screencastify – but I found that Google Classroom and Zoom suited my MFL classroom and, importantly, what I was comfortable and confident using.

Check This Out

Finally, I found a great visual from Online Teaching @ KIS; Do This, Not That by Alison Yang with some very simple, but very important advice...

the online classroom is not the same as the real life classroom and you cannot simply transfer your teaching from one to the other


Top Tips

  • Don’t take on too much – whether this is using new technology or taking up work to correct and, most importantly, give yourself some time off. 
  • Be available during the school day but don’t answer emails from students or parents outside of office hours unless you wish to. 
  • Don’t beat yourself up if your lesson doesn’t go as planned. Learn to laugh at yourself. Your students will find the whole experience much easier if there is not an air of palpable tension in each lesson. 

And finally, use the first few weeks back at school to show your students how to use the technology you would plan to use if we need to go back to working from home. Second time around has to be easier, right?

Image of blog author Victoria Malcolm along with her bio description
Illustration of earth surrounded by different people with different occupations

EdTech News – August

August is for many students, educators and parents ‘Back to school’ month, but for many this year that isn’t the case because of Covid-19. I found some interesting articles on both sides of the debate on whether schools should re-open or not. 

One teacher from Cambridge, Massachusetts in the US makes the case against re-opening schools. The author believes that a physical classroom operating under the new social distance guidelines will be “less effective and less traumatic than the inadequate and painful remote learning experience”. 

Of course, the rules, regulations and circumstances for countries let alone individuals vary a lot. The Economist argues that the benefits of actually reopening schools far outweigh the costs and that countries who didn’t reopen their schools a few months ago should look at those that did.

Finally, a report from Credit Suisse on how the adoption and usage of EdTech has swelled during the Covid-19 crisis, fast-tracking the digitalisation of education by 5-10 years. 

This crisis has changed so many things and the way adults and children learn is just one of them. 

Image of teachers and students in the classroom learning

What Does It Mean To Support Students With Learning Disabilities?

Lately, I’ve been doing a fair bit of work with my school leaders to help our staff be better positioned to teach and support our Students with Learning Needs (SWLN). It’s not to say that our staff are not doing anything – they are. It’s also not to say that they don’t know what they are doing – on the most part, they do. But I’ve come to the realization that there is, a lack of understanding in knowing the ‘why’ behind their supports, (aside from the obvious why that is).

Why do we modify, adjust or accommodate the learning needs of students?

The obvious answer lies in our legal obligations. The Australian Disability Discrimination Act (Government, 2020) and Disability Standards for Education (DEAT, 2018) relate to ensuring that

(1) a person is not treated unfairly because of their disability and

(2) that a student with a disability can learn and participate in education on the same basis as their peers.

Within our classroom and our teaching practice, it is up to us to ensure that a SWLN is able to learn and is not made to feel different because of their struggles. I mean you wouldn’t ask a student with a broken leg to run 100 metre race, would you?

And it’s the words – modify, adjust and accommodate – that I’ve come to realise that staff struggle to understand. By unpacking the differences between modification, adjustment and accommodation I’ve seen a real change in classroom practice.

Let’s unpack this further

Modification. In education terms, modification means that changes in academic expectations need to be made. That the student is working at a level below their peers, and as such, we need to modify the curriculum expectations to enable them to achieve and feel success. A student with an Intellectual Disability or a Developmental Language Delay requires modifications. They are cognitively behind their age appropriate peers so cannot be expected to complete the exact same output as their peers. Teachers need to modify their level of work so that it is more cognitively appropriate. Students who require modification may also benefit from accommodations and adjustments, depending on the subject and their challenges.

Accommodations and adjustments can be discussed in the same manner. This is where teachers need to make decisions that either accommodate the disability or the learning is adjusted because of the disability.

  • When we accommodate, we use our knowledge of the learning challenges for the student and use this for their outcomes.
  •  Yet, when we make adjustments, we are changing the way we expect an output from a student because of their challenge.

Take Dyslexia for example – it is a Specific Learning Disorder generally related to reading and writing. We can’t ask a student with a reading disability to sit and read a passage of text aloud to the class, or even to themselves, without some sort of accommodation or adjustment. To accommodate the dyslexia, a teacher would avoid asking this student to read aloud. To make an adjustment for dyslexia would be to allow the student to use assistive technology that reads aloud to them as they follow along.

How to know which is appropriate?

This is where your knowledge of your student in your class is paramount. When planning your lesson or assessment task, teachers need to take the time to consider the following question for each SWLN.

  • Is the student capable with a couple of tweaks or will it not be enough to just tweak?

If the student is still not going to be able to achieve with adjustments, then modifications might also need to be made.

Always ensure you have consulted with both the student and their family to ensure they are

(1) aware that changes to their curriculum need to be made and

(2) to give the student a voice in their learning – that they have been consulted and agree to what you’re planning for them.

I always tell my parents that they have a PhD in their child, and this goes a long way to helping us at school to know how best to support their learning journey.

How To Get Work Experience: Makematic Behind-The-Scenes Vlog Episode 6

It can be quite challenging to gain work experience as a young person, and especially during this pandemic. 

In this episode, I organised another Zoom call that I did not prepare for. You’d think after one screen recorded Zoom chat in episode 4, I would have it all figured out by now. This episode is also a lengthy one, so I recommend getting comfy.

This Zoom call features our work experience student Amelia, who worked at Makematic during the month of July. I asked her about her time at Makematic, including questions about the benefits of work experience, the skills she has learned and if she enjoyed her time. I don’t mean to spoil it for you, but she did, in fact, enjoy her experience and has been re-acquainted with spreadsheets this month. 

Even though Amelia only worked at Makematic for a month, she did, in fact, make a huge difference. From being featured in the vlog to helping Tara and I get organised, and even writing a fantastic blog – Amelia has definitely been an amazing work experience student, who – hopefully – has gained some valuable experience that will help her future career.

Here is what Amelia had to say about her experience at Makematic:

Honestly, this has been a really interesting and insightful experience. It was great being able to have hands-on experience in the media field and let me truly know that I want to pursue this sector of work. I have been able to hone many skills and I don’t feel as worried about working in a team anymore, or communicating in general (it’s a process). Being able to do real work like spreadsheets and researching curated content really made me feel part of the team! I feel like this whole experience has made me grow more as an aspiring adult and I really encourage any fellow teenager wanting to dip their feet in work experience, to just do it! It really is a lot more insightful than just listening to your teacher talk about it or searching it up on Google, and it really does open a lot of doors for you. Take your step into the working world and figure out what you want to do!

Amelia Knopik

As mentioned above, it is quite challenging to find valuable work experience. Luckily for you, this vlog will provide you with 3 tips on how to secure work experience. However, I should point out that I am not a careers teacher or leader. Nor am I qualified to tell you that these tips will work because I cannot guarantee that they will. I am an individual who has received an abundance of rejections and, “I regret to inform you” emails but has still managed to gain valuable experience over the years. 

If these tips and Amelia’s experience are not enough, you can always check out our careers resource Skillsumo, where you can find free bite-sized careers videos to better understand the world of work and the key 21st-century skills that are relevant to the workplace. 

Screen capture of Future Proof videos, including how to find valuable work experience, how to search for jobs and how to craft a cover letter
Future Proof series, Skillsumo

Watch episode 6 now!

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