reflective practice illustration of desktop computer

Reflective Practice in Online Learning

Did you know that reflective practice or metacognition has shown promise for improving learning in online learning outcomes? The good news is, however, is that it’s a teachable skill (e.g., Moely et al., 1995; Schraw, 1998).Read More

Teaching Online Masterclass text on a white background

Teaching Online Masterclass (TOM) Series 2: Now Available

We’re pleased to announce that Teaching Online Masterclass (TOM) Series 2 is now available!

TOM is a free online professional development resource for educators making the leap into remote teaching and learning. With a catalogue of bite-sized videos produced in partnership with Innovate UK, TOM 2.0 will guide the skills K-12 educators can expand on to boost their online teaching. Watching and acting on the practical tips delivered in TOM series 2 will encourage confidence in teachers, and notably, create an enhanced online learning experience for students.Read More

Is your child at the centre of their education text with illustration of young girl sitting in front of a computer

Is Your Child At The Centre Of Their Education? – Part One

We are living through a period where child-centred education has become more important than ever before. Read More

Can I Come To School Tomorrow?

Can I come to school tomorrow? Is an arts-based observation project that explores the isolating effect of teaching without pupils, and a tribute to all of the dedicated, creative, and selfless teachers and schools of the ‘virtual frontline’. Read about it and find out how to get involved.Read More

Image of two young people playing an online game

What Game Are They Playing?

If you surveyed our household today, you’d find that alongside watching short-form video content, games play an important part in my two boys’ education.  There is nothing different from any other 21st-century household there!Read More

Image showing a young student learning and engaging in online classes

How To Increase Student Learning & Engagement When Learning Goes Online

Motivating and engaging learners can be challenging in any learning environment. But understanding self-determination theory will give you a structure for helping you do this. Self Determination Theory represents a broad framework for the study of human motivation. It suggests that when people are motivated to grow and change, they become self-determined.Read More

Image of student doing online learning/home schooling/distance learning

Our Faithful And Educating Friend

If there is anything we have learned in the past year, it’s that video is no longer a nice-to-have but has become instead an essential part of the educational content blend at whatever level of education we examine.Read More

Illustration of online learning in 2021

EdTech News – January 2021

2021 has started off with homeschooling in the UK. A webinar I attended earlier this week on Lessons Learned from Covid-19, made it clear the correct term is online learning and not remote learning as there is nothing remote about it. It certainly brings us closer together in that virtual way, but it also opens up new opportunities, such as amazing guest lectures from people who would have otherwise never traveled to give a lecture. You can watch Educate’s webinar here.Read More

Animated drawing of a video game. This includes a person holding a games console and a screen that shows a video game scene which includes a man & woman

EdTech News – November

I’ve tried to focus this month on finding some good news stories from the world of EdTech. Some of us might be in another lockdown, facing (more or continuous) school closures and other uncertainties, so we can all use some good news. I’m glad to say I’ve managed to find some. 

First up is a story from Estonia, a country which is excelling at digital learning. Turns out the key is in early adoption and routine, so we’ll all be experts soon enough.

With knowledge from the above, it’s no surprise that Estonia ranks very high again in the list of countries which are best preparing their children for the future of work. “The best education systems are those that encourage students to analyze and think for themselves and create the right learning environments” according to the report. Developing critical thinking skills is crucial in this. For those of us who are worried about our children spending too much time online gaming. Rest assured, those critical thinking skills can also be developed playing fun games online! 

For some educators and students, it’s been difficult to make the transition to an online virtual learning environment, especially when it comes to social-emotional learning. There are educators, however, who use EdTech to develop social-emotional skills such as collaboration. Some teachers are convinced using platforms like Microsoft Teams and Google Classrooms in a non-restrictive way teaches students flexible thinking and self-control. Have a read here.

The main thing though is that students are engaged in learning and we all know EdTech can achieve that!

Priorities for Professional Development

We’ve conducted one to one interviews, and an online survey with 95 educators from Europe, North America, Asia, Oceania, the Middle East, and Africa about their professional development priorities since teaching and learning has gone online.

Here are 4 things that we’ve learned:

  1. Since the coronavirus epidemic, 90% of educators have experienced teaching online, and 57% say they are above average or highly proficient in their ability to teach online.
  2. 77% of educators spend between 1 – 5 hours a week on professional development. 36% of professional development comes from their professional learning networks, and 26% from online courses.
  3. Educators want professional development from other educators that have a pedagogical purpose. “CPD needs to be more than ‘how-to’ tutorials. Teachers need to hear from fellow teachers who can implement technologies or strategies with a pedagogical purpose. This is sometimes lacking in online teacher CPD. It is frequently an expert presenting on their passion or app and showing teachers how to use the product rather than explaining the why and the purpose of the tech or tool for teaching within the classroom or online learning environment.”
  4. 64% of respondents want pedagogical and or subject-specific focused professional development to help them teach online.

These findings are similar to those found by the National Foundation for Educational Research and RAND.

A Solution To The Problem

So where can educators find online pedagogy focused professional development?

We partnered with Adobe, Clickview, iCivics, and Participate to create Teaching Online Masterclass (TOM). A free online professional development resource for teachers making the leap into remote teaching and learning.

Teaching online is about more than just technology. Of course, it’s important to know your Zooms from your Google Classrooms, but the way educators plan their lessons, manage their class, and engage with their students is different in the online world. So to help educators develop the skills they need to be effective online educators we created TOM.

Using video interviews from classroom educators, academics, and industry professionals, educators can learn how to start teaching online the right way.

Check out TOM here.

Teaching Online Masterclass Whitepaper

We’ve been working on something for a while; a whitepaper. Drawing on the themes from TOM, qualitative and quantitative interviews, and research on best practices in online teaching, we’ve created a resource that shows educators how to put theory into practice. Dr. James Nelson and Dr. Jennifer Roberts from Queen’s University Belfast have helped us with this project which will be released on Monday, November 2nd.

Interested in finding out more about TOM? Check out the resources here.


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.

Teaching Online Masterclass logo with logos from Adobe, ClickView, iCivics, Makematic and Participate

Launch Of Professional Development Videos To Help Educators Adapt To Online Teaching

We’re pleased to announce that Teaching Online Masterclass (TOM) a free course for educators to help adapt to online teaching is now available to view at tom.makematic.com

TOM is a free online professional development resource for teachers making the leap into remote teaching and learning. With a focus on pedagogy over technology, it’s a catalogue of bite-sized videos produced in partnership with Adobe, ClickView, iCivics and Participate. TOM contains 50+ professional development videos from K-12 online teaching experts about online pedagogy, designing online classes and curriculum, building communities of practice and digital well-being.

“TOM is a series that has been created with K-12 educators in mind. It focuses on online pedagogy over technology and really takes into account what the research tells us works in this space. The contributors were carefully chosen because of their expertise in the K-12 education space, as practitioners or professionals who really know what it takes to be a super online educator. More than ever educators are crying out for resources such as this, and that’s why it’s such an exciting project to be involved in.” Tara Walsh, Makematic’s Director of Engagement and Innovation, said.

“We work with tens of thousands of incredible teachers who are facing so much uncertainty in their work. That makes it extra important for one thing to remain certain – that teachers are talented professionals who know what effective instruction looks like. With the right guidance, there’s no reason they can’t transfer that effective instruction to online spaces. TOM is that guidance. It meets teachers where they are and provides targeted and convenient coaching to elevate their online practice.” said iCivics’ Chief Education Officer, Emma Humphries.

TOM is now available to watch for free at tom.makematic.com.

TOM is also available at Adobe Education Exchange. Sign up to earn an Adobe digital badge and 4 hours of accredited professional learning.

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