The UK Government is in a fix about online learning.
During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic only 34% of children attending UK schools had what was described by the influential Sutton Trust as “adequate online provision”. And that percentage was made up of more than 50% of private school students; the State sector children have really struggled.
Evidence from ASIS Education’s sister company, ASIS Tutor Doctor Ltd, which works with children aged 7 to 19 across London, is that some State Schools have been sending worksheets to home-bound students but not much else. In some cases, those worksheets have not been marked or commented upon by their teachers. In short, tens of thousands of children have lost months of schooling. And there are fears that they could lose more. The political struggles around making schools safe are hampering Government efforts to persuade both the Teachers’ Unions and many parents, that it will be safe to return to schooling in September. The Inspection authorities, leading Parliamentarians, former Education Secretaries have all joined the chorus to ensure children do go back to school.
But such is the uncertainty around all of this, the Department of Education has also advised schools to ensure teachers continue to prepare online lessons and for their technology departments to continue to ensure they have adequate platforms from which to deliver the lessons.
Over recent weeks there have been a plethora of webinars about online learning involving teachers, academic Heads as well as technologists. The common theme has been: how can we learn to teach off a virtual platform and still keep the children engaged and involved? This is where X20 Media’s Virtual Learning Environment comes into its own.
The Cloud-based platform was originally designed for Harvard Business School. It offers a fully immersive experience. The teacher is able to interact one-to-one. They can split the class into small groups, each with their own whiteboard. The teacher can jump into any group, and the groups can come back to share findings in a plenary. The polling tool enables teachers to take the class temperature on any issue. Equally, it can be used to verify that learning objectives have been met. A real bonus is that the platform allows dynamic feedback from students as the lesson proceeds or concludes. Perhaps best of all, the teacher gets a set of visual clues on the student screen if attention has been lost and the student has gone off to play somewhere else on the internet.
X20 Media, working with ASIS Education, has dramatically lowered the cost of the platform to make it accessible to UK schools and universities. ASIS Education has put together an innovative funding programme, supported by Stratacache Inc, which allows schools to ‘RENT and PAY AS YOU GROW’. Perhaps the world’s best virtual learning environment is now available at a price that private schools, state schools, and Academies can all afford.
With virtual online learning certain to be a feature of the future, the X20/ASIS Education solution could well find itself gaining significant traction amongst school leaders and managers.