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Conflicting views on school remote learning

The announcement of yet another lockdown has shaken many households this week as uncertainty over schooling arrangements left many parents baffled as to what would Tuesday morning bring.
Many schools, relieved at the announcement of a decision lest the idea of a lockdown, rushed into the dissemination of school community messaging resulting into a chaotic mass of mixed emotions.
As the mere ideology of a lockdown brought about a mixed colour of feelings in that amongst the relief that children were ‘alas’ to be safe, pre-lockdown education gaps were widening rather than closing.
Household perspectives offered this week from nationwide partnerships saw the displeasing view of parents, as stakeholders, complaining to government officials of the inadequate quality of remote learning.
Tuesday morning saw the mass factoring of bought in resources, not necessarily of vetted quality, uploaded on school platforms and ready to be accessed by thousands of households across the country. Yet, although variables of remote learning saw the named instruction accompanied by reassuring phone calls with some form of education seen to be applied nationally, it must be noted that remote learning can hardly be classified as simply the click of a download button. And whilst some households were able to access online resources, low income families were left with plenty of uncertainty to go around.
Despite certain schools being unable to cater for their parental demographic it must be said that the challenges surrounding educational provision are spreading towards the provision of government support mechanisms.
But what is remote learning, you say?
According to our practice, remote learning should be an alternative but of equal importance type of instruction that shares the same methods and pedagogical experience mimicking the process of the teacher sitting next to you. Technology should not be seen as a barrier, or even a challenge, rather as an opportunity for additional learning with an additional skill acquired, that of IT. For many parents, and children alike, particularly those with specific learning difficulties, it is essential that front line communication is taking place with interaction being one of the catalysts for resourceful development. Feedback should be personal and not a pen pal standard. Children should be learning through blended instruction with a familiar human face on the screen rather than a cartoon character providing a lengthy instruction. And that is just for starters.
Remote learning is not about quality but quality, thus, securing that quality mark is an essential criterion for any school or government initiative. Additionally, adding instructional videos accompanied by downloadable resources on platforms does not necessarily promote a secure student understanding, particularly to the special educational needs demographic. Marketing remote learning certainly does not guarantee your name not listed on the Ofsted back list and it might even catch the attention of many curious eyes surveying the named provision.
Remote learning should not be seen as a Covid-19 temporary measure but as a neon system of AI development and inclusion to a new wave of learning. Should schools want to partake in the new initiative, they need to up their game and become competitors rather than short term problem solvers.
And while elite ping pong players are considering their options, schools are toying with the idea of IT added to their next Christmas training list and parents are kept aloof thus widening their lack of faith in the schooling system, let us all start hoping for a better 2022 already.

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