HSDC students are about to come back on to campus for in-person teaching but engagement with virtual learning during this last lockdown has been high thanks to lessons learned from the first lockdown in spring 2020.

HSDC Alton Teaching and Learning Coach Jo Edmonds has integrated new elements into reliable favourites to help his students structure their essays. “I have been using Sutori now for the last few years, and the students’ feedback is that it helps clarify the composition of their pieces. Students can add pictures per block to define and illustrate the points that they are trying to make. Sutori supports their critical thinking. They feel much more engaged in the learning process, which is critical given the disruption the pandemic has brought to their learning and progression.”

HSDC Havant A Level Philosophy and Religious Studies lecturer Raymond Whelan explains more about how he engages with his students, “Last spring, during the first lockdown, attendance was low but I recorded lessons for them to watch and had one live lesson a week. This time all lessons are live and attendance is great. I try to get them all to speak at least once per class and I ask them to use microphones – I’ll give them questions and then individually nominate each student to answer and then ask them to explain their answer in more detail and then ask if anyone agrees or disagrees – this works with some groups but others are very shy.

“Before this lockdown I created a printed-out workbook that’s really handy for them as I can ask them to read a bit and then feedback to me or the class. This limits screen time also. I have tried to do one week of exposition and online tasks and the next week be less focused on the screen – so I will ask them to watch a Netflix documentary and then feedback what their thoughts were and then create a poster on what they interpreted. They can upload their posters to Google classroom for review. An example: The Story of God season 3 ep 6 on the different understandings of evil.

“This time around I am using Google meet Jamboard as students can be assigned groups, asked to do a task and they can then be creative on this platform. Other apps include Kahoot quizzes they create on a specific topic and then at the end of the class we do one of their Kahoots; Ed puzzle and Nearpod, which can be accessed on their phones where they can do matching tasks, gapped paragraphs, quizzes and the most popular activity, which is Pictionary of a topic we do in class.

“It will be nice to go back to in-person teaching but, with the lockdown that started this January, we were able to incorporate some updates from last spring to improve the learner experience and student engagement has been significantly better.”