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Skype lessons from home

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by MrsBridgewater, Mar 6, 2020.

  1. MrsBridgewater

    MrsBridgewater New commenter

    How happy would you be, in the event of school closures, to conduct lessons over Skype?

    From my POV I would not be happy, I assume that if the school I work at is closed then there is a very good chance my children's schools will also be closed, so they will be at home and likley to wander into wherever I am at the drop of a hat. Also, it is my home. I don't really want students seeing inside my house.

    Might be a moot point anyway - our internet connection is so slow that it would be painful!
    tall tales and Dorsetdreams like this.
  2. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    There are multiple issues here! In the last threatened pandemic my (secondary) school developed a plan which we thought would work, using email, website and mail drop at the school gates; we never got to test it. I would think that remote working for pupils would be significantly harder at primary level.
    Working with the school's servers and broadband connection, if many hundreds of pupils and staff are attempting to use therm, will pose serious difficulties; using Skype or similar will at least bypass that bottleneck.
    There's an issue, too, of the length of the anticipated closure: two weeks is manageable merely by treating it as an extra half-term, but much longer would be cutting significantly into learning and we would expect to try to find ways to continue to offer education remotely in some way or other.
    I can see some possibilities in terms of preparing lessons to present via the internet, a sort of version of flipped learning; I can't see it's possible to provide one-to-one Skype calls! Secondary schools would presumably prioritise Y11 and Y13.
    As for the privacy issue, I would look at where I set up my camera and ensure a bland background. Remember you don't have to show your face - voice calls work fine - and you can instead of showing a camera view, you can show your screen, which means that you can talk through things like PowerPoints.
    This is where several parts of the school need to come together to plan: the academic managers, the exam officers, the IT staff, and probably HR and union reps as well.
    Curae, agathamorse and Morninglover like this.
  3. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    When we had an extended closure of over a week due to snow and ice, we set snow-work online and the expectation was that the students worked from home.
    Not a single child did it.
  4. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Some years ago (about a decade) I was working for an independent secondary school. A heavy snowfall caused the school to be closed for 3 (I think) days - as per accepted school policy, I put work on the school website (as did other teachers); but again, even amongst those privately educated pupils (at significant cost to their parents!), hardly anyone (or no-one) did the work!
    abikuwait and agathamorse like this.
  5. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

  6. GreenTrees123

    GreenTrees123 Occasional commenter

    I think it depends on how fast the virus spreads and how long the effects last. Clearly, a one or two week closure is not unprecedented and I wouldn't think e-lessons would need to be considered.

    However, any longer than that and there will be serious disruption to kids' education, so it's only natural that skype etc are going to be considered.

    For what it's worth, I know that the government is very reluctant to close schools as that will then stop millions of people (including healthcare staff) from working. I think instead we are likely to see classes being merged and lessons in school halls etc to cover for absent staff- I know some LAs are planning to run classes of up to 75 students with schools being merged onto a single site.
  7. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    The main thing with setting work online is that you might have a massive amount of marking to catch up on IF the children actually do the work,
    Working away from the school is pointless if no child does the work, or their parents will not let them.
    ringo22 and BetterNow like this.
  8. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I think you need to worry more about what would happen if your children's school were closed and yours isn't. The slow broadband is an issue, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to me to ask you to teach via Skype.

    The idea of not using a camera seems sensible to me if privacy is an issue.
    BetterNow likes this.
  9. colacao17

    colacao17 Senior commenter

    You don't need a camera. The kids can hear your voice and the idea is to screen-share with them rather than having them look at your face. Google is great for this
    DaisysLot, oHelzo and mathsmutt like this.
  10. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    I'm not surprised. If I was a kid, the school was closed and there was snow I wouldn't be sat inside doing schoolwork.
  11. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    Another option is to put up a bedsheet behind you and record in front of it. In the early days of youtube, many people did this. Better to have the students thinking you live in a tent than knowing how utterly 'Homes and Gardens magazine,' your place is.;):p
  12. ajrowing

    ajrowing Lead commenter

    As an exam marker I have to tell the exam board who I teach. I cannot be sure who is watching a videoed lesson, therefore I can't tell the exam board who I am teaching. I think I'll just stick to emailing students the work they should be getting on with and getting them to reply with completed work and any questions they may have.
    sabrinakat and agathamorse like this.
  13. mathsmutt

    mathsmutt Star commenter

    This is a perfect use for Microsoft Teams, which can even have automated marking of work using Forms in Assignments. All done in a secure environment.

    Here is a link to the Microsoft Community - aka MEC - for interested persons :

    and Skype in The Classroom

    Hi to fellow MIEE's and MIET's !:)
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Errr NOT! It would take so long to get the house into a state that I'd be happy for parents of my class to see, that any closure would be over before I could start filming!

    Add to that I am a teacher of 3-4 year olds. If school is closed, if school is closed I sincerely hope they are nowhere near a computer. And modelling building train tracks, playing superheroes, etc is tricky over skype!
  15. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Established commenter

    How could you teach music, PE, art, DT, food, etc over Skype? You’d just be setting work that has little to no value that you would then have to mark! I don’t care if a student can name me every album by Justin bieber, I want to hear them play an instrument or write music. Most can’t do that at home, students don’t have the resources.

    I could set them exam questions but that would mean finding the music, clipping it and setting exam style questions suitable for KS3. That would take too long and wouldn’t improve students performances much.
    ajrowing and Catgirl1964 like this.
  16. install

    install Star commenter

    Not happy to skype from 'home' - but would be fine to skype from a designated workplace deemed suitable in terms of health, safety, internet speed, employer cost, potential risk assessments and arranged by my employer.

    And in terms of exams: the current JCQ exam regs if the school is out of action is to find another centre. So it should be the same for teaching.
  17. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Impossible. My internet keeps cutting ou
  18. rachel_g41

    rachel_g41 Established commenter

    I'd be quite happy to do this. I tried it with a couple of my classes this week to make sure it worked and to make sure they had the right apps installed in case we need to go to this for real.

    And I'd far rather do so from home than from anywhere else. I have a horrific commute and, even if we did video classes exactly as current timetable, I'd save over two hours every day.
  19. moscowbore

    moscowbore Lead commenter

    If you work for a state school you do not have to teach from home. If they close the school you go home and watch ready steady cook.

    independent schools and academies will want you to work like a trojan at home and then work extra hours on return during the cancelled holidays and extended days and extended term times.
  20. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Didn't happen to me. (See post 4)

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