In this part of our project "Optimal digital learning during and beyond the crisis". is concerned with the question "What measures can German schools and educational institutions take to maintain educational operations in the short term".
First of all, the 1st part described current situation a good starting point - because necessity is known to be the mother of invention. The principle applies: it is better to do something than to do nothing at all, even if one overshoots the mark. For example, the uncoordinated "flooding" with tasks to students by individual teachers - without consultation among themselves.
After this first phase of the crisis, it is now necessary to bundle and structure the further possibilities. For this, a "blueprint" is needed, similar to our solution approach, which we describe here in the further course. The special feature and quality of our solution lies in the fact that it is geared towards a future optimum of digital learning - beyond the crisis - and does not pursue a political agenda.
Basically, all parties involved can continue to work as before in the crisis. In parallel, however, it is necessary to bring either our or another far-sighted solution approach on the path of implementation, which defines as a basis it a suitable learning platform!
Learning platform as a basis
The aim is to use an existing digital learning platform that fulfils the criteria described below - or can be extended to do so in the short term. The focus is on digital classrooms as a common, central "storage location" for learning material and as a starting point for video conferencing. The current class group should be divided into self-sufficient learning groups that support each other (size approx. 5 pupils). These can also be supervised more easily by teachers and lecturers. In general, the aim is to maintain the regular routine and not to soften structures in the daily routine. For this purpose, educators should work out the optimal measures so that the impact of the crisis does not become even greater.
Teachers use a system of rules to check whether and how students have worked:
- A kind of well-intentioned control system so that no student "falls behind."
- This is necessary because many students are not always able to learn on their own and cannot focus on a task alone.
- This is where a teacher/instructor needs to be able to intervene if the system provides them with appropriate feedback.
The platforms needed at this stage must cover the following areas (see Part 3):
- Individual video-based learning units
- Video Calls in the Group
- Group Learning Chats
- Contact students individually by telephone: Telecommunicate with instructors via relevant media for a committed period of x minutes per week.
- Access via collected hyperlinks to archives of software and learning materials that might be relevant for learning units to be completed (beyond the learning plan, if applicable).
- Extensive media literacy training for students and participants
- Recreational Chats
- Social digital meetings for exchange between students (in class).
- do sports
Pupils teach pupils
Older students can teach younger students - according to teachers' specifications - and grow themselves in the process. This would also be possible internationally and would be particularly suitable for languages - for example as a language tandem with native speakers.
The human being in the center
It is primarily of great importance to put the cohesion of teachers / lecturers and students in the center. We humans need honest contacts, at best physically. If this is not possible, then the best possible platform-based "virtual image" must be created. Here we must hope for the support of parents and relatives, as this cannot be taken for granted.
The merging of schools / institutions - if necessary also on a city-by-city basis - should be made possible and promoted. Not every school is allowed to "cook its own soup" and must benefit from existing competences and structures.
Furthermore, those responsible should also ask the platform providers whether short-term training of teaching staff can take place in order to be able to use corresponding applications optimally. Providers could also make free licenses available on a transitional basis. An interesting overall package could be put together here: setting up a platform in a timely manner and giving teachers a jump-start.
Likewise, reputable tutoring providers could be involved.
Now it's time to share knowledge and make it available!
Such platforms would have to be set up as quickly as possible, if they have not already been started, in order to maintain teaching operations. The distribution of tasks via e-mail and the associated lack of structure must not be allowed to continue! The introduction can take place in waves. This serves the better understanding of those concerned, so that pupils and parents are not overwhelmed by a one-off flood of information.
Outlook: Making teachers "fit" across Europe
Perhaps one could get the entire German - or even European teaching staff "fit" in this sense within half a year. There are already masses of useful and easy-to-learn applications/platforms that have been documented and tested accordingly. If every teacher is familiarized with the four core elements of communication, webinars, information generation and information distribution in half a year, this would be a very big step towards navigating the "tanker school" in the right direction - this would also take a big mental load off the teachers.
In the next part of our project "Optimal digital learning during and beyond the crisis". is concerned with the question "Optimal tools, concepts and structures that schools and educational institutions in Germany can build up that will have a promising future even beyond the crisis".