Blog Supporting School Teachers with Distance Learning By Peter Cottle Enhancing the Student Learning Journey When faced with the rapid transition from on-campus to remote learning, teachers and professional school staff across the education sector have been faced with their own learning curve. As populations deal with an unprecedented health crisis, the enforcement of social distancing, and the debate about whether schools should be open or closed, education providers across the sector have embarked on a rapid and, at times, challenging shift in curriculum delivery. At Schoolbox, we have watched schools during the transition to an online delivery model with great interest and have responded by supporting our teachers in whatever capacity required. The needs of educators during this period of change has strengthened our resolve to provide high level technical and customer support and develop new support opportunities. In addition to our amazing Support Team, the broader Customer Success Team has developed several new initiatives to connect educators, in order to share ideas about the most appropriate ways to engage and challenge students. Schoolbox Teacher Q&A Forum As educators have been forced to pivot to a very different curriculum delivery model, some with little or no time to prepare adequately, they now find themselves confronted with learning how to utilise tools and methods that only a few weeks ago did not form part of their teaching ‘toolkit’. To assist customers in the Australian and New Zealand Schoolbox community, the Schoolbox Team have developed a Teacher Q&A Forum. Available on our community platform, Schoolbox Help, the forum is designed specifically to support educators with the remote learning conditions they are facing. The forum provides educators a space to post questions and seek answers from our Professional Services Team. In addition, the team is available each week via live video chat where teachers can ask questions and receive just-in-time assistance. Our team of Education Consultants and Territory Managers have produced more than half a dozen video conferencing sessions so far. Even those who have worked with Schoolbox for years have mentioned how much value the new forum and video sessions have added. If you would like to know more about the next Teacher Q&A Forum, get in touch with our Professional Services Team or your Territory Manager. Schoolbox Help Community Schoolbox Help provides our community of educators with a secure space with which to learn, connect and share. It has been a central piece of our Support ecosystem for a number of years and moving forward will be optimised further to provide the support necessary to get the most out of Schoolbox. Complete with ‘how-to’ guides and videos, event details, version release notes and the opportunity to share what educators would like to see in future releases, Schoolbox Help is THE place to be during this period of change. In the same way that students and parents can join groups within their own school’s instance of Schoolbox, so too, can you! From IT Manager Groups to Marketing leaders to territory-based forums, there’s an extensive array of groups you can join. And to ensure you are as up to date as possible, you can download the Digistorm Schoolbox Help mobile app to receive notifications wherever you are. If you are new to Schoolbox Help or looking to re-engage in the space, you may need to speak with your IT Team to ensure you have been provisioned for access. In-house Superusers and Champions Each Schoolbox school will have it’s own way of supporting their staff in the use of Schoolbox. At this moment, the help you require may be available within your own school. Seek out the support of your ‘Superusers’ — colleagues who have ‘special powers’ within the school’s instance of Schoolbox and can provide immediate support when you get stuck. Chances are they are familiar with the problem and can help you solve it. Superusers have most likely undertaken the Schoolbox teacher course (see below) and certainly understand your school’s context best. You may also have designated Teacher ‘Champions’ who are all too happy to share what they know. Finally, don’t forget the support of your amazing IT Teams! During this period of transition to online learning, IT Teams across our schools have been working at an amazing pace and capacity to support that educators do. They have access to the Schoolbox staging server, should you need to try anything new in Schoolbox without fear of ‘breaking things’. Their familiarity with your school’s context also provides a valuable source of support in challenging times. Schoolbox Teacher Course and Heroes In addition to Schoolbox Help, schools can choose to have their staff complete a tailored Schoolbox training course to assist them to become familiar with all of the features. With feedback provided by our Professional Services Team, the Schoolbox Teacher Training Course is a great way to upskill all of your staff in an agile way. The teacher course involves a configurable number of units of learning and demonstration of Schoolbox, with its main focus on the teaching and learning areas. The information and resources provided take into consideration people’s different learning styles. Text, video, links and images are all used to provide information about the system and how best to use it to benefit students. Activities and assessments are also included, and progression is only made from one level to the next once these have been completed. By completing online learning activities, it is a great way to learn about how your students will interact with Schoolbox as learners, whilst developing and enhancing your own instance of the Schoolbox online learning system. Plus, those who complete the entire course are awarded the status of Schoolbox ‘Hero’. Schoolbox Socials Schoolbox maintains an active social presence via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. We have many instructional videos and helpful presentations on our YouTube channel. Also, links to our educational content and product updates are regularly published on these platforms. Follow, like, share and hashtag and find out what’s new! We’re in this Together At Schoolbox, we understand that this is a difficult time for educators, but we are all in this together. So, please don’t feel that you’re alone during this period of distance learning. There are many ways Schoolbox can support you to expand your knowledge and use of Schoolbox to ensure learning continuity for your students. Reach out today—Schoolbox staff are ready and willing to help achieve success for your students during this challenging time. If you want to chat directly to a friendly Schoolbox staff member, contact us today! Peter Cottle is an educator and e-learning specialist with over 13 years experience in K–12 schools. One of our Territory Managers and a passionate advocate of enhancing the learning experience of all learners, Peter is committed to assisting educators with navigating the ever-changing teaching landscape.