Shhhhh it’s too noisy in here!

I bet if you’re a teacher you’ve not said that in a while! I imagine it’s something you’d love to say again soon… a class full of children is better than a muted live lesson, right?

Right now it’s really noisy out there when it comes to all the EdTech tools vying to support online pandemic-affected teaching.

And because of this, if you’re not Microsoft, Google, Zoom or Oak National then it’s highly unlikely you’ll be heard (we know that feeling!).

Here’s where YouTeachMe stands. And it’s not making loud noise for the now, it’s about encouraging quiet consideration of what comes after the pandemic.

Let’s be honest, education has needed a rethink for a while.

We all know that high-stakes accountability has driven the obsession with measurements, outcomes, progression and data. It’s obvious to us all that this is the wrong road, we should be driven by the needs of children; all children not just those in the middle.

So our ‘what’s next’ is about looking around, learning lessons from the pandemic and making sure that when normality returns, it does so with embedded technology that enables every child to achieve their potential, every lesson, every day.

You might look at those noisy services mentioned above and wonder how they will ever enable every child to succeed post-pandemic. The truth is, they won’t. They cannot improve outcomes in a live lesson in the classroom.

To do that, you need something simple to use, that harnesses teachers new found confidence with video technology, and that’s designed to embed within the pedagogies they use in their daily classroom teaching before COVID.

And that’s where YouTeachMe comes in.

YouTeachMe is like Hermione Granger’s Time-Turner for teachers. Great teaching means great outcomes for every child. To achieve this, every child needs challenge and support. YouTeachMe delivers this in spades. It facilitates you being in many places, supporting a range of learning, ALL AT ONCE.

More able learners who are ready to master concepts; send them to watch your video and complete the more challenging tasks you’ve set. Those who are struggling and need a bit more support; send them to watch your video during the lesson and see them keep up. A single child who just didn’t grasp the lesson; send them a personalised video to watch at home, helping them keep up.

YouTeachMe enables teachers to make a difference to every child in their class, in every subject they teach, every day. They can do so in class, at home, in hospital, anywhere. Importantly, learning is supported even on a phone – learners don’t need a laptop.

And those video’s aren’t 1 hour lessons, they’re not even 30 minutes. The most effective videos are just a couple of minutes long, augmented by well planned activities to embed learning. It’s just what you already do.

So hush now, pandemic products. Your use won’t last much longer and you’re distracting us from the important stuff. 

Let’s have some real conversations about how we can improve education for every child in the country no matter what their ability is. One thing is for sure children have a range of abilities in abundance and they should be given the chance to shine brightly.

What’s your gold standard?

A recent TES article debating whether live teaching is actually ‘gold standard’ online teaching has got us on our soapbox (you can read the full article here

Think back to your pre-Covid teaching, the days when you had a classroom and you taught ‘traditional’ lessons.

Imagine if you taught a series of lessons, had just 2 or 3 children engaging and the progress of all learners, especially the outliers, was minimal at best.

You might feel you’d got something wrong with your planning or anxious that you’ve lost the art of engaging teaching. Either way, in a classroom environment, you’d know that there was something seriously wrong and make swift changes to address it.

So how is it, almost a year down the line, that low engagement and poor outcomes are acceptable on Teams or Zoom?

The fact that it is accepted is all the more confusing when you factor in how hard live lessons are to deliver. On Twitter recently, one teacher described the experience of live teaching as ‘soul destroying; like shouting into a vacuum’. Another added ‘Whatever you think you can deliver in a live lesson, halve it, then halve it again’.

This is the reality of live online teaching; difficult delivery, low engagement and poor outcomes.

So why are live lessons still seen by many as the gold standard in lockdown teaching?

As former school leaders we understand that Teams and Zoom lessons feel most familiar in terms of delivery methodology. Transferring much used pedagogies to new mediums feels safe; recognisable. But surely, this can’t be the only reason why ineffective live teaching continues in most schools?

Possibly it’s because it was the obvious, go-to solution at the beginning and the regular DfE guidance updates are preventing leaders from looking for solutions that actually work? Maybe it’s our natural human desire for contact; to see, hear and interact with others? Could it be because these tools are free? Perhaps it’s because it’s what everyone else is doing and that makes it feel safe?

I doubt it’s because Gavin says it’s best and therefore it’s more easily justifiable to Ofsted, but whatever the reason(s), it’s certainly not the best way to engage any child in learning.

We’re not decrying schools. We know how exceptionally hard staff are working, and that everyone is trying their very best with the tools they know are available. It’s just that we understand that online learning can be so much more than classroom delivery through a screen. Giving your students the ability to receive personalised teaching, view the lesson multiple times on any device and go at their own pace will embed learning.

Live teaching doesn’t facilitate this; you’re most capable are bored, your middle ability learn a little (if they are still listening) and those with the greatest needs are totally left behind.

I know that many wait for the EEF to announce what’s effective and what’s not. But too many learning opportunities are being lost, so I’m going to speak the obvious truth – pre-recorded teaching videos, targeted to specific learners and viewed in child-friendly, carefully structured ways, are the only way to ensure high engagement and outcomes for every learner.

I know this because I’ve spent the last 10 years working with leading Deaf, mainstream and special schools to develop a service that  improves educational outcomes for all using pre-recorded video.

If you are now seeing the limitations of live teaching and understand the benefits of pre-recorded video, you need to book a demo and see YouTeachMe.  It will revolutionise learning across your whole school community now, and post-Covid too.

What’s the risk?

EduTwitter seems to be awash at the moment with talk of school leaders writing risk assessments for remote learning. With so many schools opting for live teaching using free online services, t’s easy to see why risk assessing is so important:

And this report was in May 2020; we’ve seen tweets galore just this week not just for zoom but for other platforms too. And also teachers commenting on how exhausting it is live teaching plus questions about children being 4hours plus on screen for lessons and a lot more screen time on social media and other platforms too.

Is there another way?

Paul Rose, our founder, left headship 7 years ago to build a completely safe yet incredibly powerful online teaching service that could teach anything, to anyone, anywhere and at any time.

Deaf, mainstream and special schools have used YouTeachMe before, during and since Lockdown 1. Once headteacher described it as ‘a Godsend’.

Here’s why:

  • Pre-recorded teaching videos, shared with learners at home and yet available to every member of staff in school at all times.
  • Personalised but not personal – videos can be targeted to just one learner, delivering an excellent learning experience without putting staff and learner in potentially dangerous position
  • No live sessions – so no hacking, zoombombing, sharing of invites, accidental mishaps with microphones, inappropriate chat, webcams, family members wandering into the background and so on
  • No data protection issues – everything is encrypted and all personal data is controlled by the school.
  • No intensive training courses required and no struggling to learn how things work, primarily because it’s straight forward but also because we’re available to help
  • Resources available from other schools that you can utilise for your lessons to help reduce your workload
  • No specialist equipment needed to video your lessons just use your camera phone or tablet cameras, but go ahead if you have pro equipment!
  • Ensure the best progress possible for each child without adding to your workload
  • Learners can revisit the video as many times as they need to so that the lesson is embedded and learning reinforced
  • Parents can access the videos quickly and easily, they will be able to pick up the platform quickly and without too many user questions coming into school staff
  • Track which children have watched the les video lessons you set each day
  • When it comes to a risk assessment for deploying there’s really not much that needs documenting

Beginning the process (again)

Today (5th January 2021) every UK school has sent home letters to parents moving the majority of children to remote learning.

For many school leaders there’s nothing that new in this pandemic driven crisis.

Leaders of failing schools are all too familiar with extreme anxiety, dramatic changes dropped suddenly and from a great height, staff absence, parental disquiet and so forth.

Having been the leader of a failing school I’m pleased to tell you, dear reader, that good news is around the corner.

No, it’s nothing to do with a vaccine, or that there is a strategy being developed from above. It’s that school improvement in a crisis is a process.

And of course, processes can be worked through.

Lockdown 1 followed a process: panic stations, formulate a plan, deliver and review, improve until stable.

This lockdown is slightly different because pressures and expectations are higher, but the process is identical.

This then is where the visionary leaders start to stand out. They are the ones who face a crisis, work through the process and go beyond to improve until ‘stable’.

They are the ones who push until improvement until ‘excellent’.

So today as you’ve begun this process again most will resettle on the stability of packs of worksheets, Zoom or Microsoft Teams sessions and phone calls home.

Those visionaries that are seeking more than stable take a look at YouTeachMe.

You’ll immediately see where it can help you deliver excellence once again.

Do you need to deploy online learning in January?

Are you looking to put a safe, powerful and proven teaching methodology in place?

If so, Microsoft Teams and Zoom are not right for you. This is simply because they are not safe, they are not powerful and they are not proven to make a difference to learning. Want proof? Ask yourself whether your teachers will continue to use either of these service after the pandemic is over. If the answer is no, then don’t implement them now.

In order to meet the (crazily last minute) requirement for secondary schools to ensure they have their online provision sorted for the new term, the YouTeachMe team wanted to highlight how our platform enables you to swiftly put a safe, powerful and proven teaching methodology in place.

Firstly here’s how YouTeachMe benefits your school:
  • It’s entirely safe – there’s controlled video viewing, no interaction between students, eliminating inappropriate chat in the chat boxes OR comments whilst the teacher is delivering the lesson.
  • All teaching is pre-recorded – this makes it safe, accessible 24/7 and re-visitable as often is needed (perfect for supporting learning now and revision in the future).
  • You can use teaching videos made by teachers working in schools already using YouTeachMe OR record your own teaching – teaching can then be shared with targeted learners,  personalising home learning for students of different abilities. This includes hundreds of videos covering KS2 maths and English!
  • Fixed cost per student on roll (of £15+VAT) – no hidden extras and lots of added benefits (like access to deaf teaching and SEND lessons)
  • It’s a great workload reducer  – teaching content made by one teacher is accessible and usable in lessons by all other staff members in your school.
  • Easy to access; students just need WiFi and an internet browser so it will work perfectly on a phone, tablet or laptop.
  • It was designed by teachers, to revolutionise teaching and learning in a pre-COVID world, so YouTeachMe enables you to teach during this pandemic and will continue to transform your whole school community, long-after COVID is gone.
Secondly here’s how YouTeachMe is deployed:

We use Wonde (Wonde | Simplifying technology in the classroom) to extract the information needed to recreate your entire school on the YouTeachMe platform. In less than 30 minutes you are good to go and your teaching can commence.

There’s nothing complex to learn. YouTeachMe was used massively successfully by secondary schools throughout Lockdown 1. Typically, teachers in these schools were confidently teaching after a demo lasting less than 30 minutes. There are of course, tutorial videos available to support less confident staff, as well as access to the YouTeachMe support team should you need them.

Students simply log in to their secure, personalised account on whatever tech they have to hand. Staff can instantly track which children have accessed the teaching.

YouTeachMe is a simple solution that is highly effective. Experienced and successful headteachers such as Helen Shepherd, at The Royal School for the Deaf Derby, have spoken about the impact YouTeachMe can have on your school. (RSDD covers secondary and they use YouTeachMe to help with GCSE revision too!).

Please don’t be fooled into thinking that YouTeachMe’s simplicity reduces it’s impact. Like everything in school, the more effort you put into it, the more powerful results you will see. However, unlike Teams and Zoom, your staff and students continue to be rewarded in the future, for their efforts today.

If you’re interested in seeing YouTeachMe for yourself, book a brief demo over the festive period and you can have a safe, powerful and proven teaching methodology in place in your school if you are starting back on January 4th 2021.  Simply hit the blue demo button on our homepage youteachme to book a time that suits you.

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