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VIEWS & OPINION


How online learning improves inclusivity for pupils in the classroom


Comment by GRAHAM GLASS, CEO of Cypher Learning


Covid-19 has disrupted the world of education like no other event in recent history. It’s already challenging preconceived notions about teaching. Most notably, we're questioning whether the traditional model is the best option that we have to prepare our children for the future. It's becoming obvious that this model doesn't serve everyone, particularly pupils with disabilities or those coming from a disadvantaged background. Herein lies the silver lining: online learning as a safer, better alternative


that is also more accessible for pupils. It's an opportunity to jumpstart a new era of edtech, in which flexibility is the main focus. I see flexibility as a red thread that connects all school-related activities


in the form of personalised learning. Once teachers see the advantages of differentiated instruction, there’s no going back to “the way things were”. Take, for example, accessibility tools in learning management systems


(LMS). All pupils are able to use the same platform, without those who need high contrast themes feeling left out. This is particularly effective in areas where internet connection is a problem, as there’s an offline mode, enabling them to use the LMS from home or at school. With online learning, pupils don’t have to do the same tasks or use the


same ways of learning as their peers to achieve their goals. For example, some learners might struggle with reading, meaning they should have access to video learning content. Through an online platform, a teacher can differentiate assignments, in which pupils use varying mediums to complete their homework. Moreover, we have seen how powerful video conferencing can be as a tool for accommodating pupils that cannot physically be in a classroom - and this will be especially important should we experience a second wave. For pupils learning at different paces, online learning paths can be an


effective option to allow them to progress and master a subject, before moving to a new concept or stage of difficulty. This is particularly important for learners that need more time to grasp certain concepts - without feeling like they are lagging behind peers. This will also help teachers assess progress, provide differentiation without adding to workloads, all while giving them the confidence that no pupil will be left behind as the school year progresses. Measuring knowledge or skills is much easier to do via an online


environment. A learning platform can help eliminate assumptions or bias by tracking pupil progress. Based on platform analytics, teachers can then offer suggestions for improvement for each child. It also provides a more joined-up approach, including parents, so that everyone is able to monitor progress and stay up to date with how their children are performing across all subjects. We’ve also seen the special role that automation plays in online


learning. Automation gives pupils a chance to practice on their own with minimal teacher supervision, increases their responsibility for their own learning, which as a consequence, motivates them to achieve more learning goals. Edtech has given pupils control over their learning process and


provided more autonomy to those who need it the most. Accessibility in education means that there is not one single, cookie-cutter way of teaching. “Different” is not a bad word, but instead, an approach that should be embraced in the months and years to come, in order to deliver a quality and more inclusive education.


Hygienic security measures


to make schools safer Comment by PAUL GREEN, Product Marketing Manager on Entrance Systems at dormakaba


An increased focus on hygiene and social distancing measures will make a huge impact on how buildings operate. By reviewing their access solutions, educational facilities can help to minimise physical contact and reduce the spread of germs, while providing reliable security. As with all sectors, minimising the spread


of viruses and bacteria in the school environment is an important focus and one of the ways this can be achieved is by reviewing the most common contact points and implementing solutions that can reduce risk. Entrances and exits act as high contact areas, to minimise this, one solution is to reduce the number of manually operated doors. By swapping standard door closers for automatic swing door


operators and installing required sensors, manual swing doors can be converted to automatic operation. This is an ideal solution for entry and exit doors and also helps improve the ease of access into and through the building. Any internal manual sliding doors can also be upgraded to automatic, with driven operators. Furthermore, button operated automatic doors can be improved by replacing the push-pad with a touch free sensor, that typically uses


22 www.education-today.co.uk


microwave detection to activate the door when the user moves their hand in front of the sensor. Standard fire door closers can be replaced with electro-magnetic hold


open or free swing door solutions, allowing doors to remain open during regular use to limit contact with the door surfaces. These close automatically upon activation of the fire alarm, or in the event of a power failure, so fire doors will still function as designed in the event of a fire, ensuring regulations are still maintained. Finally, secure areas of the building, such as equipment and material


stores, that currently utilise traditional locks or coded keypads to prevent unauthorised access, can be easily improved. Traditional locks and cylinders can be replaced with digital versions that support contactless access and keypads can be swapped out for card readers. There are a range of options available to suit all types of doors and locks. Radio- frequency identification (RFID) access media or even Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) enabled smartphones can be used to provide reliable security while minimising contact. This has further advantages in terms of convenience and control, as


the individual readers and cylinders can be integrated into a single system. This provides better control of access rights and offers the opportunity to maintain a detailed log of access to key areas. There are a range of solutions available to help improve the hygiene of


educational buildings by reducing physical contact with commonly touched surfaces. Many of the solutions will also improve ease of access, or the overall level of security. However, compliance with all regulations must be maintained so it is important to look at the potential impact on other areas such as fire safety. dormakaba is running a series of webinars on fire safety during the Fire


Door Safety Week. To find out more about this, as well as the products and solutions best suited to the education sector, please visit www.dormakaba.co.uk.


September 2020


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