How to support students at home during the Covid-19 pandemic

Congratulations – you survived the lockdown and are now back at school. Mostly. For the moment. 

It looks like we are set for up to a year of on-again off-again schooling for many of your students. The challenge has moved from how to teach 100% remotely, to how to teach some students remotely whilst still providing a full classroom experience for the others. And spinning plates with your free hand. 

To keep these at-home students on track, you need a personalised, online, workflow-based system. You must be able to assign work, track whether and when it is done and analyse the results – all with as little time input from you as possible. And guess what? As a Yacapaca member, you already have one. Here are your key tools:

How to assign tests to a single student

You are used to assigning to a whole class at once. To limit the assignment to a single student, you need to override that default in the assigning system, like this:

and then this: Continue reading

The great game: dodging blame for the 2020 A-level results train wreck

The A-level results came out on August 13th. In the absence of exams, they were estimated from several data sources using a fairly intelligent algorithm. Results were well up on last year, yet there were such howls of anguish that the government was forced into a humiliating policy U-turn four days later. What on earth went wrong?

In retrospect, we can see the algorithmic approach was doomed from the start. Let’s walk through this, taking a Continue reading

and if schools *cannot* open in September? This is Plan B

Plan B

It has been widely reported (here, here and here) that the Association of School and College Leaders is not happy about the idea of forcing schools in England to re-open in September, whatever the status of the Covid-19 pandemic.

we would urge the government to have in place a national Plan B in the event that we arrive at September and it becomes clear that a full return is just too risky.

The UK infection rate is already (Aug 2020) going up, and there is a significant risk it will explode into a savage second spike if we force 10 million school-age children into becoming active cross-infection vectors. So I think it’s time to write a Plan B, whether Boris wants one or not. Because Continue reading

Yacapaca helping Chinese schools and colleges for free during the Coronavirus epidemic

You may or may not know that there are hundreds if not thousands of international schools in China that teach wholly or partly in English. Yacapaca has always been popular with them for obvious reasons.

When China shut down all schools to slow the spread of the virus, the entire nation moved to teaching and learning online. We were proud to be able to serve, but quickly realised that schools that did not already have subscriptions were not in a position to buy one under the present circumstances.

The simple solution was to offer free usage to Chinese schools until the pandemic is over. We’ve earned substantial praise for this online, which has been great, but to be honest it wasn’t done as a grand gesture. It just seemed like a natural and straightforward way that we could help. This lovely video from FE Week was an especial surprise. The Yacapaca mention starts at 1:02.

The offer is now extended to schools in the UK that have already shut, and will be extended across the UK if/when the government declares a nationwide shutdown.

Yacapaca is FREE during the Coronavirus pandemic (updated)

Virus blue 2

All UK schools are now closed due to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak. Suddenly, face-to-face teaching methods are no longer available.

China and Hong Kong, where schools have been shut for over a month, have moved all teaching and learning online – mostly using national resources, but in some cases using Yacapaca.

Yacapaca is the perfect tool maintain teaching and learning with students at home, so I feel it is our duty to step up and help at a time of national emergency. Here is how we are going to do that.

Any school in the world may now use Yacapaca free. To do so:

  1. Make sure you have Continue reading