Coronavirus: Home education resources for schools, teachers and parents

Written by: Dorothy Lepkowska | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

A range of resources and education services are being offered to schools and parents to help support the home education of students during the coronavirus crisis. Dorothy Lepkowska looks at some of what is out there, including a number of free-access resources

As the education sector unites in the face of the coronavirus outbreak and the partial school closures, a wide range of organisations are offering learning resources, technological solutions and other services – often free of charge.

One of the main considerations when seeking to use online resources is how well-equipped your pupils are to work from home using technology.

You may find that there is a mismatch among the pupils in your classes in terms of availability of devices, internet access and the conductivity of the environment for study.

One useful resource to help you gauge your families’ readiness for technology-use is a simple-to-use questionnaire compiled by the edtech company Edurio. This consists of a simple set of questions you can ask your parents to understand their readiness for a home schooling scenario and to identify where they may need support: https://home.edurio.com/parent-survey-about-the-coronavirus-covid-19

Meanwhile, the Department for Education (DfE) has said “more information will follow about what DfE is doing to support parents”, adding: “We are working with the BBC and others to provide resources for children to access while at home.”

Furthermore, SecEd published earlier this week two articles by former school leader Matt Bromley looking at how to support home learning and also what kind of provision we should be trying to offer in-school for those children still attending (see Bromley, 2020).

With that in mind, the following list includes companies whose services might be of use to schools or families, those organisations offering free resources, and firms offering free access to services in light of the current crisis.

The list is intended to help to guide and inform, but is not comprehensive and inclusion is not an endorsement by SecEd.

Cross-curricular resources

  • Adobe Education Exchange: Free resources, workshops and teaching materials. All ages: https://edex.adobe.com
  • Atom Learning: Personalised learning in English and maths, using teacher-led content. Key stage 2: https://atomlearning.co.uk/
  • BBC Bitesize: Over the coming weeks, the BBC will be offering daily content to support families with home learning and issues of wellbeing: www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize
  • BrainPOP: Cross-curricular resources using topics and themes. BrainPOP has offered “free, unlimited use of BrainPOP to any school, anywhere, that is closed due to the coronavirus during the period of their closure”. All ages: https://go.brainpop.com/accessrequest
  • Century Tech: English, maths and science resources for free to all schools and students affected by coronavirus school closures. All ages: www.century.tech/coronavirus-support/
  • Discovery Education: Videos, interactive activities, or complete, ready-to-use lesson plans in maths, science and social studies. All ages: www.discoveryeducation.com/virtual-learning
  • Earwig Academic: A package for teachers to support teaching evidence, making assessments, tracking progress and reporting. Parents and pupils can upload work and communicate safely with teachers. During the coronavirus crisis, Earwig Lite is free to “anyone who needs it”. All ages: https://earwigacademic.com/
  • Highlights Kids: Read, play games and conduct science experiments. Primary age: www.highlightskids.com
  • Hungry Little Minds: Government supported. Activities for parents with children aged under five: https://hungrylittleminds.campaign.gov.uk/
  • Twinkl: Learning resources, planning and assessment materials. The company has created free home learning and school closure packs. All ages: www.twinkl.co.uk/resources/covid19-school-closures
  • Seneca Learning: A free online learning platform. Key stages 2, 3 and 4: www.senecalearning.com
  • Tassomai: Bite-sized learning, using quizzes and short videos. Key stages 3 and 4. Free access to schools affected by coronavirus closures: www.tassomai.com

Other home learning support

English/literacy/reading

STEM

Coding and IT

  • Acorn Aspirations: Activities for bridging the digital skills gap. Ages 12 to 18: http://acornaspirations.com/
  • Blockly Games: Educational games for pupils who have not had prior experience with computer programming: https://blockly.games/
  • Blue Shift Coding: One-to-one tutoring in coding for 7 to 14-year olds: https://blueshiftcoding.com/
  • BT Skills for Tomorrow: Tech skills to prepare students for the workplace. Resources for teachers as well: www.bt.com/skillsfortomorrow/
  • Codecademy: Web development and data science skills activities. In light of coronavirus, it is offering 10,000 scholarships to Codecademy Pro for free to high school and college students for the rest of the school year: https://pro.codecademy.com/learn-from-home/
  • Kano: Coding and design. All ages: https://kano.me/uk/education
  • Snapplify: Resources to support digital education for students and schools: www.snapplify.com
  • Swop Bots: Stories and games for schools and families to encourage the next generation of coders. Age 8 and over: https://swopbots.com/
  • Twin Science: Teaches basic coding and programming. Ages 8 and over: www.twinscience.com
  • Tynker: Encouraging children to create, code, make websites and design games. Free access to its premium service during the school closures. Ages 5 and over: www.tynker.com

Creative and arts subjects

Humanities and social sciences

Exercise, mental health and wellbeing

Specific coronavirus advice/teaching

  • Dorothy Lepkowska is a freelance education writer.

Further information & resources

  • Bromley/SecEd: Coronavirus: Supporting families and pupils learning from home, March 21, 2020a: https://bit.ly/39eBJho
  • Bromley/SecEd: Coronavirus: Provision and teaching in school during the crisis, March 23, 2020b: https://bit.ly/2y5nXkp


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