Busy teachers, especially those working alongside children and young people with SEND, have precious little time to research or develop online resources and less time still to build them into the curriculum (or so it would seem).

Most education professionals began their own professional learning experience at college or university in a traditional classroom or lecture theatre, as part of the ‘chalk and talk’ model of teaching and learning. Online learning, whilst being nothing new, to some (including me) can feel a bit unfamiliar, uncomfortable, alien. Something that will take time that we don’t have, to get to grips with.

However, children and young people often have no such problem. For them, online or multimedia learning is the norm as, on a day to day basis children and young people receive information and stimulus from a number of different, exhilarating and interactive media, which they take in their stride. As practitioners, it can therefore be a battle to stay relevant and up-to-date enough to access the tools to keep children and young people engaged and learning, that is, unless you take advantage of online resources.

Many of today’s online resources take into account the needs of the curriculum and busy teaching staff, and build in support features such as rewards, quizzes and game time for pupils, all of which use familiar stimuli for learners. While the learner is learning, the software behind the resource is busy gathering valuable information on pupil comprehension, progress made, strengths and areas for development. Gone are the days when using online resources meant finding and printing free resources to save reinventing the wheel. Good online resources can, when used appropriately, produce rigorous measured outcomes to inform person centred planning.

Therefore it would appear that rather than eating into valuable lesson planning time, online resources can actually save time and effort in the classroom but what are some of the other benefits of good online resources?

  • A stimulating learning environment – online teaching and learning resources can make it easy to access and personalise support for learners with SEND.
  • Develops independent learning skills – independent learning can be encouraged, supported and rewarded easily, allowing learners to recognise their achievements to motivate them further.
  • Accessible tools to suit the learner – effective resource providers supply learners with range of online resources as part of training as well as links to additional information, which means greater access to relevant resources, quickly and easily.
  • Less intimidating than other pedagogical methods – some learners may be intimidated in traditional learning environments and lack confidence to interact. Online learning can be a less intimidating environment and therefore improve the quality and quantity of interaction.
  • Develops of online skills – by using resources online the learner develops skills, knowledge and understanding of the media and the internet as a whole without realising it.
  • Improves knowledge of information and resources available – online learning encourages teaching staff and learners to search for information and resources online, and to discern good sources of information.
  • Consistency of delivery – online resources deliver information consistently to learners, whilst responding to individual needs. The provision of consistent information allows resources to be accessed repeatedly as required and the progress of cohorts of learners to be observed over time.

Of course, online learning has its drawbacks as well as benefits and may not suit everyone. However, in a world where educationalists are time poor, online resources can be a valuable resource to help manage time. More importantly, that illusive teacher work-life balance.

Genium Creative is a resource developer specialising in supporting SEND.

Examples of their online resources are:

Example resource for children and young people: https://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/course/Shakespeare

Example resource for teaching staff: https://www.geniumcreative.com/works/autism-educationtrust-2/

For more information about Genium visit: www.geniumcreative.com

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