New situation, new challenge

A small rural school was able to deal with a crisis situation thanks to previous proactive work and projects, in which it acquired superior equipment and pedagogical training through team training, and launched on-line learning.

At the beginning, they addressed legislation, quickly assigning work to students, such as: complete the exercises on the page, read the article and answer the questions, write, copy, rewrite...

With each passing day, it became clear that the children would stay home longer than they could have imagined on the day the schools closed. Heated discussions began about what to do next. How to help parents who, from one day to the next, had become guides in their children's education, with no choice, no knowledge of methodology. They felt more and more strongly the need not to lose personal contact with their pupils. After evaluating all the pros and cons, they agreed to give it a try. They would on-line teach the children from the grades 1 to 9 via MS Teams. The school encouraged the teaching by buying interactive textbooks - multilicenses. These textbooks would have cost the school around CZK 400,000, but Fraus Publishing was offering them for free during the quarantine period.

The decision to go down this route entailed many challenges. The teachers had to set up the Microsoft accounts for all the primary school pupils (grades 1 to 5) to allow them to work in the Teams environment. They called the parents with little concern about their decision to inform them what was important to prepare for their plan - setting up the accounts, getting familiar with the Teams app, installing the Flexibooks reader and then downloading the on-line textbooks to work with. The teachers were met with open arms and joy by the parents, who embraced their idea almost jubilantly.

The reality, however, cost them a lot of energy and effort. Not all parents are digitally savvy and it took an hour and a half to get to a successful outcome. The lower secondary school pupils already have accounts and have successfully managed the installation of the Flexibooks reader and the downloading of their textbooks.  What about the pupils who do not have the necessary devices? They have been loaned them. So they lended a school tablet under the contract to 15 % of the pupils so that everyone would have a level playing field.

After five days of hard work, learning new skills, making phone calls, setting up, getting ready, they made it. They started with on-line learning across all grades and all subjects (except PE, art, music class, etc.). They have scheduled lessons so that they do not collide with each other and the Czech Television´s UčíTelka lessons, which are also a meaningful contribution to the curriculum.

After two weeks with no pupils at school, it was rewarding after all the ‘assignments’ for the exhausted and worried teachers to see their pupils. For the pupils, it was rewarding to be part of the class team again and that was the point. It was encouragement that everyone badly needed.

The teachers of the Střílky Primary School have mastered the new challenge, the pupils continue to learn and enjoy it!

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