Recommendation 11 Potential workload changes
Recommendation 11. We recommend that the Government, in consultation with the education sector, consider whether there need to be any policy changes to take into account potential workload changes as a result of online learning.
Comment: There needs to be major changes which enable more variation in teacher resources.
Possibilities include schools running 2 “shifts” where learners are closely supervised for some time, work collaboratively at other times and study individually at other times – including “blended” or “flipped” learning.
It is to be noted that children play on computers for very prolonged (“Excessive”) times and that many of these games are collaborative or multi-player. They need minimal supervision in this time – but some supervision to handle social problems like bullying including cyber-bullying. This supervision does not need graduate teachers but may be provided by lesser trained persons or those not wanting full-time work such as retirees.
Note: Many working parents would like their children supervised from 8am to 6pm on school days – this conflict in demand needs to be addressed by innovative concepts.
A key area which is very demanding on teachers is assessment of student work or just monitoring that students are actually doing their assigned work.
One possible solution is to ensure students are assigned online work appropriate to their individual competency and that their parents are automatically informed of what they should be doing. Parents can then enter into a relevant dialogue with their children – at the dinner table or in the car. It is possible to track what the students have been viewing and to record their time allocation and to provide some basic monitoring by asking simple multi-choice questions.
A further option is to allocate collaborative or personal writing work to students which is then examined by an eModerator – someone who is not the teacher but is familiar with the topic. They can readily insert comments (including questions) and stimulate the student to search more deeply, to think about alternative answers and to correct any mis-understandings.
The technologies to do this are well-understood and can be made readily available – they are usually called “Rubrics”. It can result in a mark and the teacher can see the results after the eModerator has assisted the student.
The eModerators can relieve the teacher of a significant workload. Many will be child carers not in full-time work or retirees. The high participation in the University for the 4th Age indicates that such persons are available for minimum wages.
The main task of the teacher is then to track each student’s progress and allocate each student their next personalised task (PLP) – and to deal with social issues.