Useful resources on remote learning and working

Remote learning and remote working are conversations that Academia have been promoting as a future-proof consideration to customers for a long time. We have supported customers who have taken the “work / learn anywhere” approach and it continues to be a key pillar in our messaging to all our customers and how the future learning and business environments can become more efficient, financially technology sustainable and future-proof. This is also something we live and breathe at Academia. As a nation, no-one could foresee the current situation we have found ourselves in; the threats that COVID-19 are presenting to us are huge. The education sector will be impacted (foremost), and, in turn, the ability to work or study from a home environment.

As an expert in technology, Academia are being asked for advice and guidance on best-practices for how to quickly prepare and provision to be “remote-ready”.

Before we add our thoughts, it must be acknowledged that it has been great to see everyone from hardware manufacturers to the software and app communities giving valuable free and detailed support to the education sector (especially all the educators and training specialists who have the knowledge and knowhow).

For me, a key element to any successful remote learning or working solution is the workflow. Cloud computing is something that the DfE has been promoting. Choosing either O365 or G Suite for Education will help with collaborative working. It can add valuable collaborative support for teaching staff, working colleagues and importantly students too.

If you are not already running a 1:1 device model, one of the first key elements is to confirm who has access to a device at home – teachers might already be empowered with a device but the good news and reality is that most homes will have a device that can be used also. Using device and platform agnostic software means that it can be accessed either through a web browser or an app which can be downloaded. User accounts and password may need to be created and shared, but your IT teams should be able to support this.


User workflow needs to be clear and simple; and users must have an understanding of how work/learning content can be shared and distributed. Considerations around any videos or worksheets that support remote teaching and learning might also need to be hosted. In the first few weeks, you are likely to have a simple layout, but you can increase the complexity as people become more proficient and as requirements grow. A good first step is to use content that can already be used in a digital format.

Free Tools 

Making use of the abundance of available free tools will also help the transition to working “anywhere”. Video conferencing is a powerful tool, therefore consider some of the options such as ZOOM, Facetime, Hangouts or Skype. Teachers can remain connected to their students if needed, but importantly to their colleagues, which will again help with support, knowledge sharing and confidence. All the above services have access through a free sign up – regardless of whether you have your business or institution registered but also be aware of any safeguarding rules you have in place and the impact.


Apps can add real impact, and platforms such as  Showbie, Quizlet, Padlet and Explain Everything (as an example) have fantastic tools to enable explanation, understanding and knowledge retention. Work can be created “live” or as part of self-paced learning and students love using these tools even if they have not used them extensively. Don’t forget built-in applications, such as the camera on mobile devices, can be used to record and photograph content which can then be shared, annotated and even marked.

Using educators/the remote working community for finding best practice is also a great resource. There are a lot of experienced professionals who are already writing great content or sharing their knowledge, below are a few that we recommend you visit:

1. So, you want to look at distance learning

Getting more out of your iPad  

Mat Pullen

2. Online learning and digital strategies to help with school closures 

Greg Hughes  
Vice Principal: Learning Tech & Curriculum, Apple Distinguished Educator/Trainer, global speaker on
Tech/STEM, EdTech50
de Ferrers Academy

3. iGNITE – Issue 17 
This is a special edition of the iGNITE newsletter with extended coverage of the effect of the Coronavirus on education. In this edition we hear from educators preparing for the closures of their educational setting and those who are already closed. We will update this issue throughout the spring depending on how the virus takes effect around the world.
Read – 

4. HomeLearningUK

‘HomeLearningUK’ is being led by educators who have come together to offer time and expertise to support colleagues, parents and students in the UK and beyond. In light of the Covid19 pandemic and potential school closure, this website is designed to share ideas, solutions, plans and support.

Whilst every educational setting (preschool, school, college, university) is different, there is one common theme: a desire and passion to do the very best for all the learners in our care.

5. Hamish Mackenzie
Digital Resilence UK

With potential school disruption likely in the coming week, here is one strategy to provide educational continuity. Much has been written about the relative merits of digital tools but for me it comes down to strategy and planning – putting the pedagogy first and focusing on the learning outcomes.

We are leveraging #Microsoft 365 with #iPad to allow learning to continue if the school is forced to close. As a 1:1 iPad school with cloud infrastructure, it has been possible to roll out #MSteams in a relatively short timeframe. Staff are receptive to training and recognise that their skills can be deployed remotely to motivate and sustain learners through an uncertain period.

We have tried to keep it simple, focusing on 6 core pedagogies:
– Human connection
– Teacher to group video conferencing
– Resource delivery. Slide decks, office documents, video & research links
– Resource narration. Talking and annotating over the shared resources
– Creating & distributing whiteboard work
– Marking, AFL, feedback

We are encouraging staff to teach remote lessons prior to closure with students in the room to build confidence in the tech. Our primary focus must be our students. How can we continue to support them in the run up to external exams? 

6. Microsoft 
The top 9 ways Microsoft IT is enabling remote work for its employees

The Microsoft Tech Community has launched a new interactive forum for sharing of best practices for remote working.

A quick search of hashtags (#edtech #appleedu #MicrosoftEDU #remotelearning) on platforms such as Twitter for example, will also bring up great content and links.

We hope this helps, and we welcome feedback and recommendations of other useful resources. We will continue to add useful links to this post.

Tom Able-Green

UK & IRE Education Solutions ManagerAcademia – The Technology Group


DDI: 01992 662 845

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