Online school is popular

And suddenly the school is online

Due to the Corona crisis, the schools are largely closed until the Easter holidays. The pupils should learn something anyway. Although nothing new, the teachers are encouraged to deepen the subject matter already covered with their students from a distance. The STANDARD looked at how this can be done, which tools are useful and which virtual excursions parents can make with their children.

How is teaching now?

Most of the teaching in schools is done remotely. Teachers and students are encouraged to stay at home. Many educators have given their protégés worksheets to work with at home. Weekly goals give the students orientation. In most cases, however, teachers also use online tools and e-learning.

Which online learning platforms does the Ministry of Education offer?

Andreas Riepl from the platform E-Education, head of the National Competence Center E-Education Austria, recommends the common platforms of the major providers Google (G Suite for Education), Microsoft (Office 365) and Apple for communication and data exchange. There are already contracts between the ministry and these providers or work is being done on them, says Riepl.

Which apps does the Ministry of Education recommend for communicating with one another?

The Ministry of Education works with "Eduflow", "Schoolfox", "Schoolupdate" and "Webunitis". Eduflow involves parents and students on both sides, SchoolFox is a digital assistant for teachers and is often used to communicate with parents, but also with students, Schoolupdate works in a similar way that, like the other apps, also offers tools such as calendars and surveys. All four apps are currently free of charge and comply with data protection regulations and therefore offer a good alternative to WhatsApp, which is actually not allowed to be used in a school context because the data there is not protected in accordance with EU law.

What other apps are there?

The apps mentioned above are sometimes a bit complicated in terms of registration - even if they are connected to the Socrates school database. In some cases the schools also need the parents' email addresses. Teachers report that some parents do not read the news or read the news too late, and that direct communication with the students is better. The Showbie app is therefore also popular for simple direct communication with students. Special feature: homework can simply be photographed, the photo can then be corrected by the teacher and sent back. The Kahoot, Quizlet and Socrative apps can be used for quizzes.

Can any app be used?

Not really. Only apps that comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation may be used in the school context. Andreas Riepl from the E-Education platform therefore recommends paying close attention to apps from other EU countries. But: On the website on the coronavirus, the Ministry of Education allows access to other communication channels if the recommended platforms have technical difficulties. Whatsapp is also specifically mentioned.

How can educators explain the tasks to their students?

Videos are obvious. Felix Stadler, a teacher at a New Middle School (NMS) in Vienna, has already practiced this. He has been creating educational videos for his students for more than two years. Stadler, who works to improve the position of the NMS and wants to run for the Greens in the state elections in Vienna, uses simple means. With his cell phone he films how he writes on a note and explains the math problems. "Mister Monkey" - a plush monkey - asks questions and does the math. "He loosens the whole thing up a bit," says Stadler. Here is a video of equations that Stadler recorded this week:

What other options are there online to keep children busy at home?

Many zoos and museums offer live videos or virtual tours. For example, the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California features impressive videos of marine life. Virtual trips in English to Ireland, New York City and Jamaica can be made here (Lisa Kogelnik, March 19, 2020)