Digital learning In Our New Normal - Tim Beattie

I'm one of those who possess scraps of superficial information on a variety of subjects, but who lacks depth and expert knowledge on the one thing in which I ought to have specialised. (Mandela to Professor Fatima Meer 1971)

Digital learning in our new normal - Tim Beattie

  • The view from our current landscape
  • Knowing your impact
  • Digital tools
Our current landscape - Living in the present, learning from the past and looking at what might lie ahead.
Living in the present - What does the here and now look like in your educational setting?

Blended learning?

Remote learning?

Digital learning?

It's incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap...to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it's leaning against the wrong wall. It is possible to be very busy without being very effective. (Covey)


Assess, Plan, Do, Review - I like this cyclical process of improvement because it is current, coherent, pragmatic & reflective (impact & evidence)

Learning from the past - lockdown.

Deja vu...

Think back. What was that one thing, as you were confined to your kitchen or living room delivering remote learning, that you wish you had done differently before remote learning, to enhance the quality of the learning and teaching you were delivering?

  • What was that one thing that would have made the biggest impact on your learners?
  • Have you had an opportunity to change it in the new normal so you aren't in that position again?
  1. I wish I had taken more time to show our pupils how to access the software we were using and troubleshoot with them on their own devices.
  2. I wish I had trained my pupils to be more resilient using digital technology.

Building on good practice...

Are you making the most of the digital tools used or skills developed during lockdown in your current educational situation?

  • One note - digital and old fashioned note taking.
  • Recording classes to stream (digital ambassadors in classes).
  • Visualisers - Modelling. Allowing pupils to model/share
Looking at what might lie ahead.
  • Clarity across the school for all
  • Embedding digital software and systems into current practice - Hand ins, notes etc
  • Workload - We need to be realistic.
However, we cannot just keep adding more and more to our work schedules, otherwise we will go under. But it takes bravery and discipline to ask ourselves, do we really need this? What would happen if we got rid of it? And yet if we want to create the time and space to focus on the important work, we need to roll up our sleeves and do some metaphorical cleaning out of the attics. (Mary Myatt - Should it stay, or should it go)


  1. Education Endowment Foundation - paper on remote learning, supporting school planning
  2. Education Scotland - Ed Recovery Group: advice on blended learning
  3. Stephen Covey - The 7 habits of highly effective people
  4. Twitter - West partnership, DCC Digital learning team, Impact Wales
  5. TLAC - mastering remote teaching, webinar on remote teaching, retrieval practice
  6. Daisy Christodoulou - Checking for understanding/interactivity
Knowing your impact - Pupil, Teacher, Whole School, Stakeholders (the centrifugal approach)

Knowing your impact - What is it that you are measuring?

One of the best known benchmarks for improvement in Scottish schools HGIOS 4 highlights two big things that need measured;

  • how we are improving educational outcomes for all children and young people.
  • the key work [focus] of your school, learning and teaching.

I think its fair to say that in any education establishment the thing that you should be measuring is the quality of learning and teaching and the educational outcomes for all learners. So how do we know that the things we are doing in this new normal are having a positive impact on our learners and on the quality of learning and teaching in our schools, colleges or universities?

Key considerations on things that have made an impact . Sharing some practice from my setting.

Measurements require evidence - Is your evidence much COP? - C-onversations, O-bservations and P-roduct.
Pupil/Learner centric
  • Accessibility - Can the learner access what you need them to access (technology, resources, learning)? Are you providing support for using digital platforms?
  • Resilience - How do we best practice this in our new normal? Are we teaching in a way that facilitates our learners self regulation?
Teacher/Staff support
The whole school
Stakeholders - Parents/wider community
  • Communication - Twitter, website
  • Parental engagement - Digital Support, ShowMyHomework
Digital tools
  1. What works in one place doesn't always transfer seamlessly to another.
  2. Digital tools offer a wide range of autonomy, so there needs to be a lot of thought regarding how they are utilised (e.g interactive classrooms and the three loops)

'a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action.'

Are we teaching through an education emergency?

If you need to be right before you move you will never win. Perfection is the enemy of the good when it comes to emergency management. Speed trumps perfection, and the problem we have in society at the moment is everyone is afraid of making a mistake. Everyone is afraid of the consequence of error. But the greatest error is not to move, the greatest error is to be paralysed by the fear of failure. (Mike Ryan - Executive director WHO Health emergencies programme)



Created with images by John-Paul Henry - "— “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”" • Robert Lukeman - "untitled image" • Jon Tyson - "untitled image" • SHTTEFAN - "I was passing the street quickly. When I turned to see, he was right in the middle of the two color tones, I asked him if I could take a picture and he said ‘yes’. For those who don’t know, their work goes from right to left." • Micah Williams - "Lover’s Lock" • Jon Tyson - "untitled image" • Jon Tyson - "untitled image" • Drew Beamer - "untitled image" • qimono - "water drop liquid" • bluebudgie - "magnifying glass detective" • Eliott Reyna - "She doesn’t like being photographed so this was a true triumph for me. This is her in her natural habitat." • steveriot1 - "teacher property plant" • geralt - "college education school" • Daniel Cheung - "untitled image" • ptra - "communication workplace mockup" • Jake Espedido - "untitled image"