UTC Sheffield City Centre Maths Department moves to online learning

14 May 2020

UTC Sheffield City Centre Maths Department moves to online learning

UTC Sheffield City Centre has been finding innovative ways to teach effectively online, to keep their students proactive and motivated during these challenging, unprecedented times.

The Maths department has been running several trial online lessons using Microsoft Teams, for the past few weeks. They thought the students might be missing the human contact from their tutors and classmates and believed having some interaction would benefit their learning and motivation.

The Maths content at UTC Sheffield is aimed at Y12 students and consists of both applied and pure content. There has been one virtual lesson per week for each group on Microsoft Teams. For the Y10 students, there has been online work set on Mathswatch and Pearson Active Learn. Every Friday, students have been logging onto problem-solving Q and A sessions, where they have the opportunity to ask questions about the topics they are struggling with.

Mr Mendes, Deputy Head of Maths, said: “Our SEN students have found this extra support particularly useful. The online sessions have been invaluable for a small but crucial set of students, who could easily have become overwhelmed with the challenge of working at home otherwise.” The lessons are recorded and shared afterwards, so if students are unable to attend or would like to revisit specific examples, then the resources are always available for them to access. The aim of these virtual lessons is to make the students feel a bit more relaxed about the current situation, and to make everything feel as normal as possible, by ensuring learning materials are always accessible online.

Mr Musgrove, Curriculum Director of Maths, said: “Following the success of these sessions, we decided to start doing similar lessons with two groups of Year 10s of differing abilities. The teachers thought it would be interesting to compare how the online teaching worked in these two groups.”

The Y10 students have adapted to the current situation well. They have been interested and involved in the lessons, and feedback about the virtual sessions has been positive. Mr Musgrove commented: “At the end we often have a couple of minutes of downtime, where students can post silly messages and have a bit of fun”.

UTC Sheffield Learning Support Assistant, Paul Jackson, has also been running daily Microsoft Teams lessons with small groups, such as SEN and vulnerable KS4 students, to help develop their numeracy and literacy skills. The lessons have all been very carefully thought out to suit different needs and the pupils have all responded well. This has ensured that some of the most vulnerable students have stayed engaged with their education.

The virtual classrooms have proven to be a success in the Maths department and other teachers have been inspired to start their own online lessons.

Many other University Technical Colleges have also been involved in teaching students virtually. More information: https://www.utcolleges.org/utcs-go-above-and-beyond-with-virtual-classrooms/