Article | August 25, 2020
In the fourth blog in the series from contributing authors to Advance HE’s recent publication, On Your Marks: Learner-focused Feedback Practices and Feedback Literacy, Senior Lecturer in Education, Dr Rachel Shanks, shares her thoughts on how assessment tasks and marking could reflect online professional practice.
Article | August 25, 2020
Due to the increased exposures and positive COVID-19 cases, the educational industry is adapting to the fourth industrial revolution more swiftly than intended. Both students and educational institutions are realizing the requirement of technology to support the learning process. It has also led to the development of digital badges and the adoption of blockchain in this sector.
But, why should we adopt blockchain? Blockchain which is originally known as being the support of digital currencies like bitcoin is not new to the academe. Blockchain can be used as a validation tool for learning. With blockchain as the backbone of the educational system, institutions will become able to list courses, manage training badges, and issue certificates to the students. It will in return reduce the chances of issuing fraudulent certificates. Moreover, having high-end encryption, even the most experienced hackers will not be able to tamper the credentials.
And, what’s a digital badge? A digital badge validates the accomplishment, skills, and certifications of students. It can also be offered to the student after completing internships.
In the educational sector, a digital badge can be acquired by a student after learning a skill or completing a course. It should be considered by every institution to help students in showcasing their skills in the job market as well. The digital badges are multipurpose. It can be used for certifications to show the acquired skills, transparency for other universities or schools to collect key details of the student, and validation to show that the individual has participated in a workshop or training program.
Besides the basic reasons discussed, how these digital badges can help and why should institutions opt for digital badges?
Why Should Educational Institutions Opt For Digital Badges?
Among numerous reasons why an educational institution should go for digital badges, let’s check some of the most important reasons.
Micro-credentials help in dividing the part of the subjects into certain skills that enables students and educational institutions to design plans according to their needs. With the availability of personalized learning, a learner can complete the course anywhere regardless of the time and earn a badge.
A digital badge can enable students to showcase their skills while applying for an internship or part-time job. These badges must be connected with professional capabilities that confirm that it is worthy to the students. These skill badges either can be for technical skills like programming or soft skills like leadership, teamwork, and so on.
As we know that digital badges are verifiable, it offers a chance for students to learn something outside their typical classroom. It increases the achievement and abilities of the students creating a new opportunity for them at the time of recruitment.
Some of the companies and institutions that are using digital certifications include Certif-ID, Stamford University, Georgetown University, and MIT. For those who want to implement blockchain and digital badges in their educational institutions, you can easily hire developers that will build a powerful system to glorify the entire education process.
Wrapping it up!
To maintain educational records, a digital badge is the most innovative solution. Moreover, the education industry is gradually moving towards record maintenance on blockchain to eliminate fake degrees due to which many deserving candidates lose their chance to attain better opportunities. It is also beneficial for the companies as they will not have to hire less staff for cross-checking the information which will increase their profitability and productivity as well. Despite the increasing acceptance of digital badges and blockchain in the education sector, many educators are unaware of their power. Plausibly, it is about to change soon.
Article | August 25, 2020
Since some schools across the UK have started to re-open in phases, it’s opened up a whole new set of questions for families. What will it be like for our kids? How will my child adjust to school after months at home? As well as adjusting academically to full-time education again, the emotional impact will be big too.
We spoke to NHS Senior Clinical Psychologist, Dr Shreena Ghelani, about how parents can help their get kids ready to return to school, whenever that might be. Here’s what she had to say:
Prepare in advance
Before it’s time for them to go back, keep school in the minds of your kids – drive past the school if you can so that they can see that it’s still there.
When they’ve been given a return date, treat it like the beginning of the school year. Do a test run of getting ready in the morning, make sure school uniform fits, practice packing bags and walking the route to school.
For younger children, they may need a settling in period again – parents may have to come into the classroom and ensure their child is settled.
For teenagers – use the time while they’re still at home to keep their friendships alive by video call etc. This will help make returning back to their peer group feel less unfamiliar.
One step at a time
Even when school re starts, you may find that children are more tired than usual by the extra demands and sensory stimulation placed on them. Ease them back in to their routine gently and wait to start other activities (clubs and activities) in a few weeks time.
When the time comes, you’ll find you’ll feel less stressed if you know there will be bumps in the road.
Allow enough space and time in a new schedule for any hiccups so that you’re not having to manage too many demands (i.e batch cook dinners before hand, don’t agree to extra activities or if possible, adopt flexible working hours).
Try to notice if you’re feeling anxious about the return to school in any way and if so, spend some time thinking about it and unpicking it. If children pick up on your anxieties they may feel anxious too.
Managing worry and anxiety
If you know your child might struggle with going back to school, try developing a toolbox of things they can do when they are worried at school. This might include a song to sing to them selves, visualising a calm place, some affirmation cards, practicing a breathing techniques and identifying safe staff they can tell. You can make this box together and the child can take some bits with them to school.
Speak to your children about the impact of Coronavirus
Let children know that it is likely that other families have been impacted by the virus (whether that’s key worker parents working hard, or family bereavements). Encourage your child to be patient with and kind to other children. Talk to them about what they might still be expected to do – not hug friends, wash their hands often, not share food or toys etc.
For any children with special educational needs, they might need adaptations made for them. This might include visiting the school while it’s empty to familiarise them with the space, a video call with their teacher or a more phased return than other pupils – whatever’s best for them.
Article | August 25, 2020
There’s a large demographic of people who struggle during their traditional learning because of the commitments they have in their day to day lives. This often includes single parents, or those who are looking to further their education later in life. Many traditional learning places like colleges will help parents work around their schedule, but online learning gives the learner autonomy over where and when they learn. For those who live in smaller communities that don’t have institutions dedicated to learning, e-learning may even be the only opportunity that they have.