The State of Education – The impact of COVID-19 on Distance Teaching

Education insights firm, Pivot Professional Learning, in collaboration with Education Perfect (EP), are set to release the findings of a significant survey assessing the current learning climate from the perspective of teachers and school leaders.

Over 3500 teachers and school leaders in Australia and New Zealand responded to the 38 item survey exploring the impact of COVID-19 on education. The survey focused on technology usage and challenges, educator concerns for students, and the impact on student and teacher well-being.

The report titled ‘Educator perspectives on the impact of a rapid shift to distance and online learning’, focused on understanding overall confidence in schools’ ability to support distance teaching and learning; as well as creating insights into how to better support both teachers and students during this new era of schooling.

“We wanted to capture ‘of the moment’ feedback from those on the frontlines of educating students during COVID-19,” explains Pivot Professional Learning CEO, Amanda Bickerstaff, adding that “with over 3500 responses, we’ve now gained a wealth of data about how teaching has changed and what educators need most to meet the needs of their students.

This is an opportunity for us to come together as a community to innovate and provide better solutions for online teaching and learning.”

The report generated key insights into both teaching and technology, with the research finding:

– While technology allows the connection of both teachers and students to create meaningful educational experiences, the well-being of students, social isolation, and apprehension around loss of learning were the major concerns of teachers and school leaders

– 7 out of 10 teachers report their planning time has increased. Distance teaching has brought with it a steep learning curve, putting teachers back to being “new teachers” in terms of preparation time

– Schools are using multiple technology platforms (between 2-5) to support teaching and learning online. No platform was rated consistently highly across features and confidence in use

– Just over half of teachers and school leaders feel that they can effectively communicate with students and parents online

EP CEO, Alex Burke, emphasises that “governments have already called for more data on the impact of remote learning for teachers, students and parents. Additionally, we are seeing our teacher community being challenged to adjust to the new working conditions.

EP is used by over 1 million students across Australia and New Zealand, and we now have a unique insight into teacher sentiment and student engagement. So the survey will be invaluable to us and the broader community.”

Ultimately, the survey uncovered three key findings:

1. The Australian Teacher community are committed to shifting learning online, but would benefit from additional support The shift to distance teaching and online learning has had a significant impact on educators across Australia with the majority of respondents indicating their planning and preparation time has increased. Based on this study, it’s clear that teachers are committed to their students and have confidence in their ability to teach online. However this demand on teachers is unlikely to be sustainable over the longer term and schools and providers should consider supports to reduce planning and preparation time.

2. There is a need for a comprehensive distance learning approach that goes beyond “learning” Educators understand that the shift to schooling online impacts more than just learning outcomes – it also impacts social needs, communication and engagement. When designing and implementing new resources for distance teaching, it’s important that we take a comprehensive approach to providing recommendations, new solutions and professional learning for all facets of the student experience.

3. There is no“one-size fits all” technology for shifting schools online Most schools are using several technologies and platforms to deliver online teaching. Teachers identified strengths and weaknesses with all providers. This means there is no single student and teacher experience of ‘online learning’. A future analysis of the impact of distance learning should consider the influence of using different technology and providers.

The report will be released later this week with a webinar detailing further results and key findings. You can register your interest here:

The 38-item survey was open from April 9-April 13th and received responses from all states in Australia and regions in New Zealand. Respondents from all year levels, domains, and types of schools are represented in the results.

As a leading EdTech platform, EP have been able to use their primary technology to support engagement of students in online learning, provide effective assessment during the learning online process; while also supporting the collection and analysis of student feedback.

Pivot Professional Learning (Pivot) is an educational insights company dedicated to enhancing teaching effectiveness by harnessing the power of the student voice as a driver of evidence-based improvement. Our tools and systems are supported by international research and data from over 65,000 Australian classrooms.

Media Release on 21 April 2020

Media Contact
Annie de Merindol, The Big Smoke
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