Lockdown virtual learning for A Level Biology students

May 21, 2020

As part of their course, HSDC Alton Biology students receive bespoke study packs and, as lockdown started, they received the packs for the rest of this academic year in order to enable them to continue their studies virtually.

As part of lockdown virtual learning, Biology teachers narrate PowerPoint slides so that students can still have the important concepts explained to them. Students are encouraged to discuss the details of their study pack assignments in pairs via social media as these discussions help consolidate their understanding.

Libby Smith, Head of Biology, explains more:

“Students complete weekly activities, with progress monitored by their teachers. Staff are in contact with their class using Google Hangouts so they can answer any questions. Classes regularly get together using Google Meet in order for teachers to ask the students questions and go through answers on an interactive online whiteboard (as illustrated in the photo) to which the students have a link.

“Students enjoy this as an excellent way to embed their learning at the end of each topic. Their learning has also been assessed during lockdown using regular end of topic tests, mocks, Kahoot quizzes, crosswords and card sorting activities. Students can access an electronic textbook on Kerboodle and a host of activities. These methods of learning support students who are struggling but also stretch and challenge those who are forging ahead. Students have been encouraged to study for a relevant MOOC (a short interactive university course) during lockdown to build their skills and understanding further.

“The experimental work, which would typically take place in class, has been substituted with the use of YouTube clips. For example, second-year students attended an ecology trip using a live link to a scientist working on a Scottish rocky shore. First-year students have the opportunity to attend the Diamond light synchrotron to see how scientists there are studying cells and viruses. Students are also encouraged to think about their progression from College. They have been able to attend webinars to learn more about careers which have a shortage of applicants, such as podiatry, orthoptists and orthotics.

“Our Biology A Level students have really embraced virtual learning and are taking advantage of the opportunity to be able to continue to work through relevant topics, albeit remotely.”