Life under lock-down

Hi all, I have decided to write a little bit about how it has been for me as a small business

working with schools since the schools were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The closing of schools has brought all my work with schools and face to face tutoring with students to an end. I have been unable to run my usual holiday coding clubs and my equipment is sat locked up and unused.

As a result of the unprecedented times that we are in I have had to reinvent myself a little bit. I have had to review everything that I normally undertake and determine what can be done remotely or online.

My normal working week would be taken up with running after school clubs, teaching KS3, GCSE and A-level Computer Science lessons in school and home tutoring with Maths students. So this had to change.

Initially it looked a little hopeless, how do I keep things running, I mean, there is no way I can run a holiday club from my office, and how do I work with schools or tutor students?

Technology has come to the rescue along with requests from people to help them out.

So what has happened since the shock of everything coming to a halt. Well first I set up a Facebook support group for parents who are now homeschooling their children.

This has the lovely snappy name of "Home Schooling Support for Maths and Computer Science", I needed something quick and the name was not forthcoming so its purpose is in the title. This has become a big focus for me, posting regular questions for KS3 and KS4 in Maths and Computer Science. It has also put me way out of my comfort zone as I am the first to admit that social media is not something I have fantastically caught up with but I have had to give it a go. Secondly I realised that if I was posting questions then I had to post answers and this involved me recording myself - I don't know about you but I hate hearing myself speak - but I had to get over this for things to work.

Also to show solutions I decided it would be good to also explain how the answers were arrived at which posed the question, how do you show Maths equations and explanations? To help me with all this I made a purchase of a drawing tablet and spent ages looking through them and reading reviews and settled on the Huion HS610 drawing tablet: and what a great purchase this has been. It is so easy to use and in combination with the Microsoft Whiteboard I was able to record the solution and speak over the top - brilliant.

This also let me open up online tutoring as it allowed me to do Maths and write pseudocode, draw logic gates and diagrams on screen and let the student see it. Along with other online whiteboards we are able to collaborate on whiteboards as well to make it much more interactive experience for the students.

This online tutoring has also led to running online workshops with kids all around the country. I have been setting up events on Facebook and booking through Wix on a number of different topics including games in Scratch, Python coding and even using the micro:bit. This has been a revelation to me in terms of working and it is thoroughly enjoyable. I have even asked for PayPal donations if participants enjoy the sessions and people are paying which make my worry of income over this time less of a worry.

So, where next on this strange journey of discovery? Well I have been asked to do some Arduino classes. This may prove to be more difficult as I have yet to work out the best way to demonstrate the electronics side of things - can I do this with my webcam I wonder? This is the next trial. I am also going to look at doing some video tutorials to keep the brand alive. Fingers crossed things will grow. Keep safe everyone and look out for each other.

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