This week, Economics and Business Teacher, Mrs Elin Egger, wrote a blog about one incident in one of her remote classes, which helped her understand the importance of fostering opportunities for pupils to connect even while they are physically distanced. Here’s the blog post she shared:

One lesson in particular this week sticks out in my mind. Wanting to try to start the lesson off with a light-hearted and engaging but educational activity, I set up a game of bingo for the pupils based around the key terms related to trading blocs. The pupils all knew what they were doing, and I thought that it would be a quick retrieval activity, when someone would get three in a row and we would then move on. However, the first pupil to correctly shout bingo then said: ‘What’s my prize?’ A little bit thrown, I quickly replied: ‘Any virtual prize you want’, thinking they would choose a virtual million pounds or something similar. The pupil then decided he would think about it and we carried on with bingo to get a second-place winner, who then also demanded a virtual prize.

Part way through the lesson, the first winner then declared he had thought of his prize – he wanted to play Kahoot! (a game-based learning platform, played remotely). To me that seemed like quite a harmless prize, so I agreed, but said it had to be the following lesson as I did not have one prepared. The second winner also then piped up, declaring he wanted his prize to be able to play some music in the middle of our next double lesson and everyone had to turn their cameras on and dance! This seemed slightly less harmless, but still not too bad so I agreed.

During the next lesson I told the class that I would get their Kahoot! ready, but the winner said: ‘No Mrs Egger, I have prepared the Kahoot!.’ It turned out that in his spare time the previous evening the pupils had created a Kahoot! for all of his classmates. Was it of slightly less educational value than my Kahoot! would have been? Possibly. Did the pupils have a lot of fun doing the Kahoot!? Definitely.

This class this week has emphasised the importance of creating opportunities for the pupils to connect remotely and, along with all the support and care we give them, how much they also support and care for each other. Providing opportunities to foster these peer-to-peer relationships will go a long way in helping to fill our remote classrooms with engaged and enthusiastic pupils.

And what about the mid-lesson dancing, I hear you ask? On reflection the pupil decided he could not be sure that the Russian hard-bass music he wanted to choose did not contain anything offensive in any language, so he decided it was probably best to forego his virtual prize, much to the relief of everyone else!

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