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Online, distance and home learning: Selected reading

Written By: Cat Scutt
18 min read
A collection of articles, blogs and resources about online, distance and home learning and CPD

This selected reading list is one of three put together relating to the current COVID-19 outbreak. You might also be interested in the list on the the impact of school closures or the list of some free home learning resources.

This selected reading list includes resources relating to online, blended, remote and home learning, including research and blogs about home learning, online learning (including using multimedia, online assessment, e-safety and more), about supporting parents and parental engagement, about pupil and teacher wellbeing, and about online teacher CPD. Now that schools have reopened, it has been updated to include a section about blended approaches and responses for example when pupils are self-isolating or a ‘bubble’ has to move to remote learning.

Many organisations and individuals have collated lists of useful resources, free tools etc for use to support home learning and distance learning during the COVID-19 outbreak. As such, this page includes many links to other lists, but also includes links to a range of articles, blogs, and research from different sources. Whilst some of the articles and resources linked have been written or produced specifically in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, many are more general.

The views within linked articles and resources do not necessarily represent those of the Chartered College, and we are not responsible for the content of any external links. The list will be regularly updated with new links, and suggestions of other resources to add are very welcome.

Approaches to home and distance learning

A blog from Rosendale Research School outlines their approach, as a primary school, to home education

Mrs Riley’s blog argues that, in the short term at least, home learning needs to focus on revision and repetition, not introduction of new content to pupils

A blog by Paul Kirschner, based on a forthcoming book, with some top tips for teaching at a distance

A blog by Marc Rowland for Unity Research School looking at the possible implications of distance learning for disadvantaged pupils, along with some possible approaches to take

Part one and part two of a blog by Mark Anderson for Independent Thinking, looking at managing continuity of lessons and learning through online learning whilst schools are closed

A Chartered College collected reading list of home learning resources contains collection of links to lists of online learning and home learning resources, sorted by source and by subject

A Tes article by Andy Hargreaves looking at things it’s important not to forget in a move to distance and home learning

A remote learning themed podcast from Rebecca Nobes, part of her Page to Practice series


Online teaching and learning

Jo Facer’s blog looks at what she has learnt about effective online learning

This ASCD article is US-focused but offers some ideas for supporting EAL learners in online learning

The British Journal of Education Technology have made a special collection of articles about online learning (from previous issues) available open access until the end of April

An Educause article by five US academics looking at the difference between emergency remote teaching and online learning in more normal times

A Wakelet collection of links around online learning by Hannah Tyreman – this comes primarily from an online learning for adults (including teachers) perspective

Olly Lewis’ long blog includes links and reflections on lots of different aspects of online learning, from pedagogical models to esafety and more

A blog by Harry Fletcher-Wood with some tips for teaching online effectively

A wide-ranging Tes article on using technology for remote teaching, with some helpful practical tips and links

If you want to learn more about teaching online, more formal free CPD opportunities include a free FutureLearn course on teaching online to provide continuity for students during school closures and a free Open University course on moving to teaching online

The Journal of Computer-Assisted Learning have produced a virtual issue of free articles from previous issues that may have particular relevance in the current context

Dan Worth has summarised what we know (and what we don’t) about maximising distance learning in an extended article for Tes

Mirjam Neelen and Paul Kirschner have translated a series of 12 posts from Wilfred Rubens that look at 12 building blocks for teaching and learning with technology. They cover 1) activating relevant prior knowledge, 2) Give clear, structured and challenging instruction,  3) Use examples, 4) Combine words and visuals, 5) Use learning technology to make learners process the subject matter actively, 6) Use learning technology to understand whether all learners have understood the content, 7) Provide scaffolding for challenging tasks, 8) Spaced learning, 9) Variable practice 10) Testing, 11) Feedback and 12) Learn more effectively


Challenges in online learning

An article from The Conversation that explores some potential challenges in online learning, particularly for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds

A SchoolsWeek article reporting on results from a TeacherTapp survey, commissioned by TeachFirst, about pupils’ access to the internet and devices at home, and arguing that tech companies should be helping to support those who do not have access

DevicesDotNow is an initiative to encourage companies to donate devices to support pupils who don’t have access to devices and / or internet to access learning at home

An article by Andreas Schleicher for the OECD looks at the access pupils have to devices around the world, as well as schools’ preparedness for online teaching

A blog by Daisy Christodoulou looking at why remote teaching has not always worked well in the past, and how we might change that

A blog by Rebecca Stacey looking at the challenges that remain in device access and the resulting ‘digital exclusion’

Applying principles of effective learning in an online environment

Durrington Research School have created a guide to how they apply their key learning principles in a distance learning environment

A podcast from Evidence-Based Education looks at effective assessment and feedback in an online context – Evidence-Based Education have also produced five compact guides on assessment online for the Chartered College of Teaching – they cover checking for understanding, hinge questions, feedback, peer assessment and self assessment (link added 4th April)

Cathy Lewin has written a compact guide for the Chartered College about setting effective collaborative / group tasks for pupils online (link added 4th April)

A SchoolsWeek article by Daniel Muijs and Dominique Sluijsmans looking at why good principles of learning generally – for example worked examples, formative assessment and feedback, and metacognition – are just as important during distance learning (link added 4th April)

A Tes article by Mark Enser looking at applying Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction when teaching online

A blog by Shaun Allison for Durrington Research School, explaining how evidence can be used to inform online teaching practices, exemplified through ‘the worked example effect’

Daisy Christodoulou’s blog looks at why the challenge of remote teaching is the challenge of all teaching – that learning is invisible

The Teach Like a Champion site blog includes a number of really useful new blogs reflecting on moving effective learning principles online – in a range of subject areas / phases


Approaches to online teaching

This Chronicle article, whilst HE focused, raises interesting questions about whether Zoom and similar video conferencing tools can really enable two-way interaction once used with very large classes and groups

José Picardo has written a compact guide for the Chartered College on using online quizzing to check and build understanding (link added 4th April)

A blog by Chris Curtis explaining how he’s using ‘interactive storytelling’ as an approach in remote teaching of English

Ben Newmark’s blog explains how he creates teaching videos – he uses a physical whiteboard, but you can do similar with a whiteboard app or online tool and screen recording (link added 11th April)

A blog from Paul Moss looking at how to encourage participation over Zoom (these ideas can be adapted to other video conference technologies with similar functionality)


Designing multimedia: Key principles

If you are producing online or printed resources for your pupils, including slideshows for use independently or for use for live remote teaching through a webinar platform for example, these articles include some useful principles for designing them effectively

An Impact article by Richard Mayer (based on a book chapter) outlining some key principles of designing effective multimedia for learning – the copyright on this means it can’t be Open Access, so it’s member only

This summary of Mayer’s original 12 principles of multimedia learning from the University of Hartford provides a useful overview of multimedia principles too

Mike Tyler is creating a series of videos looking at each of Mayer’s 12 principles of multimedia learning in turn (link added 7th April)

An Impact article by Andy Tharby looking at how slideshows can be improved through the application of cognitive load theory

short blog from Dan Williams outlining some key ideas for why using graphics can be helpful, based on his reading of Ruth Clarke and Chopete Lyons’ book

journal article by James Clark and Allan Paivio, introducing dual coding theory and some implications for education

video of Oliver Caviglioli introducing the concept of dual coding as part of a FutureLearn course


eSafety and safeguarding in online and distance learning

A guide from SWGFL on safe remote learning

A Safer Internet Centre article on safe remote learning during the COVID-19 outbreak

LendEd (by BESA)’s tips on home learning include some important questions to consider when adopting new technology tools

An EFF blog highlighting some things to be aware of when using online tools – this is not just about working with pupils, but it does highlight some ‘features’ of webconferencing tools and data privacy to be aware of

A Tes article with guidance around the care needed when using Zoom and similar video-conferencing apps, to avoid ‘Zoom-bombing’ or uninvited guests joining chats


Supporting pupils’ wellbeing and providing pastoral care at a distance

A Tes article by Amy Forrester offers advice on maintaining pastoral support for our pupils at a distance

Shelly Masters at the Leeds Beckett Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools has written a compact guide for the Chartered College with some simple steps to supporting pupils’ wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak

Elizabeth Gregory, a consultant clinical psychologist, has written a blog about how to help children cope with the new normal

A blog by Jill Berry reflecting on the difficulty of coping with uncertainty and lack of control during COVID-19, and the implications of this for pupils, teachers and parents alike

An article by Roisin Robinson for Tes on ways to support pupil mental health during school closures

David Rogers’ blog explores the importance of a sense of belonging and the ‘human touch’ during school closures

Place2Be have provided some activities to help support pupil wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak

Leeds Beckett University Carnegie School of Education and BUPA are offering free pre-recorded seminars around supporting pupil and teacher mental health as they return to the classroom

Supporting parents with home learning

Some of these articles and resources don’t specifically relate to communicating with parents during the COVID-19 outbreak, but they have been selected because they relate to using technology to engage parents, and as such may have particular relevance in distance / home learning situations. There is also another, much longer, set of links to research and articles specifically about parental engagement from last year.

An article by Peter Henderson for The Education Hub on engaging with parents while schools are closed – a New Zealand site, but international relevance

Evidence for Learning (the Australian equivalent of the EEF) have pulled out key principles for teachers seeking to develop home-supported learning, as well as for parents themselves

Janet Goodall has written a compact guide for the Chartered College looking at how to support the home learning environment during the COVID-19 outbreak

A video interview with David Weston and Kathryn Weston, discussing how to support parents during COVID-19.

An Impact article looking at how one school emailed daily revision questions to parents to help them support their children

A blog post by Alex Quigley reflecting on findings from an EEF project looking at an approach to texting parents to support literacy

A FutureLab publication, supported by BECTA, looking at ways digital technologies might be used to support home-school relationships; this is from 2010, so technologies have changed substantially, but some of the principles are still relevant

A journal article by Janet Goodall looking at the use of technology for home-school communications

The EEF’s guidance report on parental engagement contains lots of useful principles more broadly

A blog for ParentKind from a primary school teacher giving tips for parents on supporting home learning

Tom Harbour’s article for Tes looks at some things that might work, and some things that don’t, in supporting disadvantaged families with home learning during the COVID-19 outbreak

The NEU have produced a hub for parents to provide guidance during the Coronavirus crisis

Laura Barbour, early years lead at the Sutton Trust, has written about the importance of the home learning environment during the current school closures

Teachers’ experiences of teaching online / teaching at a distance

This section contains a range of blogs with (mainly) teachers reflecting on their experiences in teaching at a distance during school closures.

The Chartered College’s Connect blog (members only) includes a range of blogs from members reflecting on their experiences of teaching online during the Coronavirus outbreak

A blog from Bukky Yusuf reflecting on online and distance learning from an AP perspective

A blog from Mark Enser thinking about how to keep things simple with online teaching

Deborah Netolicky has written several blogs about teaching at a distance, including a reflection on day one and a reflection on her first week

For a slightly different perspective, CPD trainer Elizabeth Hutchinson has blogged about her first experience running CPD online

Yamina B’s blog reflects on how she feels as a teacher after the first week of school closures (link added 4th April)

Karen Wespieser’s blog for Driver Youth Trust reflects on her experience as a parent home-schooling for a week

IdealisticTeacher has shared a blog with her views on how parents can plan to support and homeschool their children

A discussion between Kristy Turner and Katherine Haxton for the Royal Society of Chemistry about what teachers and HE lecturers are thinking about during school closures

A Tes article by headteacher Jennie Devine reflecting on her experience of six weeks of remote teaching at her international school in Milan

A blog from Blake Harvard reflecting on the highs and lows of remote teaching – and why having lows is OK; he’s also written a further blog on the 5 pillars for his online classroom

Toria Bono’s article looks as fostering growth mindset in a remote teaching environment

Lucy Flower’s blog reflects on approaches to CPD during school closures, and what they might mean for when the crisis is over


Free online learning tools and related guidance

Another Chartered College collected reading list of home learning resources consists of a collection of links to lists of online learning and home learning resources, sorted by source and by subject

Google have created ‘Teach from Home’, a hub for teachers with resources on how to use Google Apps for distance learning

Edtech Impact’s list of digital learning tools now shows all the offers (for example free access) being made by providers on their list to support schools during the COVID-19 outbreak

US-based, but still potentially useful – a coalition of organisations have created a hub for supporting online learning while schools are closed, which includes a list of tech platform offers and a ‘help-desk’ with a discussion forum etc

Teacher wellbeing, mental health and work-life balance

Public Health England have published  general (non-teacher specific) guidance on mental health and wellbeing aspects of the COVID-19 outbreak

The mental health charity Mind have a section on their website with support and advice for those feeling anxious about COVID-19 and / or who are self-isolating.

Education Support Partnership have published a blog by headteacher Darren Morgan with tips for coping with the pressures of the COVID-19 outbreak, and some guidance for supply teachers who may be worried about their financial situation.

This article from the BBC draws together lots of links to resources around mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak (not teacher-specific)

As part of ITV’s #GetBritainTalking campaign, people have been sharing videos thanking teachers for what they are doing – these are being collected by the Chartered College on Twitter (link added 4th April)

A SchoolsWeek article by Mike Armiger considering how school leaders can look after their wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak

Cath Murray’s blog reminds us of the importance of slowing down, and not trying to generate busy-work just for the sake of it

A thought-provoking blog by Laura McInerney on why we don’t always need to be doing something to help, all the time – sometimes it’s enough to be grateful to those who have the expertise to do so (thankyou, NHS, teachers, and everyone else out there helping!)

A slightly tangential to this theme – but interesting – article by Louis Netter for The Conversation about the importance of art in times of crisis

An article by Emma Kell for the BBC about how teachers can maintain wellbeing during the pandemic

This British Psychological Society article is a helpful look at teacher resilience during school closures and how we might support it

Leeds Beckett University Carnegie School of Education and BUPA are offering free pre-recorded seminars around supporting pupil and teacher mental health as they return to the classroom


Online CPD for teachers

CPD around online and digital learning

A free FutureLearn course on teaching online to provide continuity for students during school closures

A free Open University course on moving to teaching online

This video series by Virna Rossi on fast switching to teaching online is aimed more at HE level teaching, but some key principles apply at school level as well

Brent Philipsen and colleagues carried out a systematic review around teacher professional development for online and blended learning (link added 11th April)

The US-based IES Regional Education Laboratories are running a series of free webinars around topics related to teaching during the COVID-19 outbreak – of course, these are from a different context but may still be interesting (link added 11th April)

Research and practice in online CPD

Mark Jesnick’s blog looks at how they set up an online CPD session for teachers in their school

This Chartered College article includes some suggestions for setting up an online reading group as one form of online CPD

A blog by Rachel Lofthouse highlighting the importance of reflection on practice during the COVID-19 outbreak, as much as ever

A SchoolsWeek article by Hannah Tyreman looking at what matters in online CPD for teachers

An Impact article by Amy Icke looking at how MOOCs can be used to support teacher learning

The final section of the Chartered College’s report on teacher CPD internationally is focused specifically on the use of technology for teacher CPD

Barry Fishman and colleagues’ research looked at the effectiveness of face-to-face vs online CPD for teachers in terms of teacher and pupil learning, in the context of curriculum implementation

Ambition Institute’s Tom Rees has written for SchoolsWeek about what they have learnt from moving their teacher professional development programmes online


Free online CPD courses and resources

ResearchED ran a series of free online CPD webinars for teachers every day in the summer term, in the form of presentations from expert educators – the archive of these can be found on their YouTube channel.

Jo Fletcher-Saxon and colleagues are curating short videos in the BrewEd style with an FE focus, and publishing them every week

Jarlath O’Brien has collected together links to CPD resources and courses related to SEND

The University of Hull have collated a list of resources and links that might be useful for trainee teachers

The Chartered College is publishing a series of compact guides providing concise introductions to key topics during the COVID-19 outbreak, including teaching mixed-age classes, teaching, learning and assessing online, and supporting parents

FutureLearn host a wide range of online courses for teachers, with free options for access – including a number of courses from the Chartered College of Teaching

Tom Sherrington has posted a series of Rosenshine Masterclasses on YouTube, and Claire Grimes has produced a set of booklets to go with them

Kathryn Morgan has created a list of a huge amount of CPD, which includes online courses, videos and podcasts – this has been cross-referenced with other lists so should also contain all of the courses and resources listed in Neil Almond’s list of at-home CPD and Laura Tsabet’s list of free CPD for teachers

Andrew Currie has put together a collection of links to free online courses for teachers, including subject-specific courses (note that there are multiple tabs)

Dawn Cox has created this list of RE-specific free online CPD for teachers

The Chartered College of Teaching has put together themed collections of Open Access Impact articles, which may be of particular use in running online reading groups etc – themes include cognitive science, metacognition, assessment and feedback, curriculum, and subject-specific collections. There is also guidance on running reading groups, which applies equally online to in-person.

Leeds Beckett University have published various series of working papers to read, all freely available, including on mentoring and coaching and on mental health in schools

Dylan Wiliam has uploaded videos of various of his talks to DropBox, free for anyone to access

Ben Gordon has put together a list of Maths-specific CPD teachers can access online

HeadteacherChat have collated a list of some useful free CPD sources for teachers

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