Engaging pupils through remote digital teaching and learning is not the norm for Scottish Primary Education. Traditional learning -whereby teachers and pupils are physically based within a school and engage with each other in person –came to a sudden halt in March 2020,when schools were temporarily closed in an effort to curb the spread of an emerging global pandemic. Despite initial optimism that this would not happen again, a similar situation emerged in early 2021. Schools were forced to close to all but the children of vulnerable families and keyworkers, with teachers and pupils having to adapt once more to working online from home(Education Endowment Foundation, 2020).
Arguably, maintaining pupil engagement became more challenging for teachers during this period of ‘flipped learning’ when neither party was present in a traditional classroom setting. Barriers to pupil engagement are multi-factorial, with many variables outwith teachers’ control. These include the availability of resources and support at home; issues with Information and Communications Technology (ICT); family circumstances, pressures and priorities. Other considerations for teachers include their own digital competency and additional time required for lesson planning (Education Endowment Foundation, 2020; Greenhow et al, 2020; North Lanarkshire Council, 2020).
The aim of this enquiry was to try to ascertain whether live sessions promoted pupil engagement during a period of remote learning, within the context of a global pandemic.