Thousands of council-supplied Chromebooks helping online, including live, lessons

As Midlothian pupils return to remote learning today at the start of the new term, Midlothian Council has confirmed it has supplied around 3,800 Chromebooks and 54 4G dongles, to connect to the internet, to Primary 1 pupils upwards since the start of the pandemic. 

Supporting online lessons, including live sessions

The drive to provide all school-age children with a device, if required, and to make sure they can access the internet will support online lessons, including live teaching sessions where appropriate. 

Newbattle’s live timetable confirmed already 

Newbattle Community High School has already confirmed its live lessons timetable and teachers who want to will do so in other schools across Midlothian will also offer live lessons where appropriate.

More than 13,000 pupils can work at home safely 

Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Councillor Jim Muirhead said: “We have made every effort to ensure all of our pupils – more than 13,000 young people, can continue to learn safely at home

Lots of work to supply devices

“There’s been an awful lot of work gone into around 3,800 devices to the pupils who didn’t have a computer, tablet or Chromebook at home. 

Majority of supplied devices, council funded

“The council has paid for around 2,500 of those devices and the Scottish Government has funded around 1,300.” 

Welcome back

Cllr Muirhead welcomed the pupils and staff back at the start of the new term.

Making sure pupils can access and complete work 

“As well as offering a mix of live and other online learning, teachers will also be working with pupils to make sure they can access and complete their tasks.

Committed staff doing their best

“We realise this is a very challenging time for our young people and we want to stress that supports are available and our committed education staff are doing all they can to provide the best quality possible online learning experience.

Using feedback to improve

“The education service and schools will continue to respond to parent and learner feedback to improve support throughout this period of remote learning.”

Digital learning integral to curriculum

Head Teacher at Newbattle Community High School Gib McMillan said, as a Digital Centre of Excellence, digital learning has been an integral part of the curriculum since the new school opened. Working closely with other secondary schools across Midlothian, live lessons will be among the ongoing remote learning opportunities, as appropriate. 

More about live learning at Newbattle

He added: “We believe that learning should provide flexibility for families and learners.  Listening to feedback from our previous experience of remote learning and using research, a timetable with a variety of live opportunities provides a more valuable learning experience than simply live lectures.  Live learning may include tutorials, question/answer sessions, rounding off a topic discussion, starting a new topic discussion, flipped learning, feedback on evidence required for SQA etc.  Recorded lessons also provide flexibility for pupils and families to learn at the time which best suits their individual situation.”

Watch online sessions about our schools’ learning platforms

To help pupils prepare for the start of the new term, last week parents, carers and our young people were invited to a series of live online sessions about learning platforms used by our schools.