What we did:
Facetime on FaceBook Messenger, Zoom, email, phone callls, posting resources and online quizzes.
Who we involved:
Members of the disability centre who are learners, their families, support workers and managers from community care organisations such as Social Work, Stepdown, Community Lifestyle and Leonard Cheshire. Funding for tutoring came from WEA and once that ceased then it came from Lottery Communities Fund.
The difference it made:
The National Lottery Communities funding came through networking on Zoom meetings, which North West Glasgow Voluntary Sector Network (NWGVSN) organised weekly. I at first tried Zoom for learning remotely but only one learner could do this and some face-to-face remote learning was carried out through social media video calls, some through emails and some through printing and posting resources.
Training for me on Zoom and Canvas came from WEA, digital skills training for a volunteer tutor from West of Scotland college, a new learner (volunteer for Possobilities) received digital skills training and a tablet with internet from Leonard Cheshire. NWGVSN arrange for computers, internet and iPads for some of our volunteers who were studying at university and had no equipment. I started working in the office 2 days weekly and was able to (after receiving funding from the Lottery) print resources (various levels) and post them to each learner. I also arranged one to one face time meetings for some and phone communication for others.
WEA ran Zoom training, which I advertised for them to the members of Possobilites and which they ran for a group of members. Lots of online activities for members (including learners) daily and some 'live' by other staff members of Possobilities ensured those given digital skills training were involved and not isolated. Learning was able to continue remotely, they felt supported and included and therefore isolation was kept at bay. Some of their families, carers and guardians got involved in the learning as well as online activities.
What we will do differently in the future:
I was not very confident about digital skills and feel I have a lot more to learn and practice. Some learners have low levels of learning skills and it has been frustrating to try to support them into online communication. Having others support them in this has been good. Face-to- face learning is best with my group but in the meantime my approach seems to be adequate.
I attend Zoom meetings regarding how to engage fully with learners but remotely. I am involving volunteer tutors (who haven't been involved much recently) to see how we can put online tutorials so that current and new learners can access them at their own pace and time. So, changing how we tutor is definitely having an impact. I am looking at a literacy app to see how I can embed that into the learning programme but know some learners will need face-to-face support so won't be able to access it. Having families and others involved will also help.