Hundreds of free online resources to support families and teachers with home schooling during the current Covid school closures are being promoted across Scotland by The Open University.
The university’s free learning platform OpenLearn hosts more than 1,000 courses and over 15,000 articles, videos, features, features, interactive games and posters.
In response to the first lockdown, a team of academics pulled together a range of courses and content relevant to the curriculum to help secondary school pupils continue learning at home, including maths, English, literature, science and languages.
Now three new content hubs have been created for S6 pupils covering advanced resources linked to the university’s curriculum areas of arts and social sciences, business and law, and wellbeing, education and languages.
Susan Stewart, Director of The Open University in Scotland, said:
“During the first lockdown we were able to support pupils and take the load off teachers and parents through our free educational resources on OpenLearn. This material is now back in demand as schools have closed their doors again to help manage the spread of the virus.
“We know that teachers and secondary school pupils are drawing heavily on the site with material on the environment a particular hit with young people and relevant to the curriculum. This includes the latest BBC David Attenborough series, A Perfect Planet, which the OU helped co-produce.
“Our new resources aimed at S6 pupils complement the BBC home schooling resources which are aimed at primary and younger secondary pupils.”
In 2020 there were over 600,000 unique visitors from Scotland to OpenLearn, almost double the previous year. Over 340,000 unique visits were during the spring lockdown (23 March to 24 June) when restrictions were tightest, and schools were closed.
The most popular subjects with Scottish users during the last year included Forensic Psychology, English: Skills for Learning, Money Saving Expert Academy of Money, Succeeding in Maths and the Science of Nutrition and Healthy Eating.
Susan Stewart added:
“Parents too have been delving into the site as they have had to brush up their own skills in subjects like maths or English so that they can be more supportive to children home schooling.”
The OU in Scotland has worked with schools in Scotland for over a decade providing a Scotland-wide national online bridging qualification for S6 pupils that introduces them to university level study. Over 7,500 young people have benefited from this.
OpenLearn also has a YouTube channel which hosts short learning videos on a wide range of subjects including the globally popular '60 Second Adventures' in subjects such as philosophy, economics, astronomy and religion.