Translating face-to-face practice to an online environment

I had the opportunity to learn that there are other strategies to keep the students' attention while being in an online environment…30

May 2021: almost 18 months since coronavirus first appeared in Europe and each of the partner countries were still experiencing restrictions on international travel.  What was conceived of as a two-year project entered a third year in the hope that it would be possible to undertake the final stage of the research journey as planned.  It was to be the final face-to-face meeting of this partnership of five schools, during which staff from the schools in Germany, Hungary, Sweden and the UK would travel to Spain.  The visit would provide a final opportunity to deliver the lessons destined to be captured in this toolkit using students in the Spanish school as collaborators and evaluators.

Instead, our final research visit was translated into an online environment.  We still clustered the programme around three days to minimise the impact on our wider schools, but what would have been undertaken in person was now mediated through a screen and Internet connection.

Moving to a virtual setting enabled us to think about the online delivery of our toolkit.  While we believe that delivery of the lessons and activities contained in this toolkit is done most effectively in a face-to-face environment, what was interesting to us was how possible it was to translate the lessons to a virtual environment.  Here are our tips should you want or need to work remotely:

  • Communication is key: ensure that all parties, including the learners, understand that the lesson will be virtual and will therefore be a different experience compared with face-to-face learning. Reassure learners and teachers that it will be a positive experience.
  1. Ensure you have the necessary technology: are your classrooms set-up for virtual learning; do pupils and students need access to particular technology to facilitate their participation?
  2. Consider the place on online tools: use sites such as and Jamboard to enable students to engage in the lesson.
  3. Be ambitious: pupils and students are much more used to remote learning than was the case before the pandemic, so be as ambitious in your planning and delivery for a virtual lesson as you are for a face-to-face lesson, however…
  4. Anticipate where problems might arise, and have solutions in mind: delivery through screens is still a less natural space for teachers and learners alike, so think about what has the potential to work less well and be ready to problem solve.

You can find online versions of some lessons in our toolkit.



30 Nationality unknown, teacher, 2021.