Schools forced to partially close due to the coronavirus crisis are using more than 50 different online learning platforms to help keep pupils on track, Tes research shows.
According to a Twitter poll, Google and Microsoft have the lion's share of the market, but at least 14 per cent of educators use alternatives as their main platforms – with Purple Mash, Tapestry, Seesaw and ClassDojo proving especially popular.
Coronavirus: Remote learning 'can't replace a teacher in class'
More than 3,200 people responded to the poll, which asked educators to specify which – of Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Tapestry and Purple Mash – had been their school's primary platform for online learning during the Covid-19 shutdown.
Attention #edutwitter! Can you help me with a @tes survey? Which of the following has been your school's primary platform for online learning during the #COVIDー19 shutdown? If your chosen platform isn't listed here, please comment down below! 👨🏫👩🏫 #journorequest— Amy Gibbons (@tweetsbyames) April 23, 2020
If their school's choice wasn't listed, respondents were invited to share which alternative platforms they use in the comments section.
Coronavirus: Schools using a range of online learning platforms
Of those who placed a vote for one of the four listed options as part of the main poll, 1,549 (48.3 per cent) said their school predominantly used Google Classroom, while 1,203 (37.5 per cent) said their primary platform was Microsoft Teams.
The third most popular choice was Purple Mash, with 343 votes (10.7 per cent), followed by Tapestry, with 112 votes (3.5 per cent).
A total of 348 people commented on the poll, revealing a huge range of online learning platforms used by schools during the crisis.
An analysis of these responses, excluding mentions of Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Tapestry and Purple Mash, shows that 26.2 per cent of alternative votes were cast for Seesaw, followed by ClassDojo (16.3 per cent) and Show My Homework (9.9 per cent).
Zoom was also popular – attracting 6.7 per cent of the alternative vote, as were Firefly (5 per cent) and Showbie (4.4 per cent).
In total, respondents suggested 61 alternative platforms – although these included Microsoft products besides Teams, such as Sway, SharePoint and OneDrive; and Google products besides Classroom, such as Meets, Hangouts and Sites.
The government recently announced it would be investing £14 million in expert help for staff to get set up on G Suite for Education, which includes Google Classroom, or Microsoft’s Office 365 Education, which includes Microsoft Teams.
But the Association for School and College Leaders called this offer "restrictive", saying the Department for Education should "bear in mind that there are many different providers out there".
It called for the programme to be extended "to provide more general support which is not confined to two companies".