Lightening the lockdown load: part 1

These companies are offering invaluable support for educators amid the coronavirus outbreak

Education providers around the globe have been urged to map out detailed coronavirus strategies to see them through the ongoing lockdown. While governments have issued advice on the outbreak specifically for places of education, it’s imperative for sector leaders to consider the digital tools, resources and infrastructure their institution has in place to minimise stress and disruption amid the current upheaval. Edtech has the potential to support remote teaching and learning, and so long as we act now, there’s no reason why we can’t continue with ‘almost business as usual’.

Here, we’ve listed some of the most useful tools and resources to see educators through the COVID-19 lockdown:


Unibuddy is helping 300 institutions worldwide stay connected with prospective students through virtual events, student-to-student conversations and staff chats. Now more than ever, universities need to reach a diverse group of students digitally. Unibuddy’s range of tools helps them make those vital connections.

Through Unibuddy Live, schools can run open house-style events for hundreds of students, or tailored group chats for a specific group. Middlesex University in the UK is already seeing the benefits of these events: they are twice as effective for conversion than any other digital recruitment activity. With implementation taking just a matter of days, universities that have never used peer-to-peer can start moving their recruitment online straight away and see the benefits. Student ambassador and staff profiles can be set up easily in minutes, from anywhere in the world.For UK universities affected by the cancellation of fairs, Unibuddy’s partnership with Ucas is helping them reach thousands of prospects who can chat with their students. As the market leader in student peer-to-peer, Unibuddy has facilitated over two million messages and supported schools in 28 countries. Students are looking for reassurance and guidance in these difficult times – digital peer-to-peer is a great solution for staying connected.

itsLearning: delivering remote learning three months on

We have increased our use of itslearning to a great degree to deliver lessons online since coronavirus broke out in China in January 2020. We have our whole Dutch-language programme on itslearning. The lesson content is exactly the same, so it makes it easy to adapt to learning online.

Nine hundred students and 52 teachers spread across nine locations have access to the LanguageOne programme via itslearning. It was pretty easy to get started with remote learning. Students are able to chat with us, hand in homework, upload documents, etc. There are so many functions and possibilities in the platform. There’s lots of interaction through videos and interactive games. Working on the itslearning platform combined with zoom video calls ensures more individual student attention and guidance. We have a very solid, well-rounded Dutch-language programme online. We get lots of nice responses from the children and the parents saying they are happy that we are able to continue in the same way as we did in class. We will continue to use itslearning in this way when we go back to school.

Ellen Vloothuis, LanguageOne

You might also like: Learning in the time of COVID-19: business almost as usual


Tassomai is the market-leading education software used in over 500 UK schools for science, English and maths. Using the principles of cognitive and behavioural science, Tassomai has supported hundreds of thousands of students, significantly improving outcomes at GCSE and reinforcing core skills at Key Stage 3.

By providing teachers and leadership teams with powerful data insights, Tassomai supports schools’ improvement through strong implementation of impactful learning practice. Tassomai has a strong evidence base, with a proven impact on progress for all abilities, helping schools to close the attainment gap and reduce marking workload. Tassomai is committed to helping as many students as possible to stay occupied and mentally active during school closures.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic Tassomai has offered UK secondary schools free access to the program, for all year groups, for the duration of the closure. Tassomai’s packages for schools don’t cover primary years, but to help families with younger children (aged 7-11), Tassomai have significantly reduced the price, by 75%, of these private subscriber courses.


SonicWall’s Secure Mobile Access (SMA) is a unified secure access gateway that enables education institutions to provide security anywhere, anytime and to any application from any device. Designed for an era when remote education is increasingly common, SonicWall SMA provides advanced authentication of devices and users, keeping malicious actors outside of the network and protecting the digital identities of students, faculty and staff.

Today, students and academic staff are increasingly reliant on email. To protect them against the rising threat of social engineering attacks, SonicWall’s Email Security Solution offers comprehensive defense against targeted phishing attempts. These are likely to increase in volume for students in the coming months as remote studying becomes the norm. This leverages real-time threat intelligence feeds and strong spam filters to prevent phishing emails from reaching students and staff.

SonicWall is making its remote access products and services available to both new and existing customers with deeply discounted rates, bundling together critical security solutions for universities and schools to address the uncertainty we find ourselves in. This offer provides free Secure Mobile Access (SMA) virtual appliances for education institutions, and also discounts on Cloud App Security and Capture Client endpoint protection.

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