20 Feb, 2020
10 : 00
The School is very grateful for everyone’s understanding and support, especially parents. And to understand our parents’ experience with the new process, this week, we talked with two parents, Cindy Jenkins and Jen Yip, moms of kindergarten and primary school learners. We asked them to share their thoughts about eLearning, beginning with their experience with the method.
For both parents like many others, although familiar with virtual learning, they never thought they would have to use it with their children at this age before.
“We hadn’t used much eLearning before now, as my children are young. They were getting used to using apps and the computer with some educational games and shows, including RazKids for school, but they hadn’t engaged with the Seesaw platform themselves.” Cindy Jenkins stated.
For Jen Yip, Australian mom of two, eLearning was introduced to her through her studies and in her workplace, “However, this is the first time I am seeing online education for children.” asserts Jen.
The platforms being used during this period are mostly familiar with parents, such as Seesaw, which teachers regularly post on; giving updates to parents on classroom activities, school notices and homework. In addition to Seesaw, Zoom has been introduced for conducting live classroom sessions.
The usage of this technology has also allowed for student to maintain contact with their classmates and teachers withstanding location and opposing time-zones. “Even though it starts late for us, as we are in the U.S. for now, both students really love to log on and keep that connection with their teachers and classmates. My Year 1 student always has a question to ask his teacher, who of course makes time to answer him on the call!” added Cindy.
It is also important to appreciate the flexibility of many families who had to make varying adjustments based on their needs and different time zones. For the Yip family, the outbreak began at the heels of a holiday back home in Australia, which resulted in their schedule modifications including a reunion with old mates.
“I temporarily enrolled my children into their old primary school. In that respect, they have their social and educational needs met outside of YCIS Beijing.” said Jen Yip. Although currently attending school, her children still connect with their YCIS Beijing classmates through Zoom sessions.
The transition to eLearning has not come without challenges, as anticipated when change occurs. For Jen and her family, it has been striking about a balance “of living and studying in Australia but also trying to keep up with the school in Beijing. This is still a work in progress, particularly as YCIS’s eLearning approach is developing weekly.”. Fortunately, through communication with teachers at YCIS Beijing and in the children's other school, the family receives the support needed during this period.
For Cindy, whose youngest son is in ECE, she mentions that “It is hard to find a routine that works.”, especially with the time difference. She incorporates fun, creative and educational activities during the day in the US, thankfully they are able to catch up as “the live sessions help with that.” she reiterates.
From the students’ perspective, understandably they miss their friends, but they also appreciate why this time necessitates home and online learning. Below are comments by Primary school students
“I think it’s pretty good… I mean, it would not be good to do this forever but I think it is good for now because it is better than actually being at school because that would be dangerous.” (Owen Yip, Y6)
“I really like it because I get to meet up with my friends and see my teachers, and I get to do more stuff on the computer. But I still think face to face learning is better” (Eilise Yip, Y4)
Cindy’s son had this reaction; The first time we did a live session with the K2 Monkey Room, my son jumped up and showed his brother: “Those are my teachers! My teachers are here!” (Sebastian Jenkins, K2)
This is a learning period for us all and by collaborating with sharing ideas and recommendations, we are a step closer to cracking the code in perfect eLearning practices!
To read about some recommendations and tips Cindy and Jen have for the school and parents, click here.