14 Sep, 2020
10 : 00
The eLearning approach was initially introduced to follow epidemic safety guidelines. The newer hybrid learning and teaching approach came later as a number of teachers and students were unable to attend face-to-face lessons on campus when we commenced the school year on 1 Septemebr..
Lessons in the hybrid (online plus campus learning) approach are largely similar. In math, for instance, all students may be learning the same place value skill, but with lessons tailored for different groups based on whether they are physically on campus or online.
As explained by Ms Jane Martuneac Kang, “Online students are following a timetable that suits them better than an on-campus schedule.”
Individual considerations take into account student time zones and special time slots for teachers to manage their pupils’ independent work – something that would have been accomplished naturally in a face-to-face format.
These developments are the result of several months of research and testing by our academic staff to improve the student learning experience.
There has been a conspicuous improvement in the delivery of eLearning and hybrid teaching. Students are generally handling the new methods well. Both students and teachers have steadily adapted since February when online learning was introduced.
“For some students it took a lot of time to warm up and talk to people on a screen,” Ms Martuneac Kang recollects. Eventually, they became familiar with functions like switching on the microphone when a teacher called their name or answering questions through the chat box.
There have been several learning and refinement opportunities during this period but there are five key factors that have had a positive effect.
Collaboration and planning: Despite the hurdles, teachers continue to interact and plan lessons together. Teaching teams use platforms such as Zoom and Teams to outline lessons and collaborate on resources.
Professional development: Since the commencement of e-learning, the academic leadership team and teachers have conducted regular workshops to exchange and enhance skills and to leverage functions on e-learning platforms to build engagement.
Lesson availability: For students who may be in different regions, recordings of live lessons are uploaded and saved for student access and feedback. Teachers then respond via Seesaw or Teams.
Specialised teaching: Due to location and time confines, teachers currently in Beijing provided face-to face teaching on campus since the beginning of the semester, and teachers working remotely supported students currently off-campus. This provides flexibility for both teachers and students.
Parental support: With strong support from parents, students have become more comfortable with the online learning approach. Parents have been proactive with things like printing materials, the creation of comfortable study spaces, and offering much needed moral support.
We look forward to having all our students back on campus soon and continue to ensure we are prepared at all times to switch seamlessly between e-learning and on campus teaching as necessary.