UISZ Distance learning Programme (Mar 2020)

10-03-2020

With the recent emergence of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) across South East Asia, many schools have begun to develop an online distance learning progamme. But, what does this mean for our parents if you're someone who has experienced a more "traditional" schooling environment. So, what exactly is it and what does it look like at UISZ?

What exactly is Distance learning?

There are many definitions and perceptions of what Distance learning is, definitions centre on educational material that is delivered to a remote audience via a computer with a focus on the instruction and the delivery. Other definitions of distance learning are broader in terms of the access to learning experiences but also on the potential for flexibility and student interaction. Essentially, distance learning means that your educational tool is based on the Internet, making anytime learning a possibility.

Instructional Model

Our programme aims to use the model of a blended approach, following the normal daily timetable. The model is blended because it mixes real-time, online, video-based, virtual classroom with recorded classes, and other pre-existing materials available together. The approach also uses aspects of the flipped classroom because students are expected to watch recorded classes before they have any face to face classes. This supports the inquiry model so that class time can be used for active discussion.

The combination of these elements provides a rich, dynamic learning environment, reminiscent of the best schools in the world.

What exactly is distance learning in the IB and Inquiry Cycle?

In a modern IB classroom, teachers are taught to lead students through the curriculum using inquiry -based teaching methods. This means that your children will often be asked to conduct their own research and complete work without constant instruction from the teacher. Students will then discuss their ideas and thinking with the teacher and decide on any improvements they need to make together. This is known as the inquiry cycle (Inquiry – action – reflection) and forms the basis of our online learning philosophy.

Our online learning platforms (such as Seesaw, Zoom, Managebac and Microsoft Teams) are a foundational element of our distance learning environment. They are also often used in the classroom during class time as part of our blended learning environment. Students use online learning for a part of some class time before then engaging in class discussion, skills practice, teacher-talk, or projects. This kind of learning environment is something that happens regularly at UISZ.

Our online learning platforms (such as Seesaw, Zoom, Managebac and Microsoft Teams) are a foundational element of our distance learning environment. They are also often used in the classroom during class time as part of our blended learning environment. Students use online learning for a part of some class time before then engaging in class discussion, skills practice, teacher-talk, or projects. This kind of learning environment is something that happens regularly at UISZ.

In the Primary School, SEESAW is used during online learning, and is an excellent tool for encouraging independence, helping with visible thinking, documenting learning and supporting feedback to students. It also helps with collaboration between students, teachers and parents which support the IB inquiry cycle of Inquiry – action- reflection.

For live one to one teaching the Primary school also uses Zoom, our outstanding faculty are demonstrating great amounts of innovation and flexibility to continue an excellent education and learning environment for all students.

In the Secondary School at UISZ, we are continuing to deliver high-quality learning through the same platforms our students use during the regular school year. Managebac has been an excellent platform to connect our community and support lesson delivery. Teachers are also using video conferencing apps, such as Zoom, to create collaborative learning groups for students to interact with each other and engage in critical conversations about their learning. Teachers and students also use the Microsoft 365 suite to encourage our students to develop their understanding of the topics covered and to make their thinking visible.

Format of online lesson

In order to follow the IB inquiry cycle, Primary teachers will follow a new timetable integrating as much as possible, including video lessons, Explain Everything, and activities on Seesaw. Zoom is used for face to face meetings and online sessions.

In Secondary at least two of the three subject lessons each week must be a live face-to- face lesson. For the other lesson, the teacher must support the students set/independent work and be available online to answer any questions the students have. They must also mark and provide feedback on any of the work students have submitted.

The Curriculum

Our distance learning programme will follow the normal IB curriculum so that when the school campus does reopen for face to face teaching, the students will not be behind.

Assessment

Your children will be assessed as normal, will be given regular feedback and mid-term reports will be sent out as normal.

The Timetable

New Early Years and Primary timetables have been created and shared with parents. These new timetables provide a weekly structure, with a variety of activities and learning engagements, including a live component daily. Teachers will also be available for questions and support.

In the Secondary School, each of the core subjects on the MYP and DP is scheduled to have three 55 - minute lessons per week. The normal timetable also includes space for assemblies, CCAs, House time, wellbeing classes and library and academic skills. For these classes, we are not offering live online classes, the time allocated for these aspects of the timetable will be given to study time and individual teacher tutorials when required.

This means that on each weekday students have more time to focus on work from the core subjects of Mathematics, Science, Humanities, Languages, Arts and Design.

Child Protection

All classes on Seesaw, Zoom or Microsoft Teams will be set up to respect student confidentiality.

The 1on1 video chat using a school authorised platform for learning-related purposes is appropriate under these online learning restrictions we are facing. The basic protective guidelines are like the 1-1 conversations in a classroom:

  1. Children should take their device into a room that is not their bedroom

  2. Doors should be open

  3. When possible there should be an adult in the house

  4. If a child is using a public WIFI network (e.g. cafe), again it is recommended a parent should be present Children's attire should be like what is normal for a casual clothes day at school, pyjamas are not acceptable.

  5. A recording of all video calls is kept by the school on the authorised video platform.

Parent support

During this difficult time, we do not expect parents to have to act as their child’s teacher – explaining work and organizing them. Most of our students know their timetables and should be able to follow them. We do ask however, that you check in with them and encourage them to complete work on time (the deadlines should be clearly marked in their Managebac calendar). Remember, students are expected to complete the work during the assigned lesson and their teachers will be available to answer any questions via the schools online platforms.

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