By Rachelle Griffin, ICT Integrator, Upper Section Leader, Year 4 Teacher and
Michelle Chaplin, Head of Junior School
No single historical event has changed the education landscape as significantly as the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout this time, ICT has played a pivotal role in AISM’s Continuity of Learning Program.
The Junior School introduced the Seesaw learning platform in 2018. The original intention was to utilise it as a tool to bring parents into the classroom and increase their involvement in student learning.
When Malaysia introduced the Movement Control Order (MCO), the Junior School was in a strong position to immediately begin delivering an off-campus learning program. The benefits of using a platform that was already embedded in the school became apparent. As lessons were delivered, teachers, students and parents were operating in an environment that was both comfortable and familiar. The transition from the classroom to home learning via the Seesaw platform played a significant role in the success AISM Junior School learners have experienced during the pandemic.
The changed teaching environment required AISM teachers to constantly evolve within the ICT domain. No longer able to rely on face-to-face teaching, new skill sets were developed and sharpened. Improving our ability to deliver education through multiple, but familiar ICT tools were constantly evolving. Almost overnight, the teacher’s tool kit needed to completely change and include skills in movie-making, slideshows, picture editing, animation and voice recording. Teachers across the Junior School became experts in these fields in a short period to ensure high-quality lessons could be delivered to learners at home.
|"Learners have stepped up in a big way and taken ownership of their learning. They have managed their time independently, ensuring they are on time to their Google Meet sessions and adhering to given deadlines. Teachers have commented that their learners have demonstrated improved problem-solving skills."|
One of the key components in maintaining the connection between teachers and students was the introduction of Google Meet. As a Visible Learning School AISM believes in Professor John Hattie's research that is based on “teacher impact” and the huge impact teacher student relationships have on learning hence google meet now operating across the entire Junior School from ELC to Year 5. Google Meet has offered an opportunity for educators to remain connected with their learners and deliver explicit lessons. This lesson delivery attempts to replicate the classroom experience by providing rich learning experiences and the vital social interaction teachers, students and their peers require for successful learning and wellbeing.
The Junior School introduced a modified timetable early, allowing for students to balance their on-screen and off-screen time. The Wellbeing hour has played a significant role in maintaining this balance. The entire Junior School has one hour a day allocated to a mindful reflection activity which is device free.
Every cloud has a silver lining, and the silver lining, in this case, is perhaps one we didn’t foresee. Learners have stepped up in a big way and taken ownership over their own learning. They have managed their time independently, ensuring they are on time to their Google Meet sessions and adhering to given deadlines. Teachers have commented that their learners have demonstrated improved problem-solving skills. Many learners have flourished in an environment where they can complete their work at their pace and in their preferred working times. ICT skills across the Junior School have improved dramatically. As we prepare to head back to campus there is much we have learned and can build on in our classrooms and whilst our classrooms may be different physically - at least for some time - AISM students know how to collaborate and work as a team using the right tools and equipment - and this is what will make the difference - we’ve all journeyed together to be solution focused problem solvers and to think beyond borders.
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