Although COVID-19 has closed schools around the world, school at BCS still goes on at home.
BCS Primary was able to respond in a very short period of time to set up a digital learning community for our students and parents as they found themselves asked to practice social distancing through self-isolation. We were able to connect all our students and parents to the classroom teachers, who were able to set up virtual classrooms across several platforms, to continue to deliver their lessons from home.
The Primary School is using ManageBac, Microsoft Teams and Zoom as the main forms of delivering instruction.
ManageBac is allowing teachers to notify students and parents of daily assignments through the class message boards and emails. These message boards allow students and parents to pick and choose what they want to work on and when, allowing for flexibility for each family. In each message there are uploaded files that provide a wide range of information in all the different subjects. From pdf documents of workbook pages, video links to instructions by teachers, links for a class video lesson, to presentations, all of which are aimed at allowing the students to navigate their assignments independently most of the time.
Zoom has been effectively used by teachers in the lower primary to connect to their students for lesson, small guided reading groups, and even to one to one special education support lessons. Students, when in a Zoom chat, can see each other so there is time for them to interact socially, which is very important in this time of isolation. Additionally, while students are in their zoom lesson parents are able to step away, take a break or focus their time on their other needs.
In the Upper Primary, teachers are using the Microsoft Office 365 suite to help plan the lessons and connect with students. The OneNote class notebook provides all students with their lessons’ information and connects them to resources for each subject daily. The students and teachers can log into MS Teams for a video-based lessons, through shared screens and video instruction the lessons streams into the students’ living rooms. Students are able to ask their teachers important questions about their learning either by video call or email.
BCS students are also enjoying their specialist classes as well. Art, Music, Sports and even Dance teachers prepare video-based instructions and students are encouraged to share a video or pictures of their practices and performance for feedback.
This time is not without its challenges. Parents are having to find a new home, life and work balance. Teachers are spending many hours learning new skills to produce even short 10-20 minute videos for students. The real challenge for most during this time is to manage the screen time and balance their work online with offline work connected to printed materials and writing. One of the positives that we see from this, is that many families are experiencing their children differently as they are more involved with their learning.
Everyone in the BCS community has pulled together to make the quick transition to the digital learning platform. Well done to all of you!