Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a tragically large number of human lives being lost and still many at stake.
COVID 19 pandemic took the entire world by surprise and like every other institution, we have not been spared as well. As countries implemented necessary quarantine measure and social distancing practices to contain the pandemic, we had to shut down the physical classrooms in order to ensure the safety of our students and the faculty. However, the Academic Team at BLiSS Edify came together to establish an online community to maintain the continuum of academic rigor. With continuous planning and improvisation, we kept our learners engaged through online virtual sessions. It has been a steep learning curve for all of us, parents, students, and educators as the lockdown has accelerated the adoption of digital technology in the teaching and learning process. This truly is a historic moment in education!
This has been an opportunity for everyone, especially our facilitators to explore methods and strategies to teach virtually. Although it was a challenge, in the beginning, it was taken up with a positive attitude and eventually,, it started becoming more normal and presented some productive learning experiences. New platforms, strategies, and activities were explored to adapt to this new normal to make sure the students continue to be engaged in inquiry & conceptual understanding.
Facilitators from every subject area were using innovative ideas to engage students on a virtual platform. Having only the controls of the mic and the webcam, our facilitators, in fact, proved that they indeed are superheroes- efficiently facilitating the process of learning without a physical classroom or physical proximity. They indeed left no stone unturned to give altogether a new dimension to learning beyond the walls. The efforts were complimented by our bright and enthusiastic students across programmes.
Apart from the regular methodology, the facilitators were able to use many other online tools to build interest in the students. Comprehension based online quizzes, research-based questions and answers, crosswords, vocabulary enhancement through online competitions and visual elements such as videos for analysis and picture prompts for story and poetry writing are a few examples of how these sessions were explored which enticed the students and kept them busy and interested.
Physical education is conducted in a specially designed environment, but during the lockdown, our PHE facilitators showcased excellent leadership by tuning in their strategies to conduct sessions through virtual classrooms. Students were enthusiastic and adhered to the instructions given to them virtually. They came together to perform various exercises and tasks in unison which further helped them to cope with the stress of being locked down at home for such a long time.
Practicals, hands-on activities, and displays of models are standard when a physical lab or classroom is available. However, during the virtual sessions, facilitators were able to work around this problem by introducing 3D models and virtual labs ensuring that the quality of delivering knowledge of science and scientific principles is sustained. This was also an interesting experience for all the students.
The ‘Value Addition’ sessions like Public Speaking, Behavioral Reflection, and vocabulary building have provided the students with ample opportunity to debate and discuss like global thinkers. The virtual teaching & learning sessions were exceptionally alluring and not only have facilitated the students to make optimum use of modern technology but as intended, have stimulated their critical thinking, communication, and social skills. These virtual sessions also upgraded students’ information and aptitude as they could connect to other resources for deeper learning.
We were also able to very successfully complete the curriculum within the time frame of the academic year without any depletion in the quality of delivery. We have had the privilege of receiving a tremendous response from both students and the parents for our virtual sessions. We commend the efforts that were put in by our Academic Team and we compliment our students for their active participation.
Dean of Academics, BLiSS Edify International School, Pune
IBEN Educator – Asia Pacific
IB Continuum Workshop Leader, School Visit Team Member & Examiner