As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, education has been changed dramatically. The COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in human history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 200 countries. School closures in response to the pandemic have shed light on various social and economic issues the most important in the field of education is digital learning.
Our International Independent School family faced this challenge head on, not wavering in our mission and vision goals, and loyal to our students during our first nationwide school lock down. IIS teachers and staff diligently prepared and worked around the clock to set up a distance learning framework to continue to provide our IIS families and students our services of high quality education through an online distance learning education platform:
IIS Distance Learning Education Platform:
Gmail accounts and passwords for each individual student:
IIS provides a secure Gmail account and password for each of its students. Google Mail is Google’s free web email service with tons of storage space and lots of great features where you can also access your google classroom, your google drive, google meet, school calendar and many more helpful products.
Google Classroom is a free blended education-friendly learning platform developed by Google for schools that aims to provide teachers and students, the platform that brings the benefits of paperless sharing, assessment, and digital collaboration to classrooms.
To use Google Classroom, your teacher sends you an email invite. Then you sign in on your computer or mobile device and join classes. After you join a class, you can join links to live classes, get work assignments from your teachers, and communicate with your classmates.
- Daily Routine: When IIS shifted to online distance learning, principals and teachers posted the daily schedule and routine instructions in all our student Google classrooms. Ensuring that our IIS daily school routine and schedule continues just as does if we were in school. We made sure that we followed the daily class schedule carefully and provided extra breaks in-between classes for students so they would have time to join the next class.
- Live Google Meet & Zoom classes: During online distance learning, all classes were given live using Interactive Smart Boards presentations and following the daily class schedule. All teachers and students were required to keep their cameras on at all times. Attendance was taken for each class just as at school. Teachers used Google Meet or Zoom and post links in the Google Classroom for students to join. All meetings were recorded to ensure that student safety, teaching, and educational protocols were followed and met.
- Online assessments (quizzes), Midterm & Final Exams, Homework assignments and Projects:
IIS teachers strive to meet all students’ educational requirements in their Google Classrooms. We make sure all online assessments (quizzes), Midterm & Final Exams, HW assignments and projects are all easily accessible and organized for student to complete and submit to their teachers. All assessments, exams and projects were all completed with the teacher and fellow classmates during live classes. Homework is assigned in the Google classroom following the weekly plan. In order to support our working parents, during the midterm and final exams we offered two different appointed times for student to complete the exams: The 1st in the morning following our normal exam schedule and the 2nd after working hours when parent would be home. All exams were completed during live meeting sessions with teachers present and cameras and microphones on. All exam session and meetings were recorded to ensure that all exam procedures and guidelines were followed.
- Activities, Projects, and Online resources: Teachers were resourceful to create and implement many hands on activities with their students during online live classes keeping our students engaged and inspired. The 3rd month monthly projects were assigned keeping in mind that materials were unavailable to most students. Teachers were flexible and communicated closely with student to ensure that projects were assigned and completed with the materials and/or resources that were available to students. IIS provided many additional educational online resources via Google Classroom for all students. Interactive student books were made available to students online (eAlpha math & science interactive student books, Journey’s Reader & Reader Notebook) as well as many online games, interactive worksheets, challenges and competitions.
- Recorded classes: IIS teachers recorded lessons using PowerPoint & Promethean Presentations for each subject and posted them at the end of the school day in the Google classroom. This gave all students an academic advantage to have the lesson on hand to review and ensured that our students did not fall behind in our educational curriculums.
- Class Dojo: Class Dojo is a classroom communication app used to share reports between parents and teachers. Students earn ‘Dojo Points’ based on their classroom conduct. Teachers use Class Dojo to keep parents up to date on student progress and classroom happenings. Many teachers in the elementary department used Class Dojo during online distance learning to encourage students to continue to follow IIS classroom rules during live class sessions just as we do in school.
- Virtual teacher & Parent conferences and contact: Parent and Teacher Meeting Day is an exciting time for our IIS family. Parent and teachers come together for a short meeting or conference to discuss our students’ progress at school. However, during online distance learning it was especial exciting for our IIS families as we held our first time Virtual Online Parent and Teachers Conference days via Calendly.com. Meetings were scheduled after each marking period usually on a Saturday so that all parents have an opportunity to schedule a virtual meeting appointment time to attend. Parents were notified about their children’s report cards and had a chance to meet and talk to with teachers virtually online.
- Assisted learning additional classes: Our IIS Principals and teachers organized additional assisted learning classes for students who need extra support during online distance learning. Teachers set aside extra time and gave one-on-one online classes to their students whom they know needed or requested it to ensure that IIS took all necessary precautions to support their students in time of need.
- School councilor support:
Our IIS school councilors kept in close contact with every student who needed addition emotional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not to mention, encouraging all IIS facilities and families to follow the health protocols to keep us healthy and safe during COVID-19 pandemic. They held many live classes throughout all grade levels discussing issues that students and parents are facing during the hard times we all faced together. They created many online activities for teachers and students to participate in, encourage and uplifting our IIS family.
The current academic school year of 2021-2022 we have returned to in-person education. We started off our school year overwhelmed with joy, welcoming our beloved students back to school. Needless to say, distance learning has been an unexpected situation that has benefited IIS resources and service greatly. We have provided a blended learning environment that implements in-person academic education incorporated with our online distance learning platform. The benefits have been enormous both for our IIS students and families as well as our school as a whole. We have continued implementing our Online Learning Education Platform (Google Classroom) were we post our class schedules, weekly plans, homework assignments, weekly announcements, and additional resources beneficial to our students. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated why online education should be a vital part of teaching and learning. By integrating technology into our existing curriculums teachers can use online learning as a powerful educational tool and enhances our students’ collaboration on creating new knowledge, reflecting on what they are learning, or working together to achieve a deeper understanding of course material.