After our first week of Distance Learning (DL), I felt proud of our school's professionalism, commitment to learning and especially to the general wellbeing of our entire community (students, teachers, leaders and parents). Our team pulled together and worked hard to find solutions. The Learner Profile came alive in our staff. No-one on our team had previous experience with conducting DL sessions for primary students. Many of us have experienced DL as learners through the various professional development courses offered (i.e. online masters courses, IBO courses, etc.) but facilitating it is another issue entirely. Everyone demonstrated commitment, open-mindedness and risk-taking while relying on colleagues to support them along the way. Fortunately for our learning community, we were able to provide every student with a Macbook or iPad from school which helped us to avoid many potential issues with technology connections and software.
As COVID-19 began to spread slowly from China, our school took steps to begin preparations for launching a balanced DL program aligned not only to our mission and vision but also to 3 core values we identified as a team: continuity of learning, keep us connected as a learning community and make sure it both sustainable manageable for community wellbeing. After the first week of DL, we made adjustments for sustainability to our DL program expectations. Above all, this is one of the biggest take aways for me, the need for flexibility, growth mindset and the ability to think creatively and strategically about best practice teaching in the digital environment.
Our learners are at the heart of the triangle; we seek to facilitate the learning and teaching so that our learners are successful in this new environment. This meant all hands on deck working to create content, learning new platforms and introducing students to an entirely different system for learning. Besides being involved in multiple meetings and joining grade level morning meetings on Google Hangouts, I made myself busy creating digital read aloud videos aligned to the current units of inquiry or to the approaches to learning, key concepts and learner profile of the IB PYP. Now I feel like a pro on iMovie. I've also learned how to ScreenCast. Next, I will be learning how to conduct a math group session on Google Hangouts while sharing my screen. So much to try and so much to learn, but I'm determined to figure it out and be successful so our students feel successful.
Areas to consider for your program:
As an international educator, I work with colleagues in my local and global network regularly to implement inquiry through concept-based approaches to learning and teaching. It is a journey of discovery, learning and growing our own understandings about the ways children learn.
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