It’s been over a year since lockdown — Liam Isaac, Head of Digital Learning at UWCSEA Dover, shares what teachers learned and how they’re doing things differently this time around.
In March 2020, Singapore went into lockdown, bringing with it an abrupt shift to our lives. We all switched to “remote” models—learning, working, gathering and supporting. During this challenging time, the teaching community at UWCSEA worked tirelessly to keep up the students’ spirits. Students developed new levels of resilience as they managed to motivate themselves each day to attend online classes and stay in touch with their classmates and teachers. Parents, too, took on the challenge of meeting the ever-shifting needs of their children while juggling the demands of work and managing their households.
The teachers also had their work cut out for them, managing their professional roles while supporting students’ wellbeing. This most recent period of home based learning has run far more smoothly as we used our experience from the original lockdown. The lessons we learned are also a good insight into how technology will continue to contribute to the future of learning. Here’s how:
Four lessons the teachers at UWCSEA learned from lockdown
1. The increasing use of on-demand learning
At UWCSEA, blended learning has always been the norm. Learners have always been able to access material through an online platform at their own pace, to support face to face instruction. However, because of the circuit breaker, this blended learning model was adopted at an accelerated pace and through all levels. Teachers are continuing to streamline the way they provide information to support their classes, making it more learner friendly and accessible. This way, students have more time in class for discussion, project-based work or personalised feedback.
2. Making learning more personalised
No thanks to safe distancing measures, onboarding and orientation of new students and their families were moved online. However, families were more than happy with the result. Through custom learning modules, students were able to set up their devices to be ready for the first day of school. In the same manner, students and their families were also introduced to UWCSEA’s educational philosophy and were given helpful tips on supporting their child as they joined UWCSEA, followed by live workshops. The approach proved to be so successful that the school has continued to develop the concept for the start of the next school year, and in other contexts.
3. Using gamification
It’s no secret that gamification works—it motivates and invites consistent participation by students of all ages. During the circuit breaker, teachers were prompted to apply creative gamification to consolidate or enhance student learning in their virtual classrooms. Today, this has resulted in more interactive and immersive strategies in students’ learning.
4. Using augmented and virtual reality
VR is a hot topic and last year, a virtual art gallery was constructed ‘on’ Dover Campus. In thePrimary School, teachers are exploring how to use VR to create immersive learning experiences that allow students to use their iPads to take virtual trips around the world. Pretty exciting stuff, we think!
As the world continues to adapt in response to the pandemic, there’s no doubt that the community at UWCSEA is doing its very best to use technology to empower students and take the school to the next level. We can’t wait to see what they’ll do next!
This post is in partnership with UWCSEA.