With this newsletter we launch a special edition dedicated to our new school, the Virtual one, but always based on the same educational principles and values.
We will not talk to you about the events and initiatives planned, but we asked our students to open the windows of their homes to offer us glimpses of their learning and snapshots of what they are experiencing.
In this edition you will find a series of reflections and ideas taken from readings and from the Inspired Virtual Guide on which all of us at ISC are reflecting and elaborating.
I trust you are all well, despite the difficult global challenge. The emotional stability and the mental-physical well-being of all of us are a priority and a duty towards all of our children or students.
I wish you a peaceful weekend at home illuminated by the beautiful spring sun.
Inspired Virtual Learning Guide
All the Inspired schools have received a Virtual Learning Guide and some related policies that will be analyzed and discussed among the Inspired Heads and Leadership teams. Being part of such a large group of Educators and Leaders has leveraged a great deal of expertise and cooperation.
“Establishing a Virtual School Environment is a new venture for our school and we are excited by the opportunities that it presents. Parents will understand that with all new systems and procedures there will be issues that arise. As always, we welcome parent feedback and suggestions to enable the School to continue to improve.
Higher education is already moving rapidly into online and distant learning and therefore the skills learnt during this period will be useful for all students in the future.
Within our design of ISC Virtual School Environment we have retained two core elements that we believe make ISC an outstanding school.
Firstly, the live pupil-teacher interaction which is fundamental to all pupils making progress and achieving their full potential. Pupils gain so much from the direct interaction with passionate and talented teachers. The second core element is the desire to maintain our personalised learning approach that treats every pupil as an individual and support them pastorally and academically at all times.
Online learning within virtual classrooms will need pupils to be motivated and parents to support them in their studies. However, we believe that it will develop in all students the skills required for independent learning alongside the 21st Century skills to learn in digital environment.
Education is certainly changing and all at ISC are keen to change with it”.
A pedagogical revolution
What we are experiencing during this time of school closings due to the coronavirus emergency is an epochal passage. For the situation we are experiencing, with learning at a distance, is the first time that it is not the kids who go to school, but the school that goes to the kids. Technology, instead of being something that replaces the teacher, is something that allows the presence of the teacher. This is the revolution.
It is not technology that replaces the adult, but technology that allows connection with your teacher, with your classmates, with your school. It is a technology that allows emotional contact, communication and a sense of belonging. I was very impressed by one of our teachers who told me that she felt very excited and touched to “meet” her students again.
In the educational world we are witnessing collaboration and cooperation that has never been seen before: publishing houses are offering online resources, the possibility to follow webinars, to access film libraries and bookstores, and to visit museums from your sofa at home. A new task is born for teachers: to orientate and discern valuable materials and content in a sea of multiple possibilities. This path of a new pedagogy to be built together has started, I hope that will be based on the real needs and the voices of the students.
New Expectations & New Responsibilities
Virtual school is a new learning environment for everyone. New roles and tasks arise for teachers and for students and specific expectations and rules apply. Even parents are involved as they are called to facilitate the learning of their children. I have extrapolated some expectations that you will see detailed in the Guide to Virtual Learning in Inspired schools.
Expectations of all pupils
- Participate as fully as possible and contribute positively to the virtual classroom environment.
- Follow the normal timetable as much as possible.
- Understand that your teacher will be available online during all timetabled lessons.
- Regularly check each Google Classroom to see the instructions for each lesson.
- Engage with Live teaching as it happens via the Blue Jeans platform.
- Endeavour to complete all work set.
- Immediately ask teachers for clarification if they do not understand.
- Communicate with teachers if work cannot be completed.
- Communicate with peers, teachers and others using technology in a responsible and respectful manner.
- Will not record or take photos of my peers or teachers during Distance Learning.
- Will not deliberately browse, download, upload or forward material that could be considered offensive or illegal.
- MUST NOT share recorded lessons publicly.
- MUST NOT share the Blue Jeans lesson code with anyone else.
In order to support the Virtual School Environment, we request that parents facilitate the following, wherever possible:
- Provide a quiet workspace that is free from distraction
- Encourage and support your child with their work – including finding an appropriate place to work, checking that set work is completed by the end of each day and ensuring that the normal school timetable for the day is followed.
- Ensuring your home network meets technical requirements.
- If you have any concerns, please contact the subject teacher for subject specific queries.
- Ensure that your child accesses Managebac every day
- Ensure that your child attends the ‘Live Teaching’ every day where possible.
- Minimising parental involvement during sessions. The interactions in sessions should be between the teacher and the students.
- Encourage your child to work independently as much as possible.
- Discuss the learning outcomes that have been achieved each day.
- Inform the school if you are experiencing concerns about the progress your child is making.
- Inform the school if your child is unwell and unable to complete set tasks
- Encourage your child to complete all tasks to the best of their ability.
- Encourage a balanced lifestyle that involves daily exercise It is recognized that a distance learning environment provides unique challenges to both students and staff.
- Prioritise your child’s wellness and happiness over completion of work.
- Remaining patient and flexible as children and teachers adjust to this new way of working.
What happens to Students who have to take the IB exams?
Obviously, we are in constant contact with the central offices of IB in The Hague, both on behalf of the IB Inspired schools and on behalf of the association of IB schools in Italy. It is crucial for us to continually report concerns and problems related to exam deadlines, for both Grade 11 who will have to take the e-assessment and Grade 13 who will have to face the various Diploma exams.
Here is the latest communication received from the IB:
“The IB, like other examination bodies, is treating the challenges that this pandemic is presenting for our worldwide school community very seriously. We have deep empathy for the impact this is having on over 200,000 IB students across the globe and are currently reviewing all available options. We are gathering feedback from schools, students, universities and official bodies to determine the most judicious way forward. It is critical for us to ensure that the options we provide our world of schools are done with compassion for our students and teachers and fairness for the difficult circumstances our students and educators are experiencing. Ultimately, we want to ensure that our students have every chance of success as they pursue university entry or future career plans. Our students are at the forefront of our thinking as we navigate this extraordinary global pandemic.
We are working through these options with the utmost urgency and will be providing a decision on the May 2020 examination session and the options available for schools and students no later than 27 March 2020.”