Technology is embedded in our school’s DNA and it is flexibly and creatively applied in different ways for learning and teaching. However, when the COVID-19 epidemic began, adaptability and innovative thinking were still required to make the transition to e-Learning as smooth as possible. By making full use of existing hardware and software and newly introduced tools and technologies, students were given the chance to continue their learning in the best possible environment.
Since the very beginning, students displayed creativity with their use of resources, becoming ever more comfortable with technology and significantly increasing learning efficiency. They showcased their learning through different formats that taught them multiple skills, including submitting PPTs, posters, podcasts, videos, and reports, which teachers could then quickly and efficiently assess. The teachers produced all sorts of solutions to undefinable problems, using cameras, laptops, and ‘MaxHubs’ in different combinations to accommodate the students’ needs, and they were given the freedom to choose whatever new tool they considered the best fit for the subjects they were teaching, be it in English, Mathematics, PE, or Drama.
“The children have developed their computational skills by using programs such as Microsoft Word and PDF editors to change how they would usually complete their worksheets in English, Mathematics, and Topic.” Ms Jennifer Stain, Year 4 Leader at YCIS Pudong
“For English learning, we adopted a variety of online resources to support our students based on their individual learning needs. One of the go-to platforms I’ve used extensively thus far has been ‘Padlet’, that allows us, as a class, to work collectively in real-time on various projects and tasks.” Mr Anthony Yu, Secondary English Teacher at YCIS Pudong
“Fitness Challenge students were able to create exercises that they would then lead for the rest of the year level cohort making them the fitness instructor for 1 minute.” Nathan Pearson, PE Teacher at YCIS Pudong
“Our production of ‘Alice the Musical’ had to be postponed, but I wanted to provide students with as much incentive as possible to continue to develop their creativity and performance skills in Drama. Luckily, many online resources became available, including a full virtual musical production kit. Students engaged in learning about script interpretation and used materials that they had at home to make improvised sets, props, costumes, and lighting. Parents and siblings helped create home videos of each scene, which are currently being collated into a hilarious account of what happens in the theatre department when ‘The Show Must Go On… line!’.” Ms Renae Livermore, Primary Music and Drama Teacher at YCIS Pudong
“Students rapidly improved their computer technology skills and extended their learning community into cyberspace.” Ms Lydia Xu, Upper Primary Chinese Studies Leader at YCIS Pudong
“All students who engaged in the e-Learning activities were able to use their creativity in response to each of the art assignments. They showed extra resourcefulness and were inspired to make art using only discarded materials.” Ms Anita Dai, Primary Art Teacher at YCIS Pudong
Just because most students have returned to school doesn’t mean that all this technological adaption and know-how is going away. Many of the tools and resources used during e-Learning will continue to be integrated into the school’s regular, in-class curriculum, as Ms Amita Patel, Director of Technology at YCIS Pudong, explained: “Teachers and students have started using technology more in their day-to-day teaching and learning. They are now seeing the power of innovation more than ever before, so many of these changes are bound to stay. Teachers are already thinking of how, going forward, they can use some of the platforms that they have adopted during e-Learning. This has changed the way classes operate, and we will continue to see these patterns in the years to come.”
This sentiment was echoed by Mr Aazar Munir, YCIS Pudong Business and Economics Teacher and EE Coordinator: “As teachers, we were able to learn how to use new apps like ‘Canva’ and ‘Zoom’ at the same time as the students. Moreover, as a class, we discovered a lot of hidden features in apps we already use, such as ‘OneNote’ and ‘Teams’. Even though we are now using blended learning, I find that we have managed to grow as a class regarding the appropriate use of technology, and it will, therefore, play a much bigger role moving forward.”
The e-Learning period has shown how YCIS Pudong teachers and students can take an unexpected and difficult situation and turn it on its head, making it a valuable opportunity to learn and upskill. Whether it’s live streams, webinars, meetings across campuses, online classes, in-class learning, or virtual tours, innovation is most certainly here to stay at YCIS Pudong, and everyone is looking forward to exploring more opportunities to further integrate technology into the school’s curriculum and daily practices.