The freshman year or the 9th Grade is one of the most important years in a student’s life. It is when they start the learning that will power exam success in Grades 10 and 12 and set them up for success for life beyond school.
We spoke to virtual learning specialists, Suchismita Goswami, who explained to us what needs to happen in Grade 9 to make sure that students don’t fall behind, retain their love of learning and aren’t impacted in the long term because of physical school closures.
We have crafted a holistic approach to our online learning
Our regular programmes that helped Grade 9 CBSE students expand their learning beyond the academic curriculum are now done creatively online. From events like International Yoga day, World Music Day, Treasure Fest, Model UN to regular assemblies showcasing students’ talents, activity classes, and physical education classes are available every day.
Students are participating in various competitive exams and events to continue with the overall development and growth. Global competitions, national competitions, and competitions at Nord Anglia Global campus have helped motivate students and live our motto: Be Ambitious..
Students choose how they will show what they have learned
Our teachers are using this time to encourage students to think creatively and embrace their technological skills. It is not all essays at Oakridge! For example, students from CBSE Grade 9 have been demonstrating their understanding of a concept in a video, which they can upload on VidBox on OHM (Oakridge Homelearning Module), an interface developed for easy classroom interactions.
By providing hands-on activities, we challenge our grade 9 to learn from doing
The potential of experiential learning to engage students and deepen their learning throughout the curriculum is huge. So, we conduct simple experiments on the virtual platform, demonstrating an understanding of the subject through activities that can be easily performed with material available at home. Anyone who thinks online learning is about spending hours in front of the screen, would be impressed to see how our children switch from screen time to individual work time using a range of activities.
Asynchronous learning hours are designated specifically for student’s offscreen learning by assigning prior tasks to students that motivates them to learn through their experience, by performing an activity and thus producing the evidence at the OHM tool. They also learn how to manage time and set their daily schedule.
Students are joining virtual school experience from abroad
Virtual school experience comes with a global reach. It has been convenient for students who are new joiners to login from any location to attend classes. We have students from Grade 9 who have been attending the classes from the USA and nothing has deterred them from participating in the virtual classes and other virtual programmes. They have been actively taking part in assemblies and other events being conducted for the holistic development of the students.
We ensure to create a safe and supportive learning environment
Our students and teachers signing into the class only with their school official email ID for the cybersecurity. Any student’s absence requires advance notification for a smooth running of online classes and student’s themselves take responsibility for behavior, with one student chosen to lead this area and address any concerns with his peers: student leadership in action. Parents’ support has been a key factor for the overwhelming success of the Virtual School Experience Programme.
We keep motivating our students through reward systems
When our work is recognized as meaningful and valuable, it’s intrinsically motivating. Our Virtual Prize Day was conducted in June for the Grade 9 meaning that students get the recognition that keeps them fired up. The excellent scores secured by the students are appreciated at the virtual celebration in the presence of parents and teachers.
After all, it is a powerful way to motivate young learners to continue forward and inspire others. Academic Excellence Award is another part of our reward system, which will be conducted in October – virtually if the school closures go on.
We always prioritize teacher training and development for effective learning outcomes
Teachers have been trained and benefit from regular CPD (Continuous Professional Development) sessions to strengthen their online classes with digital tools at their disposal. Teachers have also taken a course on Cyber Security for safe online classes. The digital writing pads with a stylus is provided to each teacher to facilitate them to continue their regular teaching practice with whiteboard writing. Our ICT department is constantly available for technical support to provide immediate remote assistance to teachers in case of any technical difficulties. Thus, the entire Virtual School Experience is being conducted flawlessly without any gaps.
Just like students, teachers are motivated when their efforts are rewarded and we have a huge range of ways we do this, from recognition on the virtual platform through teacher appreciation certificates and gift cards for keeping their spirits flying high.
We have a backup plan for students who can’t make it to the scheduled online class
Students who miss a class can catch up by watching the videos from our Online video library. It. Not just that, but it’s also helpful for them for the revision of the subject before assessments and exams.
We evaluate student learning by conducting regular assessments
Performance and learning outcomes of students are assessed on a daily basis through short quizzes, presentations and debates. This process in virtual school experience has seen better results in Grade 9 as it’s allowing them space and time to explore and bring out their latent talent. Assessment for learning: Quizzes and flipped classes for students’ pre-assessment, to gauge their prior knowledge of the concept and test their previous learning.
Assessment of learning: Online Assessments can be completed on the OHM platform with a preset time. The pattern of assessment comprises both multiple choice and written answers, and take place once a week on a scheduled day and period. Scores are released to the students through OHM immediately after the teacher evaluates the assessment.
Bonus: Parents can see students’ progress from their comfort of home
Parents no longer have to travel to their child’s school after work and struggle at the traffic or the parking. Rather they can simply meet with teachers from the comfort of their own homes. Class teachers are constantly in touch with the parents to keep them updated on student’s status concerning his/her performance and involvement in class. Also special emphasis is being given on their online attendance. One on one PTSMs (Parent Teacher and Student Meetings) are being conducted to apprise the parents of the student’s progress and planning strategies to improvise and enhance their performance.
Commencement of the academic session also saw the successful implementation of the Virtual Parent Orientation Programme through webinars. It is to keep parents abreast of the plans and strategies that are implemented for the academic year and familiarize them with the curriculum laid down by the Central Board.
The desire to seek a quality education is central to most families. Therefore, we at Oakridge always continued to look at learning the treasure within.