Concordia International School Hanoi middle schoolers have kept learning at home and kept in touch online utilizing the Zoom online learning platform. Students and teachers are enjoying this new opportunity and challenge, and students are learning life skills such as time management, organization, collaboration, and cooperation.
“There’s no doubt that online learning is different, but it’s interesting at the same time. I find myself in unique situations often, and even though staying at home all day can be boring at times, I am still able to talk with my friends during class and by texting,” said Thao (G7).
“I found that online learning was a valuable experience,” said Chris (G7). Because we were not able to communicate with our teachers face-to-face, I’ve begun to communicate more with my teachers and classmates online when I need help, which I think would be very important in the future. I've kept in touch with my classmates through Gmail to work on group projects and to help each other when needed.”
"It's great to see my friends and teachers online despite not going to school,” said Madeline (G8). "I enjoy doing online school because it allows for a flexible schedule, and I have kept in touch with my friends through texting and facetiming."
The Zoom platform, which Concordia teachers are utilizing for grades Preschool through 12, allows students to see each other online. In just one week (March 9-13), Concordia held 58 Zoom meetings, totaling over 40 thousand meeting minutes and averaging at 11 hours of face-to-face interaction with teachers and classmates. Teachers use a variety of Zoom tools such as breakout rooms, where students split into private small groups for discussions and various assessment experiences. The teachers strive to ensure each and every student is learning and has a positive experience as the COVID-19 situation shifts education from campus to home. Zoom is only one of the tools Concordia Hanoi is using to provide a synchronous learning environment from a distance.
“Over the past seven weeks, I've rediscovered myself as a teacher,” said Dr. Mills. “This experience has reinforced the appreciation and respect I have for my students a million times over. Day after day, their precious faces show up for online class, their work is done or they communicate about needing extra help or time, they support each other with wake-up messages, they've adjusted to a completely new learning environment ... and they are ready to do it again each week.”
“It takes an insane amount of maturity and humor to embrace this massive interruption to school and life, and I am beyond thankful for the students I get to teach. They see the humor in our situation, the light at the end of this tunnel, and support me as much as I support them,” Dr. Mills added.
“Our teachers have been enormously positive,” said middle school Principal Stephen Conroy. “They’ve worked above and beyond to develop their online teaching skills and to understand what helps students to learn best in this format. A big part of what we are doing is to take class time to talk with students and make sure they’re doing well. It’s hard for them to be away from their friends like this.”
“Our students also deserve a lot of credit,” said Mr. Conroy. “The skills they have developed are skills that will be valuable for the rest of their lives. They have grown significantly from this challenge.”
Mr. Conroy also noted that he tries to “balance a student’s workload with the amount of time they spend in front of a screen each day.”
“We will continue to send learning supplies home,” Mr. Conroy added. “We will also explore the possibility of whether students will be able to submit project-based work that may not be on a computer back to our school through the mail or courier. I am open to any solution or strategy to help our students learn and grow!”
- Home Learning