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News > School News > Zooming in on remote learning

Zooming in on remote learning

Our Deputy Head of Senior School, Jacquie Hills, and Head of Drama, Bindya Chauhan, were interviewed by The Standard HK to give their views on the platform and how education has changed.
23 Nov 2021
Hong Kong SAR
School News

Remote learning has become a part of our "new normal", with Zoom being the main platform used by both teachers and students.

Recently, our Deputy Head of Senior School, Jacquie Hills, and Head of Drama, Bindya Chauhan, were interviewed by The Standard HK to give their views on the platform and how education has changed since the start of the pandemic.

A great article - you can read the full version below.

Zooming in on remote learning

Natasha Tai 23 Nov 2021

Zoom has become the new paradigm in education, supporting the continuity of learning. Students are more familiar with online learning than ever before - some even learning better under such circumstances.

In response to the Zoom boom, the company has started introducing more features for interactive learning.

Ricky Kapur, Zoom's head of Asia Pacific, noted that the implementation of a focus board has allowed for more interactive and efficient teaching.

"This came from feedback from education institutions and educators," he said. "We needed a way for instructors to see all the students' videos, but for the students to focus on the instructor or teacher."

The platform has also added other features for remote learning. "We brought up more options in the platform for polling, quizzing, for more interactivity but also for more real time feedback," he said.

Jacquie Hills, founding deputy head of senior school at Kellett School, acknowledges the difficulties that arose amid the pandemic. With many of their students stuck overseas and with no way to return to Hong Kong, Zoom had been essential for the school to operate.

"We had to really think how we were operating, and students had to rethink how they were learning," she said. "But Zoom was the glue that enabled us to operate in a consistent manner across all subjects."

In addition to reviews and assessments, teachers at Kellett are using the poll function or have students use Zoom reactions to indicate their understanding of the curriculum.

Even drama, which most would expect to be classroom-focused, benefited from Zoom. Kellett's head of drama Bindya Chauhan said platforms like Zoom have opened up the ability for classrooms to still exist, allowing her to work on more hands-on aspects such as physicality and movement. She said: "The gallery view gave us a lot of ideas. I can see all the students in their individual spaces."

Both teachers and students can also be innovative with Zoom's functions.

Break-out rooms were helpful for group work and aiding the collaborative aspect of Chauhan's drama classes.

Students who were required to take exams could use the space to produce, record and review their work.

"One of the most important things in the drama space is intervention and being able to see where the kids are at in the class. It's not something that you can pre-plan, it's organic and you move around the space very much so," said Chauhan.

"With break-out rooms, kids can call me into their room and I will move from room to room, checking in and understanding where we're at. And they're very comfortable calling me into their meeting room, asking questions."

Initially, it was difficult as the students needed to invite her into their rooms for help but now, they are used to doing it.

"It was a bit difficult because I was dependent on them requiring the help rather than me being able to see it," said Chauhan. But the continuity of online education throughout the months has led to a new set of expectations for learning behavior. By communicating with their teachers, parents and the school's pastoral team, students could cultivate better self-discipline and develop more initiative.

In fact, Zoom has made some aspects of school life easier.

One example is Kellett's student-learning conferences. Parents can easily take part in a more active role in their child's progress. Said Hills: "That has been great for families where one or both of the parents were working, and can join the call with their child. They don't have to come all the way to us physically."

To battle the increasing problem of "Zoom fatigue" - an unfortunate side-effect due to increased screen time, Kellett School has restructured its school day.

"We've condensed our lessons somewhat and the bulk of our academic teaching was done before lunch time so that students weren't in front of their screens all the time," Hills said.

Extracurricular activities and extra enrichment activities, along with surveys for students and parents, are conducted to support students. Kellett is also working with Geelong Grammar to implement positive education into the system.

"We have daily check-ins at the beginning and at the end of the school day," said Chauhan. "We want to feel like we are a community even if we're in lots of different spaces, that we're there for each other."

Still holding out for in-person learning? Don't hold your breath as Zoom is here to stay. We cannot simply wait for schools to officially reopen and the system cannot return to the old days, said Kapur.

Technology and education are not mutually exclusive, though, and Zoom can provide the innovation for better education, both in terms of software and hardware.

One example would be a proposed transcription and translation function.

Students who are unable to attend class can read the transcription, which can be translated into up to 12 languages, to ensure they don't fall behind.

Said Kapur: "We use the best of what we've learned in the virtual world, and the best of the physical world, and we adapt that."

Source : 

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