Virtual Learning at DIS

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Virtual Learning at DIS

Through virtual learning we aim to recreate the wonder and curiosity that our students enjoy on our physical campus and extend it beyond the classroom.  Whether they are in Year 1 or Year 3, needing more focused attention from their parents or in the final year of the BECE/WASSCE/IGCSE program preparing for exams, this plan allows all students choice and voice in their learning.

For some, this is their first opportunity for independent remote learning with their teachers as guides. Working as partners with students and parents, our teachers and the entire DIS family pledge to support and motivate these students as they embrace new pedagogical techniques blended with more traditional education to have a more personalized and flexible learning experience.

Early Learning Center and Primary School

Our Approach

The Primary Years Program and DIS best practice is to have students deeply engaged in hands-on, inquiry-based practical learning connected to the real world and in collaboration with peers. Achieving this in a virtual learning environment is a whole new experience for teachers and students.

We also want to acknowledge the challenge that parents face supporting their primary school child’s virtual learning. We realize our early years and lower school students are not yet fully capable of learning solely on their own in a virtual environment, so parents need to think flexibly about how to support their children and how to create routines.  We understand that many families have more than one child and that parents may have work duties that will compete with their desires to help. The school provides flexible scheduling and activities, in order for families to tailor the experience as best suits them.

  • The school is working on providing devices that have the Zoom and Managebac apps already installed.

From our own experience since launching this process, we have found that regularity and routine support you and your children best in making this work. 

  • Parents can choose to keep to the regular class schedule or adjust to something that works better in their home.
  • Students should continue to work on a Monday-Friday schedule.
  • Waking up times, getting dressed and other morning routines should be followed to foster a sense of normality.
  • Short periods of class work should be followed by periods of snack, play or physical activity (preferably gross motor, outdoor).

The home learning environment will be different from the classroom, so teachers will be planning activities that are not necessarily the same as they would have done if school was in session, but with the same learning outcomes. Family and school partnerships should be maintained, much like it is in a brick and mortar setting, with regular opportunities for families to provide feedback and to connect with teachers as needed. 

What will virtual learning look like?

  • We aim to prevent students from spending too much time on a device. Many assignments are described in the virtual environment, but then worked on with paper and pencil or by manipulating real objects. 
  • Teachers may record themselves giving instructions or reading a book aloud (asynchronous learning).
  • Teachers may encourage or even facilitate small groups to work on projects together (synchronous learning).

Secondary School

Our Approach

Switching from a brick and mortar school campus to a virtual one can be challenging but it’s also a great opportunity for students to develop or extend their independent study skills.  Virtual learning gives students the flexibility to create their most effective learning space, the opportunity to hone their self-discipline and time management skills and it offers them the freedom to work at a pace that suits them.

An additional benefit of virtual learning is that it prepares students for university. In this environment, students learn to collaborate with peers online, manage their schedules, and give and receive meaningful feedback in formative and summative assessments. 

In our approach:

  • Learning materials are shared via Google Classroom, ManageBac & Zoom.
  • Learning activities are engaging, inquiry-based explorations.
  • Learning activities may be completed independently or collaboratively online, via chat, video conference or other tools.
  • Learning connects to current units being explored in the classroom. Feedback, assessment, and grades can be found on ManageBac and Google classroom.
  • Learning is personalized and flexible as students are encouraged to work at their own pace to complete tasks.

Students going on to the Middle Years Program (MYP) and IGCSE attend four classes daily with asynchronous work in the afternoon. Additional sessions include wellness blocks, advisory and office hours, during which students can take advantage of individual time with their teachers.

Support in a virtual learning environment is different than in an in-person setting. Parents need to create new structures and routines that will help their student be successful.  Monitoring may be necessary as some students will thrive with virtual learning, while others may need additional support and guidance.


School Counseling

For all students in Primary and Secondary schools, the counselors continue to provide virtual counseling services to support their social, emotional and academic needs. These services take the form of individual and small group sessions. School counselors will also provide crisis and responsive counseling services as needed.

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