A shift from traditional classroom settings to e-learning in Shanghai
All around the world, schools are temporarily being forced to shift from traditional classroom settings to e-learning. Due to its location in Shanghai, China, the Western International School of Shanghai (WISS) had to make the switch to online learning at the beginning of February. With students and staff in more than 20 countries around the world, using online platforms has been crucial to this IB school’s e-learning journey. Storypark is one platform that has been helpful for communication, reflection, and collaboration.
Grade 5 homeroom teacher Kyra Springer has used Storypark well before having to transfer to e-learning but has found new uses for it since starting the online model. “Before we began e-learning, I used Storypark to communicate weekly with my students’ families to show them what we’ve been doing in class. I also used it to share student work and reflections, as well as a communication tool with parents. It’s great that parents can comment on posts or send direct messages to teachers about their child’s learning. Since beginning e-learning, I’ve used Storypark daily to communicate with students and families. I’ve used it to give learning activities to students, including video lessons and instructions, as well as feedback on learning,” says Kyra.
Making learning more accessible to students
“Storypark can be used to give activities and instructions. It’s useful because you can post multimedia content to support students. In a typical post, I include written and video instructions, pictures, and PDF templates. Using a variety of materials and formats makes learning more accessible to students. Students can comment on posts when they have questions, and teachers can also give feedback by commenting on work that students submit on Storypark,” she adds.
One of the struggles of engaging in e-learning for such a long time can be the feelings of isolation working and studying from home can cause. Storypark allows teachers, students, and parents to upload videos. Videos are an excellent way for teachers to welcome students daily and to create a sense of community during this novel and unfamiliar situation. WISS teacher Linnea McCulley advises, “Kids (and parents) like to see you. You probably don’t relish making a video of yourself talking, but do it anyway and let the kids see you.”
Collaboration and communication
The Conversations feature on Storypark is a great way for students to collaborate and communicate. Many teachers have posted daily welcome videos with discussion questions of the day during this period of online learning. Students can then respond in the comments.
Students and parents have also found Storypark useful for keeping open communication during this time. “It’s an easy way for kids to get in touch with you and ask questions or seek clarifications on assignments. I have used comments on Storypark posts or the Conversations feature to keep the communication lines open,” says McCulley.
While this time has been challenging in many ways, e-learning also creates many opportunities for growth and development. “The skills we help kids develop in the classroom are still growing during the e-learning period, just in different ways. For example, self-management skills are really key! Students will have to learn to be more responsible and independent,” says McCulley.
For those just starting out on e-learning, we hope that sharing our experience with Storypark can help your school better utilize this learning platform during this unprecedented situation.
Inspiring minds to shape the future
The Western International School of Shanghai (WISS) is a leading international school in Shanghai and the first and only full continuum World IB School in Mainland China offering the four programmes of the International Baccalaureate (IB): the Primary Years Programme (IBPYP), the Middle Years Programme (IBMYP), the Diploma Programme (IBDP) and the Career-related Programme (IBCP). Educating young people from across the globe in a caring and inspirational environment since 2006, WISS strives to send compassionate, brave, ethically-minded global citizens into the world. As an IB World School, WISS is uniquely placed to promote new perspectives and broaden the minds of the children in our care; deepening their sense of understanding and wonder.