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The Virtual School Experience: How we prepare our students for the future that does not yet exist

Stephanie Miller
Stephanie Miller (2 posts) Deputy Head of Secondary View Profile

The global pandemic has impacted every inch of society and will forever remain a period that brought about significant challenges for us all. From a global educational perspective, it has challenged our delivery of lessons, our examinations procedures, our physical attendance, and the connections that are formed between all community members within a school environment.

What if that word ‘challenged’ was seen as an opportunity for growth and reflection, instead of the negative connotations we sometimes associate with this word? Has this period provided us with a catalyst to spring forward into the future, at perhaps a slightly faster pace? Have Virtual School Experiences challenged us to be more agile and enabled us to provide more flexible learning opportunities? Yes, they have; for now, and for the future. It’s important that we continue to think about how to evolve education and combine it with the learning opportunities available to us through Nord Anglia Education, to provide the best possible educational provision for our students.   

If there is one key thing that motivates us as educators, it is to ensure that we are preparing students for their future as well as the next stage of their journey, whether that be IGCSE, IBDP or university. We are conscious that the future might, at times, feel uncertain, but we should be using this as an opportunity to harness the skills we have developed over this recent period of uncertainty, to help prepare us for this future. Making technology the centrepiece of our Virtual School enables students to develop skills they may not have previously been afforded.

Virtual Learning emphasises our responsibilities and time-management skills as students, and especially in a world where technology is becoming more advanced, virtual learning can prepare us for the digital skills required in the future. Phuong Anh, Year 13

Dr Tony Wagner, Harvard University cements this point, stating that in today’s digital age students are accustomed to ‘instant gratification and use of web for socialising, self-directed learning and are constantly connected creating in a multimedia world, everywhere except in schools. Our virtual provision enables us to support this style of working. The efficiency of the technological platforms that we are using at BIS Hanoi enables teachers to provide ‘instant feedback’ to students via written form, voice and video recordings which can be replayed many times, or even automatically. Providing teachers and students with clear feedback about any gaps in their knowledge. This system supersedes the written feedback parents and teachers are familiar with seeing in paper workbooks. Now, students can be digitally assigned activities to their personalised notebooks, which are unique to the knowledge deficit they may have and that may look different for each student in the class.   

Virtual Learning Experience Blog | BIS Hanoi

This learning, feedback, and reflection cycle can now be fast-paced, so that teachers can gather a forensic amount of detail about the knowledge and recall capabilities of your child, making our educational offering even more personalised and higher quality. Our Virtual School provision supports our mission by providing an infrastructure that focuses on cognitive ability, personalised learning and developing skills for jobs of the future. With an emphasis on social and emotional learning, we leverage technology to create a more flexible and tailored approach for every child.  

Virtual Learning Blog BIS Hanoi

But how do we know that this model works? How can we be certain it is both preparing students for the future and equipping them with the immediate skills that they need for success? The answer is to turn to our IBDP outcomes which show an increasing value-added score for students, given their starting points, over our last three years. This was a year group impacted most greatly, to date, by the pandemic. They spent significant time both in the first year of their programme and the second, in virtual school. These students went on to obtain our highest set of IBDP results this summer, achieving an average of 38.2 points with students going off to study at world-class universities such as University of Hong Kong, University of Amsterdam, New York University and King's College London.

  • Virtual Graduation 2021 BIS Hanoi
  • Virtual Graduation 2021 BIS Hanoi

Where does this leave parents and how do you support your child through an education system, which looks so very different to the one that you know? Parents who are engaged with students in learning outcomes at home can help not only their child’s academic achievement, but also their personal development and wellbeing​. Here is some more useful information from Mr Twemlow with some key tips with supporting your child at home. 

Students Virtual Learning BIS Hanoi

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