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How ISB has responded to the online learning challenge

Collage of images of a teacher running online learning

By Nick Yates, ISB Communications

At the International School of Beijing (ISB), we love having students on campus, interacting with each other and teachers live and in person in their learning. It’s what schools are all about. So, it’s undeniably disappointing that we and other Beijing schools have had to restrict access to our campuses and return to online learning for most grades as we partner with local authorities to control the spread of Covid-19.

Nevertheless, we’re ready to make learning remotely as good as it possibly can be! The ISB website’s Parent Education and Support section includes a series of new videos with experts and other resources from the school’s Office of Learning providing parents with guidance to support learners at home. Thanks to much hard work and contingency planning, teachers and their classes are settling into a routine for high-quality learning online.

With new cases of Covid-19 in China, local authorities instructed ISB and other Beijing schools late last Tuesday to restrict campus access with immediate effect. From last Thursday, students in Grades 1 through 12 at ISB returned to online learning.

ISB was among the first schools in the world to shift to online learning after the emergence of Covid-19, back in early 2020. That head start, together with the huge amount of work teachers have put in since, has meant we are ready to overcome the technical challenges that are inevitable with organizing remote learning for more than 1,000 homes. In this new normal, we have committed to prepare as much as possible, react when needed, and make the best of what is a challenging situation.

Upon receiving the directive to go back online, ISB had a detailed plan ready to implement for the transition. Wednesday was taken as a preparation day, for teachers and support staff to spend time together to adjust and for computers and materials to be distributed to students.

While the last round of online learning in early 2021 was well received by the ISB community, we are constantly working to do better. Whatever the circumstances, ISB is principled about updating our practices based on new educational standards and best-fit technology. In online learning, we will do the best we can with the platforms available to us and aim to be versatile to overcome technical issues and provide solutions that work for our entire community. Ever since this pandemic journey began, we have been surveying parents, students, and teachers about online learning and acting on their feedback to further improve. We will continue to do that.

ISB families, we miss those of you we can’t see in person. Teaching on campus will always win, but let’s make the best of the virtual classroom while we need to!

ISB is an extraordinary school, made so by a tradition of educational excellence spanning 40 years. Establishing, nurturing, and growing such an exceptional learning community has been and remains intentional; we work hard to build strong relationships so our learning is at its best.

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