News from the IGS

Online school because of Corona Virus week 1
14 Feb 2020

School is closed but lessons continue

igs_online watch video

It is Sunday, 7:10 p.m. What was already circulating on the social networks was confirmed in an e-mail: In order to avoid the spread of the new Corona virus, the schools in HCMC would initially be closed for one week, according to the order of the Education and Training Authority.
Preventive measures for infection protection had been initiated during the Vietnamese New Year holidays: temperature measurement with infrared thermometers, hand disinfection before entering school, masks for pupils and teachers were among them.
Online school because of Corona Virus week 1
On Monday at 9:30 a.m. teachers met for a crisis meeting on the IGS campus. It quickly became clear that the lessons could take place online. In addition to a crisis team for organizational questions, the school management presented members of the Online Education Task Force at the meeting.
Online school because of Corona Virus week 1
The virtual classrooms already established in regular lessons were equipped by the teachers with self-made teaching videos, specialised instructions and tailor-made materials.Timetables were modified. The school’s EdTech representative conducted a short tutorial on using video conferencing.
Within one school day, the teachers switched their lesson plans to igs_online.
Online school because of Corona Virus week 1  Online school because of Corona Virus week 1
While from the 7th grade onwards the lessons largely followed the regular timetable, more extensive adjustments were necessary in grades 1-6. The ICT lessons take place at IGS only from class 3, which is why the online lessons in the lower grades had to be prepared differently in terms of method and relied heavily on the support of parents or siblings at home.
What does an online workplace look like at home? A quiet work place, a stable internet connection, notebooks or computers – no cell phone and a comfortable chair at the right height – those were the instructions given by the school to the families at home.
On Tuesday it was finally time! With a click on the first lesson in the online timetable, the secondary school students were taken to the virtual classroom of their class teacher. One student confessed that he could hardly sleep the night before with excitement.
Online school because of Corona Virus week 1 Online school because of Corona Virus week 1
While the pupils in the secondary school experienced the lessons in the form of conference calls, the elementary school pupils were given more tasks and explanatory videos that were created by the teachers and teaching assistants for the respective hours. It was now the responsibility of the parents to photograph and return the tasks they had completed. In class 2, communication took place directly via the Seesaw platform.
As on the school campus, secondary school students moved from classroom to classroom. The next classroom was a click away, so to speak. So there were no long walks. As usual, attendance and the content of the lessons was recorded in the electronic class register.
Online school because of Corona Virus week 1
A help desk was available in each classroom for technical support. Via the help desk, students and teachers were able to ask questions at any time of one of the school’s edTech managers. The technical support service was available for questions about the Internet connection or hardware challenges.
The feedback after the first day of online school was surprisingly positive. Some pupils, who were otherwise rather reserved in class, suddenly appeared active; some students who sometimes find it difficult to concentrate on working in regular classes were extremely focused in online classes.
Lucy writes: It is sad without friends. Karel says: Online classes were much more demanding than class at school. Bin thought it was great that you could sleep longer and order your favorite food. Some students wrote that it was a shame not to be able to talk as much and that there were fewer opportunities to move.
What didn’t work? Minh wrote: “The class couldn’t laugh and joke together that often because the teachers listened to everything.”
Online school because of Corona Virus week 1
Methodological challenges quickly became clear. Some teachers report that their students “clicked” them out of the classroom. The students’ microphones had to be turned off when entering the virtual classroom to avoid background noise.
Of course, typical language phrases from the classroom didn’t work online either. Who hasn’t done their homework? Several students answered “I” to this question. It was not possible to determine which of these students was online without the chat function.
That prompts the question: how do you raise your hand if you don’t understand something on an online classroom? The answer came quickly in the online lesson with 18 participants to give their answers.
Classrooms are usually protected spaces in which parents and strangers have no entry. In the online classroom, however, parents and siblings, and even pets, are ever present to disturb the learning process. Of course, the children’s bedroom at home is also a temptation to switch on comfortably from the bed or to focus more on the haircut than the teaching material.
Pupils started falling out in the second week. We learned from the feedback that the screen times sometimes caused headaches and eye pain, especially if the children still used their mobile phones after their online school day was over and spent additional time online.
With a tactical change of methodology, i.e. phasing in work periods without a screen and prescribing exercises in the virtual sports lessons, we attempted to make the lessons more balanced between screen time and time away from screens.
Online school because of Corona Virus week 1  

Finally it can be stated:

1. Without the competencies in using EdTech applications that are available to students and teachers from everyday school life, it would not have been possible to switch to online teaching in this form.

2. Online instruction requires a methodical approach that differs from traditional instruction.

3. Some students showed a greater concentration during online lessons and participated more actively in the classroom.

4. In classes with a larger number of students, it was more difficult to ensure suitable forms of online interaction.

4. Reliable technical requirements and immediate technical support are essential for the implementation of online teaching.

We thank the school community for the support given us during the crisis. Minh wrote to his teacher: “I miss my friends.” I can assure you that the exchange between teachers and children, and the daily bustle of life on campus was sorely missed during this time.

With this in mind, we look forward to starting school again in two weeks time. We will keep you informed. U6 parents are going to receive further information next week.

Stay healthy


Dirk Thormann