MAY 2020

with Respect! Tech, BY KATE MARSDEN

Love it or hate it, technology is central to the lives of our kids and in shaping their world. Recent events have brought that fact even more sharply into focus. We’ve all learnt plenty of things lately, and one is what a positive impact tech can make when it’s used meaningfully. At Sir Manasseh Meyer International School (SMMIS), staff and students alike are showing the community exactly that. In our February issue, we profiled the school’s innovative use of technology in its STEAM initiative known as the Makerspace Programme. Now, in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, technology is being harnessed at SMMIS as a necessity for ongoing student learning. Collaborate & Listen Like many schools over the past month or more, SMMIS has had to quickly plan and implement a remote online teaching programme. What helped, according to the team, was the rapid professional development of staff in preparation for this move to online. It meant that as soon as the school’s students began learning from home, the staff were able to shift their focus to the task of educating, rather than concentrating on mastering the technology itself. “SMMIS’s strategic plan incorporated elements of digital transformation and ICT integration well before COVID-19,” says Emma Shulman, a Digital Innovation and Change Consultant for the school. “So, when the move was made to learning online, they didn’t need to scramble for a solution.” For Grade 4 and above, Microsoft Teams is the platform facilitating staff and student communication. Every base is covered: face-to-face synchronous learning, collaboration, the deployment of the curriculum, assessment and feedback. With the younger years (Grade 3 and below), SeeSaw continues to be the game-changer. Students and teachers are using it to collaborate, create and

go through the process of feedback and reflection in a way that that’s easily accessible. What’s even more wonderful is that it opens up the learning so that parents can see it, feel involved and support and encourage their children’s growth outside the classroom. A set of new responsibilities comes hand in hand with emerging tech. The safety of students online is always paramount, and the school says that it takes this very seriously. This means there is filtering on the Wi-Fi and safe-searching is always turned on at the network level. Furthermore, SMMIS students are taught about digital citizenship, with the topics of privacy, safety and netiquette constantly explored and reinforced by teachers in the classroom. Brave New World This response to the changes wrought by COVID-19 is presenting students with the opportunity to use technology to set themselves up for their world of work post-study. Their future workplaces, after all, will require them to have the ability to communicate effectively and collaborate using digital tools. They’ll also be required to evaluate and be critical of the deluge of information that they’ll be exposed to through digital sources. When technology is purposefully integrated into the curriculum, it increases student engagement. It also helps teachers to gather analytics needed to personalise learning for students. But, most importantly right now, technology is what is helping us fulfil that most basic need of humanity – connection. Sir Manasseh Meyer International school is located at 3 Jalan Ulu Sembawang. 6331 4633 |

97 MAY2020

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