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Online Programs at ISB

Everything You Need to Know About ISB’s Virtual School

Innovation at International School Bangkok (ISB) means taking a new idea, method, or way of doing something and using it to solve a problem or meet a need. The COVID-19 pandemic and the coordination of Virtual School and now hybrid learning have certainly presented both problems to be solved and needs to be addressed. Innovation is constantly happening in classrooms and within our learning contexts. The best way to design student learning is to utilize an iterative process that moves students toward their learning potential. We encourage and support our students to innovate and provide opportunities for them to be problem finders and solution creators - be it online or in the classroom. 

We developed ISB Virtual School in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a contingency plan should the school need to be closed for an extended period. Our online programs operate within a framework providing guidelines that teachers, students, and parents can use when engaging within an online learning environment. Our incredible teachers build upon this framework, creating appropriate learning activities and collaborative interactions that best meet their students’ needs.

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Online Curriculum & Framework

Our curriculum for each subject area and grade level remains the same in ISB Virtual School as in-person learning, and we adhere to the same standards and benchmarks. Learning objectives are the same regardless of the platform; ISB's content standards and high expectations guide our online learning planning just as they do for face-to-face classroom learning.

At ISB, our curriculum is based on leading best practices and current research. We carefully select and use globally recognized standards to set goals with our students. Top international schools like ISB use these same or similar globally recognized standards. Our teams collaborate within ISB as well as with teams at other international schools which supports the consistency of the expectations for our learners today and beyond high school.  

Our standards connect with our Mission, Vision, Definition of Learning, Values, and Attributes, and they support our goal to equip our students well so that they can thrive in and contribute to this ever-changing world. In ISB Virtual School, this is all laid out within a framework providing guidelines for parents and teachers in our handbooks for High School, Middle School, and Elementary School.

Connecting Our Behaviors to ISBs Values_updated 11.08.21

Even before developing our online programs, we went through the process of prioritizing the content and skills to effectively assess the learning dispositions and behaviors that transfer. ISB’s learning standards contain expectations that are content and skill-based, as well as concept and understanding-based. They acknowledge that it’s not about just measuring what students know, but how they learn. 

Our teachers are designers of learning experiences, and they work with our Learning Design Center Team to ensure that what we want our students to understand and be able to do is thoughtfully aligned and meaningful. They collaborate to determine how best to facilitate student learning and provide choice in how students demonstrate that learning.

Similarities & Differences - Virtual & In-Person

While physically in school, we are always trying to develop and enhance our practices towards authentic, relevant, and social learning opportunities. We try to create “real-world” experiences for learning going beyond our classroom walls while giving our students voice, choice, and ownership of their learning - this continues and is even leveraged in an online learning environment. 

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Our teachers focus on creating opportunities for more independent student work, building relationships between peers as well as teachers, and empowering students to show what they know and what they can do. Our ISB Learner Attributes have organically percolated while learning online: adaptable, self-managing, creative, socially intelligent, value-driven, and globally-minded. All of this is targeted in ISB’s online programs. The customization of learning experiences and the time for one-on-one, small group support from teachers, counselors, and coaches in Virtual School allow for this authentic, relevant, and social learning. 

While our incredible facilities, unfortunately, cannot be replicated in a virtual learning environment, the content, relationships, and focus on developing and preparing our students for the future remain the primary goals - just in a different capacity. So while the schedule of the day (see our handbooks here) and the mediums we use might look different - the focus, values, and outcomes are the same. 

Online Tools

Virtual learning relies on technology, so ISB has invested not only in the necessary hardware for learning and our students to stay connected but also in the use of technology beyond Virtual School as a powerful tool for supporting and enhancing learning. 

We are fortunate to be a technology-rich school with the ability to provide a range of engaging resources, platforms, and experiences. Our students are used to utilizing resources in-person such as Google Classroom, SeeSaw, Zoom, YouTube, Google Meet, and PowerLearning regularly throughout their school day on campus. This creates a seamless transition to a virtual school environment. In addition to these collaborative resources, students access a wide variety of learning websites and applications.

During Virtual School, and in-person, every Middle School and High School student is issued a Macbook Air to use wherever they are in the world. Pre-K1 through Grade 2 students are issued with an iPad, while Grades 3 to 5 receive an iPad plus an external keyboard case and stylus. All staff are allocated a MacBook Air, with many supplementing this with an iPad.  The core online systems we are using to support Virtual School are Zoom, Google Classroom, Powerschool Learning, and Seesaw. We've also adopted many systems to enhance specialist content areas; some examples that we are using include Google Jamboard, Padlet, Flipgrid, Dreambox, Epic, EdPuzzle, Kahoot, Mote, and Labster. For a list of online platforms and tools used in each division see here.

ISB Facilities At Home

Our Gerritz Invention Center teachers have shown remarkable adaptability and creativity during Virtual School - meeting students where they are, supplying them with top-of-the-line technology, and engaging them with authentic projects and experiential learning. Here are some examples of how we adapted learning that would normally take place in our facilities to be just as impactful at home.

Last year design classes created detailed manufacturing drawings, which our Invention Center assistants then cut and organized materials for students to pick up. Once collected, students could assemble and build their creations. 

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lsat year_products to assemble

This year, design students worked on a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) project while learning from home - an especially relevant design topic during these times. Students created their own home workspaces with a collection of materials to design and create PPE from what they had on hand. After designing their own PPE, they interacted virtually with their class to give each other feedback to improve their design ideas.

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ppe sketch 2 (resized)

Recently, our Robotics team got busy sorting over 11,000 EV3 Lego pieces for our Middle School classes and nearly 27,000 VEX pieces for our High School classes. Once sorted, we packaged and delivered them to our students in the greater Bangkok area. Students had access to state-of-the-art robotics equipment from the Invention Center in their homes. Learning will progress with actual robots, and instruction will take place both virtually and in person now in our current Hybrid Model.

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Why ISB Online Programs? 

While there are many schools with online programs available, not all are equal. ISB rises above as a top international school in three ways. First, we do not “copy and paste” the hours and minutes of physical school into virtual school, but rather, we adapt the learning pathways to meet the needs of our students, teachers, and parents. Secondly, we have gone through the processes of prioritizing the content and skills to effectively assess the learning dispositions and behaviors that transfer in an online context. Lastly, the customization of learning experiences and the time for one-on-one, and small group support from teachers, counselors, and coaches that we’re able to offer our students is one of our top priorities. Our learning goals are the same as before virtual and hybrid learning - our content and skills have not changed. The way we engage with our learning goals and the way we access and experience them have been adapted accordingly.

Much like in-class learning, virtual learning is successful where there is a strong partnership between parents, teachers, and students. We are fortunate to have our ISB community of teachers, students, and parents who have come together to support one another both online, offline, and in between. ISB teachers create learning environments online that are organized, stimulating, and designed to move learning forward. They are in frequent contact with students and parents to provide feedback, support, and learning resources.

Jennifer Delashmutt, our Director of Curriculum and Professional Learning, is also an ISB parent. She said, “As a current parent, I can tell you the creativity, teacher feedback, peer collaborative small group sessions, one-on-one appointments and variety of accessible ways for her [child] to practice skills, show what she knows and can do and own her learning, is astounding....In the end, I have confidence in the goals, expectations, teachers, philosophy, and priorities of ISB...virtually, hybrid and in person.

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