Online School - Eupheus International School Blended Model of Virtual Learning
When teaching moves onlineThe Algarve while having a relatively low number of Coronavirus infections, has been impacted by the restrictions in place to help prevent the virus spreading. In addition to all the other changes that Coronavirus has brought to our lives (who’s missing travel, sport, time with friends and family?) one of the biggest impacts has been on the lives of families with school age children and those involved in education.
Children have lost class time, they’ve lost out on vital social contact, time with their friends and the chance to just have fun in the playground. For parents and children, the last few months have been extremely challenging with the roles of parent and teacher crossing over and leaking across previously defined boundaries. Children have lost the dichotomy of school life and home life. Now it’s just life in the time of Coronavirus.
Eupheus International School is an Apple distinguished school and embraces 21st century technology to enhance learning. Never has that been more important than during the past few months. Delivering excellent education to 6 – 14 year olds, Eupheus has risen to the challenge of lockdown and school closures by implementing a blended model of virtual learning for all their students.
Moving education online isn’t as simple as sending homework by email or even holding class by Zoom. Interaction and communication, the back and forth of sharing knowledge, is so important to education and yet can be so difficult to achieve online. At Eupheus each student has his or her own Eupheus iPad and so can access all classes, resources and teaching aids they need. The school blends virtual classes and face to face teaching with using Class Dojo, an online space where students, teachers and parents can access all work and communicate directly with each other.
In the morning Eupheus students use their iPads to enter their virtual classes where they all work together with their teacher. It’s not just about the learning – being together, even virtually, gives the children a much needed sense of community and emotional support during a time when they may be feeling lonely. The small class size policy at Eupheus has really facilitated virtual learning. Afternoon classes – music, art, PE – are loaded to Class Dojo for the children to do. Eupheus head teacher Penelope Best says the music and PE classes via Zoom are very popular, with the parents joining in too on occasion. Class Dojo is where teachers, parents and children are in direct communication – they share photos, videos and ideas. It’s also where Ms. Best publishes the daily School Stories so that everyone in the school community is kept up to date on achievements, birthdays and school happenings.
While lockdown eases and the prospect of schools re-opening seems closers, it is probably true to say the past months of virtual learning have changed the way in which many children and their parents envisage school. Although not sharing a physical space, virtual learning has created a closer bond between the school and the families in its community. Parents have probably found a greater understanding of what a well-rounded education requires and an appreciation for the work teachers do to provide that. Teachers too have seen how communication, not only with their students, but with their families, really helps the children to flourish. And as for the students, they have adapted to the new blended model of learning wonderfully. But they’ll still be very happy when they can get back to action in Eupheus’s very well equipped sports hall or outside playground.
Eupehus International School is located just outside Loulé in Central Algarve and is now accepting admissions for September 2020.