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Partnering with Edmentum to Support Differentiation, Parental Engagement & Learners of ‘English as an Additional Language’ at the LEAMS Education Group

LEAMS Education brings along with it four decades of academic excellence and is a privately held group of K-12 schools and pre-KG nurseries based in Dubai, UAE, that provide best-in-class education. With a passion for searching for excellence, LEAMS Education came into existence in the UAE more than 40 years ago, and their journey would be best described by the analogy, “a little spark that transpired into a burning flame.”

The school group brings with it years of academic expertise. They state that “our purpose is to encourage students to reach outstanding goals in all areas of learning by providing a holistic educational experience. Teaching and learning light our hearts. We uncover opportunities, create ideas, and inspire students through unconventional thinking, calming activities, and real passion. We love what we do.”

Part of the school group, The Oxford School Dubai and The Apple International School, follow the British curriculum and AS and A Level education, while The Indian Academy, Dubai, is a Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) school.

The Indian Academy is consistently rated ‘Good’ by the Dubai School Inspection Bureau (DSIB) and has ‘Developed’ status by DSIB in their ‘Distance Learning Evaluation – Learning Benefits.’ The Apple International School is a school that has been rated as ‘Good’ by KHDA for four consecutive years since 2016, and The Oxford School Dubai holds accreditation from Cambridge International Examination and EDEXCEL.

Mr. Muhammed Munassir, IT and Data Assessments Manager, oversees how the schools use education technology at LEAMS Education and has commented on why Edmentum’s EducationCity’s resources and evidence-based assessments play a key role in helping the school group to improve students’ performance across the campuses. Mr. Munassir quotes: “EducationCity’s curriculum-mapped, high-quality content and evidence-based assessments in English, Maths, and Science, help our teachers to gain meaningful insights and time-saving learning tools.

“The powerful, easy-to-use education technology tool, EducationCity, includes Microsoft Office 365 single sign-on, which helps the students to seamlessly sign in and out of the tool. The resources help us engage our students with independent learning and are available to use any time and anywhere. It reinforces literacy-based learning objectives and keeps students engaged. It helps students with independent learning and understanding scientific concepts. It also supports what your students have learned during a practical experiment, so it brings science to life while improving student performance.

“EducationCity specializes in providing curriculum-mapped content for students aged 3-12, so especially during the distance learning period, that has helped us significantly. We review the usage every month and continually work closely with our experts from each school to see how we can maximize on all that EducationCity offers.”

The Challenge

To support the schools’ teaching and learning needs and cater to their differentiated learning requirements, parental engagement methods, and ‘English as an additional language’ students, each school within the group has been using EducationCity, a program part of the Edmentum portfolio, for three years.

Ms. Beenu Bobby, Head of Teaching and Learning at The Apple International School, conveyed that the school group required an inquiry-based learning resource to support with improving students’ progress. EducationCity was identified as an effective learning tool to cater to this requirement: “We chose EducationCity for mainly two reasons, we wanted a resource that was aligned with the curriculum and provided videos that were interactive to help the students grasp concepts in a better manner. Alternatively, we were looking for a resource that would provide home-based access for the students so that parents could also get actively involved in their child’s learning and support them adequately at their own pace. We have been using EducationCity for three years now and can proudly say it has met up to our expectations and progress.”

Using EducationCity to Support Teaching & Learning

Ms. Carla Baltazar, KS1 Learning Coach at The Oxford School, says that the school also chose EducationCity to support their teaching and learning. As Carla says, this was “because there was a variety of learning and assessment tools that were found to be useful and effective, not only for our teachers but for students and parents.”

Teachers at The Oxford School find that the planning tools are beneficial for their teaching and learning needs too: “EducationCity supports our teachers mainly in planning and in providing learning resources for our students. With EducationCity, teachers can save time finding resources as they can search for good quality materials on EducationCity that are linked with our curriculum and are appropriate for the level of our learners.”

Supporting Different Students’ Learning Levels

The school group found the resources within EducationCity ideal in supporting their differing student needs and learning levels.

Ms. Hazrabee Shaikh, Head of Section at The Indian Academy, says that

“Students, overall, enjoy the activities on EducationCity and love the timebound activities, particularly as they strive to achieve the targeted result or score in a particular time, fostering engagement. ‘Learn Screens’ are used particularly by more visual and audio learners who can use them at their own pace and take their time to understand a particular concept.”

Furthermore, Ms. Shaikh also says that EducationCity supports The Indian Academy’s gifted and talented students:  “We can provide these students with a ‘ThinkIt’ question to encourage their critical thinking or assign them tasks from a higher grade.”

On the other hand, to address learning gaps and support struggling students, Beenu states that “EducationCity provides teachers the opportunity to choose from the different variety of activities from various year levels, even if they are teaching a specific year. Once the teachers identify gaps in students’ learning, tasks such as ‘Learn Screens,’ interactive activities, and activity sheets are chosen to ensure that their learning gaps are filled before proceeding with the curriculum for the specific year.”

Additionally, to support low-attaining students at The Apple International School, differentiated tasks are given to them from EducationCity to meet their needs. Beenu says that “the ‘content search’ bar with the option to choose from the different year levels permits the teachers to find tasks which enable them to scaffold the learning for low attainers. The ‘Learn Screen’ activities are particularly useful for introducing and reinforcing topics for students. The interactive activities and activity sheets are also chosen to support the students based on their stage of learning.”

 

Supporting Parental Engagement

Each of the three schools found the program to be beneficial for their parental engagement initiatives. The Apple International School has found that being able to share resources on EducationCity with parents is highly effective in supporting students’ learning. Beenu says that

EducationCity has proven very helpful to parents as they find it is an easier way to support their children in their learning than being lost in the world wide web searching for relevant material to teach their children. The home access that is available 24/7 ensures that they can support their children at a time of their convenience.”

Furthermore, the school is able to share learning resources with parents from EducationCity such as ‘Learn Screens,’ ‘ThinkIts,’ and activity sheets to correctly guide and support their children. Teachers assign these as homework tasks in EducationCity. The school finds this method of engaging parents in their child’s learning journey to be a successful one.

Ms. Baltazar also comments on how EducationCity has supported parental engagement, particularly during the pandemic as parents and students can practice concepts together: “through EducationCity activities provided to students, parents can work with their kids and support their learning, especially during this pandemic. They can practice with their kids on a lesson taken in class and sometimes conduct an extended study of the lesson.”

At the Indian Academy, Ms. Shaikh says that “EducationCity is an independent learning platform that enables the child to do activities independently without parental monitoring and supervision.

“Parents also get to know and track the progress of their child. It is user-friendly for them to use, and they can easily see the classwork and homework and progress in each activity. The activities can also be done several times, so there is no need for the parent to follow up.”

Supporting ‘English as an Additional Language’ to Enable Learners’ Progress

EducationCity’s teaching and learning tools are used to support ‘English as an additional language’ students at all three schools.

Ms. Shaikh mentions how “being an Indian curriculum school, we only have students who do not speak English as their first language by birth. However, English is taught in school as a first language. So EducationCity is used as a tool by all teachers to build up students’ language skills, along with Maths and Science concepts.”

At The Indian Academy, the teachers find EducationCity’s English resources helpful for teachers to use in concept teaching. The reading comprehension and grammar topics are also age-appropriate and challenging. As EducationCity caters to different abilities, there are also different levels of concepts available, and the teacher can assess and monitor progress, which is a major positive.

Success

The Indian Academy, The Apple International School, and The Oxford School are all using EducationCity to support their needs to adapt learning to different students’ abilities, encourage parental engagement, and boost English learning.

Ms. Bobby mentions that

We are a multicultural school and have students from about 60 different nationalities. Fortunately, the EducationCity platform, with its variety of content types, can help the teachers to plan to meet the needs of the different groups of students. The animated ‘Learn Screen’ lessons are particularly engaging for the students and used either as a whole-class activity or an individual, differentiated task.”

Furthermore, Ms. Shaikh also comments on the engagement that EducationCity provides for their students: “The animation used in the ‘Learn Screen’ activities and online activities are child-friendly and keeps students on task. The follow-up to see how many students have completed the task and monitoring progress is easy. Assessment, which is an added feature, helps us with formative assessments in class and tracking progress.”

In the future, LEAMS Education has exciting plans. They are proud to confidently emphasize that through the successful guidance and support driven by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) and the continued recognition through their innovative approach to education, they are in the final stages to start a new ‘community school’ offering British curriculum in the neighborhood of Karama, Dubai.

Overall, Edmentum supports each school in helping them achieve their goals, particularly with providing teaching and learning to enhance the ‘whole child development.’ The online teaching, learning, and assessment program, EducationCity, enables the schools with learning alternatives that help align with their needs as a whole-group school community.