Situated in Malaysia, Tenby Schools Penang, which is part of the Tenby Schools group, has been using EducationCity at the school to support their blended learning for one year. The school is primarily made up of local students but 33% of students are English as an additional language (EAL) students. The school is also part of the International Schools Partnership (ISP) group that are accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS), and they follow the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) which EducationCity has supported them with.
ICT at Tenby Schools Penang
We’ve been speaking to Head of International Primary, Henrietta Jameson, about their usage of edtech.
Henrietta mentioned that “their most recent CIS inspection identified the need to integrate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) into the classroom to encourage a more blended approach to learning.”
The school developed their plan and decided to remove their ICT suite and replace it with Chromebooks, which has made ICT much more accessible. They looked into a number of edtech products and concluded that EducationCity would be ideal to engage their learners, provide cross-curricular resources and provide end-of-term assessments, as well as support their blended learning strategy.
The school also knew that other schools within their group used EducationCity for their homework and in-class work so they knew it was a resource that would support them.
Implementing EdTech to Support Teaching & Learning
Based on this, the school chose EducationCity and has impressively used the product 32,000 times since March, which is when the school closures began.
As well as this, students at the school have responded well to EducationCity as when they learn with a computer, concepts can be further understood, also providing another way of learning and cementing their knowledge.
Also, the language barrier has been lifted by using computers and online resources such as EducationCity, as students have their individual scores which are available to them and only their teachers can see, so it has helped build confidence.
Speaking about implementing EducationCity, Henrietta says that “the Edmentum International team, and Natasha in particular, have been really supportive.
“A personalized implementation plan is created with each school and training of staff is available whenever we need it. We have even had the offer of training for our parents so that they can help their children.
“It was working brilliantly prior to lockdown and we had integrated it specifically into the teaching of maths, English and science. We were also finding units and content within EducationCity that link to, and support, the IPC. The content is really engaging and helps the learners to learn more effectively and the recent addition of unit/termly assessments into EducationCity has also been very important for the school.”
Henrietta also said:
“In an international school, we have many parents who don’t have English as their first language. They have struggled to support their child, but EducationCity has really helped them with this. It has been used for students who have English support and has really engaged them.”
Using EducationCity’s Assessments
Furthermore, Henrietta also comments that the assessments have been highly valuable. Before the school closures, the assessments on EducationCity were used but the school knew that there may be a dip in results because of the fact that they were going from a paper-based format to an online format.
However, as the assessments created an individual, personalized revision pathway for students, the usage of assessments has been highly beneficial, before and during the lockdown.
Henrietta says that, “our parents want to know their children are continuing to learn and making progress during lockdown.
“We have continued teaching new content so the assessments have been great evidence to show parents that progress is continuing to take place.”
The assessments within EducationCity are automatically marked which enables the teachers to focus on the analysis of the learning that has taken place, and Henrietta says, “we have used these to identify gaps in learning and amend our planning so that interventions are put in place. The automatic creation of personalized folders of intervention content based upon the results of the assessment has been really impactful and supportive for our teachers, learners and their parents.”
Creating an Academic Baseline in September & Measuring Any School Closure Learning Loss
To measure any learning loss, the assessments were used, and Henrietta says, “we continued teaching our learners new curriculum content and used the end of term 3 assessments from within EducationCity to measure the learning that had taken place.”
During the lockdown, Henrietta mentioned that they were completed remotely from home and as a result of this, Henrietta says:
“We know where the children are now and have provided each student with the personalized revision/intervention packs that EducationCity automatically generates.”
This September will be very different to any other September and like many schools, Tenby Schools Penang will be prioritizing student wellbeing, and this will be the most important aspect of the return to school. Additionally, however, they will, as Henrietta comments, “repeat the end of term 3 assessments from the previous academic year, at the start of September. This will help us measure the summer learning loss and enable the students’ new teachers to have up-to-date formative assessment data at the start of the term. They will then be able to identify interventions, personalize teaching and fill in the gaps in student knowledge and understanding, before engaging with the new content.”
Furthermore, the use of the online assessments in EducationCity is also helping the learners become familiar with online testing environments. This will help them become better prepared in terms of the functionality of online assessments, and this includes the International Schools’ Assessment (ISA) which are carried out by all ISP group schools in years 4 and 6, as part of the group’s overall assessment strategy.
During Distance Learning
Onto the school closures and EducationCity has become even more important during the distance learning phase. The school were in a great position because teachers and learners were already using it as part of their blended learning approach, and it has made a successful transition easier to achieve.
Henrietta says that “we have been teaching through Nearpod and Microsoft Teams and then using EducationCity as the support, activity and assessment solution. It provides students with instant feedback, and students have really responded well to the engaging, gamified material.” Also, the parents are equally impressed, as Henrietta says:
“Parents really like it because of the immediate feedback they receive which means they know what they can do to support their son/daughter with their learning.”
In the future, Tenby Schools Penang will continue to show other schools how their teaching and learning can be helped with EducationCity and will continue to work with the school’s ambassadors for EducationCity there, covering best practice. The school has a resource to help support their teachers in saving time and enhancing students’ growth, all while supporting parental engagement during homework hours and evidencing clear progress for parents to see and understand better. All of these aspects are a big part of the culture at Tenby Schools Penang. Fundamentally, learning and assessment has seen continuation with the use of EducationCity, and Edmentum will continue to support Tenby Schools Penang with their learning well into the future.