Our students are growing up in a world of rapid change, where employer expectations are increasing with every graduating cohort. In fulfilment of our call to “prepare students in mind, body, and spirit to meet the challenges of the world around them,” LSESD’s Beirut Baptist School (BBS) has committed itself to a five-year plan to enrich classroom instruction and the overall school experience with an innovative e-learning program piloted for the first time last month.
The students of Grade 11S took part in trial sessions using tablet computers purchased by the school to study the future scope and development of e-learning across all cycles. As early adopters, the students enthusiastically and thoughtfully put the interactive curricula to the test in three classes: English, Math and Economics.
Hani is one student who was particularly positive about the direction the school is taking. As “a gamer and a coder” who benefits from BBS’ after-school advanced programming initiative (“Coding Hub”), Hani was eager and well positioned to assist teachers and support staff in familiarizing students with the Microsoft Office 365 platform throughout the day.
One exciting feature of the e-learning system that Hani highlighted was its capacity for remote learning: if a student is ill and cannot come to school, he or she would be able to follow the lessons from home, both in real-time, and through uploaded materials. Hani particularly appreciated the fact that revision would not rely too heavily on the quality of the student’s notetaking.
Another student, however, was more hesitant about the project, as she preferred to take notes by hand and believed that her generation already spends too much time “scrolling and swiping” on digital screens. Yet, Lara was also attracted to the idea of better connecting the classroom with home through the mobile-enabled platform. She hoped that the new educational technology would “help facilitate learning, but not dominate it.”
BBS is currently in a process of study and discernment that is very much in line with Lara’s reflections. As a Microsoft Showcase School, BBS has already trained 35 teachers to develop lesson plans using the new platform, and prepare for these teachers to help train others in the near future. The major challenges the school is now tackling are Lebanon’s internet and electricity infrastructure, as well as the added cost the project may incur for low-income families.
As a school where the Christian ethos of inclusion is our most valued asset, BBS is committed to providing the very best educational opportunities while ensuring that the pressures of progress leave no child behind.
Jad Baaklini | LSESD | March 2017