One of the world’s leading international schools, Garden International School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, caters to students from ages 3 to 18. The school has a widely diverse community made up of 2,000 students from over 60 nationalities, creating a mix of expatriates and locals, where around 50% of students are Malaysian. A well-established school set up in 1951, it has a primary section with around 800 students and bases its curriculum on British standards.
Garden International School’s mission, which is “to lay the foundation of lifelong success for our learners,” aligns in part with that of Edmentum’s, which focuses around “being educators’ most trusted partner in creating successful student outcomes everywhere learning occurs.”
Finding a Solution to Support Teachers’ Needs
Mr. Alex Turner, Digital Learning Leader, who manages how the school uses technology, has commented on why EducationCity is a good fit for them: “our planning is based on the national curriculum. We needed a digital resource to help the teachers with progress and attainment and supplement the learning that was taking place. That’s been the main impetus for choosing EducationCity.
“With the updates such as integrating it with Google and having single sign on, we have been using it more and more, and the fact that there is iPad integration is really important for us. Every student from years three to nine brings an iPad into school, so for us, EducationCity is the perfect fit.”
Using the Assessments, Data Reporting & Learning Tools for Progress & Attainment
To support progress and attainment, in year four, the assessments within EducationCity were deployed. Ms. Anna Goh, year four class teacher, comments on her class’s usage of EducationCity and its assessments:
“Year four has been using EducationCity because the children find it really engaging, and it motivates them to want to learn. I love the assessment feature. When students have done an assessment, it automatically sets them a Revision Journal to consolidate the areas that they need to. They’re the main reasons as to why we’ve used it more this year.”
Anna also comments on how the assessments help her overall with attainment and progress: “we’ve tried the formative and summative assessments, and we do them before a unit or after so we can respond to what the students know. We will continue with this because it self-marks, and students can immediately see what they got right and what they need to improve on. I love the tasks it sets them in their revision pathway, and the parents really love that too. We direct parents to the Revision Journals as they help with consolidation and fill in those gaps. They can see how beneficial that is, so they’ve been really positive about that aspect.”
In year four, Anna also uses the assessments for lower-attaining children in particular and looks at areas and topics they may be struggling with, after which, she sets follow-up tasks for students on EducationCity to fill the learning gaps discovered.
The data reporting that Anna receives from the assessments is significant as it gives Anna the information needed to help her students: “you can see immediately which children understand it, which children need intervention and because it’s so immediate, if you did it a different way, it would take a while to get the information yourself. Through the assessment data, we decide which children are going into different groups and what support they need at that moment.”
The school undertakes many progress tests such as CAT4 and is knowledgeable in analyzing data. Alex says that “having another data source through EducationCity is ideal.”
In terms of classroom use, Alex comments on how the school can use EducationCity in a blended learning format to support learning progress: “the staff know how to use it as a blended learning tool as well. They could set a Learn Screen, then do an experiment, do a task, and then do an assessment on EducationCity, so that is where it is very much embedded.”
The grouping tool within EducationCity is also used to support progress and attainment for different ability levels. Anna says that it helps her with personalizing learning:
“I like the fact you can set work for different groups. With this, you can really personalize it to each child’s individual needs, so they can have their own learning path and learning journey that they go on.”
Year three teacher, Ms. Zoe Harris, also uses EducationCity in her classroom, which supports her students with their attainment: “EducationCity is a great educational tool. The children can listen to the content and engage with it. To help with learning, the children can actually then say exactly what’s happened afterward, so that’s benefitted our students.”
How Garden International School Have Used Online Learning Programs for Distance Learning
Garden International School has found using EducationCity throughout the distance learning period for supporting progress and attainment highly beneficial. Anna says that “we have used the assessments more through the lockdown. It’s supported learning from home and continuous learning.”
Year three teacher, Zoe, has noted her increased usage of EducationCity since the migration to distance learning: “we’ve really started using it this year, more so than we did last year. As we have spent a lot of time online and we knew that there was the possibility of going back into a lockdown in Malaysia, it was great just to make sure that the kids were able to use it.”
A lesson on “rocks” was also set recently for year three by Zoe, during which children tested the properties of rocks. A few students were unable to retrieve the materials needed for the experiment that was going to be conducted over Zoom. Zoe was able to use a Learn Screen on EducationCity to support their progress and attainment and to still deliver this experiment for the students.
Commenting on the lesson, Zoe says that,
“Some students were able to do the experiment with the resources, but for others, I set a Learn Screen, and they were able to watch the characters who talked to each other, and it was exactly how we would speak to the class in real life. So the characters talked about their senses and watched the experiment, and it was a great way to engage them. They’re not just being told about the rocks, but they’re watching something. I also do think the children would be able to repeat it by themselves in school as they’ve watched someone else do it.”
In terms of parental engagement during the distance learning period, the school has found that EducationCity has also been very useful in supporting parents and home learning. Zoe says that “for the parents that I’ve spoken to, they say EducationCity is so easy for the children to access themselves and get the feedback they need, so it does take that pressure off the parents a little bit as they don’t have to be there all the time. Parents and students can also access scores themselves, which means they can see progress easily.”
Noticing this benefit too, Alex also says that, “EducationCity is easy and accessible for parents to use. It’s perfect in a distance learning situation because we’re not having that many emails from parents and complaints saying how to do this and this, so it’s been very beneficial to use.”
Supporting EAL Students with Learning
As the school has a large EAL student population, EducationCity has also improved this group of students’ progress and attainment. Ms. Rachel Jones, a year three teacher, says that “we have realized just how accessible EducationCity is and how good it is for our EAL learners. If you want to look at how to explain a concept better, you can search for it and find a Learn Screen or Activity, so it’s easy to use for us and the students. For EAL learners, it’s also very clear, and students can rewatch the Learn Screens and consolidate their learning.”
The learning resources on EducationCity have also given EAL students a lot more independence in their learning. Zoe says that “I’d say that because we do have a lot of EAL learners, it can give a bit of independence for those children without them having to rely on the teacher. That’s a real immediate impact that you can see straight away. It’s nice for them to take a bit of ownership and be able to access those Learn Screens to help them then complete the activity, and that’s something I’ve really noticed this year.”
Success with Using EducationCity at Garden International School
Garden International School has seen a lot of success from using EducationCity in supporting the school with learning and teaching delivery. Commenting on the ease of use of EducationCity, which has been a primary benefit for the school, Zoe says that, “it is so easy to use, and I think that’s the thing that’s been most attractive about it. It’s just so accessible for people like me who find it really difficult to use iPads and get a little bit scared when something comes along. It’s easy to navigate on your own without having to ask people. It’s easy for the children as well.”
Anna also comments on this: “Anyone could pick EducationCity up and use it, and so it’s user-friendly to all teachers, whether they’re confident with ICT or not. You can set learning for your children easily.”
The school also noted that EducationCity has helped with building student confidence, and in turn, progression and attainment. Anna comments on this:
“We’ve noticed that it’s really developed the children’s confidence because they have that immediate feedback so they can feel that success and they develop that high success rate. It helps to develop their engagement and their progression and attainment. Whenever we set EducationCity in year four, it has that buzz, and the students are excited to learn.”
Lastly, Alex commented on the positive impact teachers have experienced through the support received from Edmentum, which has been a welcomed addition: “Edmentum, as a company, is really proactive in getting in touch with us. Hannah has been really helpful in setting up the account, so I would tell any school to get in touch with Edmentum first because they’ve been great in driving usage forward. Other companies sometimes aren’t like that, but they have been really good at pushing that, and we appreciate that.”
Garden International School and EducationCity will continue to work together to support the school’s goals and its progression and attainment. They will also closely monitor the ongoing situation and ensure their distance learning needs are well met to enrich and support each and every student’s potential.