Virtual School with Balance
As with schools all over the world, BIS was forced to make radical changes to its systems of instructional delivery as the COVID-19 pandemic caused global paralysis. The capacity of the BIS community to respond with a spirit of innovation was key to the rapid creation of the BIS Distance Learning Plan, heralded in the press as setting the standard for high quality virtual learning. Immediately after school gates had to be closed all over the country due to the pandemic, BIS opened as a virtual school, generating enthusiasm among students, parents and teachers alike. Newspapers such as the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" identified the BIS Distance Learning Plan as a benchmark.
With the tentative return to onsite schooling under the threat of further closures, BIS remains prepared for any eventuality. Key to the school’s preparedness are its advanced technological equipment and highly trained, digitally-savvy teachers. With a historic commitment to educational technology dating back to 2002, the BIS curriculum of 2020 features tailor-made offerings for each age group and a conscious balance between online and offline time. Exercise, sport and social exchange are emphasized to balance the use of technologies.
A day of lessons in the upper school consists of three 90 minute blocks - at 9:15 am, 11:00 am, and 1:30 pm. Rather than spending this time in front of the shared screen, students complete their tasks offline. The teacher remains available throughout. Google Classroom, Google Meet or Seesaw are used for this purpose. Face-to-face teacher-to-student and student-to-student communication has proven to be immensely important and valuable to the learning process. The balanced daily schedule gives the students structure, stability and normality.
"We faced this difficult situation by using our own innovative power and the experience of other international schools around the globe to start and permanently develop Distance Learning. This enables us to maintain the highest educational standards that BIS families expect from us and which we set for ourselves as a global benchmark," explains BIS Head of School Dr. Chrissie Sorenson.