Reflections on Technology at Branksome Hall Asia
By Terry McAdams, Director of Learning Technologies
Technology innovation has always been part of the Branksome Hall Asia culture but this year our innovation with technology was tested like never before. We were thrust into an online learning environment where we were required to make important decisions in a timely way. Never before had schools been required to switch from face-to-face lessons to online lessons with no notice. But I should start at the beginning.
The year started so smoothly and one of our main goals was to enhance our Grade 4 and Grade 5 science and technology signature programs that were developed in the previous academic year. The Grade 5 sustainable technology exhibition in January was brilliant and the girls demonstrated imagination in developing prototypes and showcasing their work.
It was also during January that Branksome Hall Asia was shortlisted for the International Schools Award for developing Future Thinking Innovators at the ISC Awards in London. I was invited to speak about our technology programs at the BETT Expo in London and Dr. Lock and I attended the awards ceremony. As you all know, we were selected from among 250 world-renowned schools and won the award.
Everything was perfect. We had won an award, built a new signature program with the potential to win next year’s award, completed our main goals, and then on Monday, February 24th we received the announcement that the students needed to be sent home. A second email followed that contained the following statement:
“Heads of Department are asked to meet with Terry McAdams in the Second Floor School Center Training Room for a morning session.”
The technology team spent that entire day (and, indeed, the rest of the month) training teachers and sharing best practices as we moved to online learning. Subsequently, the Maeil Business Newspaper, Korea’s top business newspaper, ran an article about our leadership in online learning. We also received global recognition with Study International, a leading publication on the international school industry, who published an interview about our innovative approaches. Perhaps most impressively, BETT Asia has published a series of articles about Branksome Hall Asia that provide guidance for other schools in the region. Rather than rest on our laurels, we want to keep improving and build a foundation for our students to solve the world’s problems using technology in innovative ways. We can't wait to take our programs to the next level!