Everybody is talking about e-learning or virtual school, but what does this mean at Beau Soleil?
Wikipedia describes virtual school as "education that uses one or more technologies to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and to support regular and substantive interaction between the students".
At Beau Soleil, this does not even come close to describing the experience that our students have been engaged in since Monday 16th March when our Virtual School began. It was quite a challenge for all our whole community to be up and running in a virtual world, just 3 days after the Swiss Government announced measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus. A huge thanks goes out particularly to our IT support team whose hard work means our students and staff can access our virtual school wherever they are in the world!
An education at Beau Soleil is somewhat different to other schools; our students come from more than 50 countries and they have all chosen our school as their second home.
Leaving your home, even if it is your second, can be stressful. Thankfully, our dedicated boarding house teams have risen to the challenge and have been continuing to support their boarders by staying in daily contact with them. There have also been virtual house meetings, individual chats and video calls that are keeping the Beau Soleil family together across the world.
With over 50 nationalities amongst our students, who are now in all parts of the world and accessing virtual school in their multiple time zones. Following their academic study, each lesson takes place live with a teacher in the virtual classroom and can be followed in real time, or a recording taken so that students can catch up when they are able. Whilst this is certainly a very new way of “going” to school, our students are fully engaged and comment on the quality and content of the lessons.
We reached out to our parents and students at the end of their first week of Virtual School to learn how the experience was for them and to find out how we can continue to improve the virtual experience.
The speed with which it was set up was impressive. Using common technologies is a great help. Some lessons are excellent. General communication from the school has been great in a tough time. Many lessons have great participation - kids have been running around the house doing things, which is great.
It has been great to see that whilst the Beau Soleil community may be spread across the world, the sense of family remains strong and we continue to enjoy sharing fun together. Already there are multiple challenges taking place with everyone enjoying the community spirit. It’s certainly a great way to get creative and have fun!
From juggling to baking, dancing, knot tying and a 360-degree table challenge are just some examples of the creative ideas of our students and staff and we look forward to many more, because at Beau Soleil, no matter where you are in the world: It’s what you do that counts!