Virtual Vision: Remote Learning at PVS
Pleasant View School administration and teachers have been diligently preparing a rigorous yet accessible online curriculum to educate students this year. Over the summer, teachers received extensive training to establish a smooth and user-friendly virtual learning environment. Principal of PVS, Dr. Mohammad Malley, said: “This summer, our staff undertook extensive training from some of the best online providers in the country and they learned the best pedagogies and strategies for online teaching.” In addition to providing these training opportunities for teachers, the school combined information for all classes, including zoom meetings, renweb links, and other academic tools for students into one page on Clever. This streamlined approach has proven to be beneficial for students, parents, and teachers.
In order to help students and parents navigate this new virtual interface, PVS has implemented a technical support desk on Clever. “We understand that trying to navigate all the online tools that we are now using can sometimes be confusing and can sometimes lead to technical problems – the support desk exists to solve these problems,” Dr. Malley said. The IT help desk displays several links that contain step by step explanations on how to resolve common issues with the system and provides the contact information of PVS’s IT team if any additional help is needed.
Although the adjustment to online learning can present some challenges, it also brings new opportunities for students to thrive and learn. Teachers now can implement many innovative teaching tools and techniques that they might have never used if not for remote learning. According to Dr. Malley, the administration has been contemplating the use of E-books and other online learning tools for years but has never found the opportune time to do so until now. These E-books offer many advantages, such as professional teaching exercises and tools enhancing students’ learning experiences. The school has also taken steps to accommodate students who may not be comfortable with online textbooks by offering students the option to pick up hard copies provided by the school.
One of the many advantages online learning has provided is giving our students more intensive, meaningful study of the Qur’an. Because of this format, PVS is able to improve students’ Qur’an memorization and reading by placing them in focused Qur’an sessions with our team of Qur’an teachers. These small sessions also allow for students to connect with the Qur’an on a personal level.
Another benefit of online learning is the increased availability and access to teachers. If a student needs help with a certain class, they can simply join their teacher’s one on one meeting Zoom Link during the designated office hours every day after school. According to junior Eman Yousuf, “The zoom office hours are extremely beneficial to students by providing a time slot where we can ask questions individually that we might not have time for in class. It provides a one-on-one experience that can clarify any misconceptions or questions that students might have. It has personally benefited me by allowing me to ask questions about classes like Physics and improves my understanding of the material.”
The lessons learned from the 4th semester of the 2019-2020 academic year and the extensive summer preparations have prepared the school to administer online schooling in a productive and efficient manner. Online school equips students with the knowledge and experience to adapt to an increasingly technology-centered world. The school’s utmost priority is to prepare students to excel in real-life, workplace environments, and through this remote learning process, PVS is empowering students to succeed. As Dr. Malley says, “Our goal during this period of remote learning shouldn’t be just to survive but to thrive.”