Harnessing EP and Microsoft Teams through COVID-19

Education Perfect (EP) was one of the first businesses in the world to respond to news that schools in China were disrupted or closing due to the fast spread of COVID-19. EP provides continuity against a backdrop of uncertainty. EP integrates with video and collaboration tools, like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Classroom, whilst our technology helps teachers manage remote learning and engage students without any interruption.   

“Be flexible and adaptable, persevere, try your best to provide for the students you care about and remember: it’s all about the teaching and learning” – Manktelow.

EP’s Head of Community, Tim Vaughan, interviewed Michael Manktelow, from Yew Chung International School (YCIS), to understand how YCIS has been impacted by COVID-19, the steps YCIS has taken to adjust and maintain high teaching standards and how they integrated with EP and Microsoft Teams. 

YCIS, in Beijing, supports 750+ students through a progressive bilingual curriculum and is considered one of the leading K-12 International Schools in China. Finding a solution was a priority to YCIS to continue delivering an academically rigorous curriculum. YICS needed one platform that could enrol their students and staff almost immediately, and onboard seamlessly. 

Over a 6 week period, YCIS students have spent a combined 830 hours online learning, covering 127,000 questions across 10 subject areas. Teachers have been utilising EP online learning alongside Microsoft Teams to deliver video lessons and provide students with a degree of continuity in an entirely remote environment.

Aligning technology with pedagogy 

EP provided YCIS staff with a powerful toolkit to minimise disruption across students’ learning, revision and assessment, providing an end-to-end solution for teachers. 

Accessibility was incredibly important, as there was a wide variety of ability and comfort levels amongst the YCIS staff when it came to ICT use. EP’s user-friendly interface and workflows minimized the barriers to adoption. As a result, teachers very quickly gained confidence in monitoring students’ engagement across tasks and assessments online, managing their learning in a personalised environment.

Figure 1. Tracking students learning online, EP allows you to monitor them working on tasks and assessments in real time.

Maintaining academic rigour

As a school that prides itself on academic rigour and achievement, YCIS knew that maintaining their high academic standards would be a challenge without face-to-face contact time. EP’s 35,000 curriculum-aligned lessons provided an extensive toolkit across both their IGCSE and IB programmes, ensuring standards were upheld. 

One aspect teachers found to be particularly effective was the automatic remediation offered to students, based on their areas of development and ‘next steps’ in their learning. 

YCIS Secondary Mathematics Teacher, Sharee Hebert, shared “Personalised recommendations based on assessments give students instant feedback on what they still need to work on.”

Using EP allows teachers to offer differentiated instruction at scale in a remote environment, meaning students can continue learning at their own pace, in their own time, and on the content most suited to their needs. 

Elevating the role of a teacher

Regardless of the preparedness of a school, the requirement to move teaching fully online proves a challenge for many. YCIS staff needed to adjust almost instantly to this new way of teaching and learning – and it’s providing some encouraging results. 

The weekly report and data is useful to track student progress and identify who might need additional support. This in turn allows for teachers to reach out to specific students and offer personalised support and advice. This is important, as we are not in the classroom and we can not gauge students’ verbal responses.” – Manktelow.

Figure 2. Report breaking down recommendations based on students’ strengths and weaknesses. 

Putting the teacher at the center of the technology is central to our philosophy. By providing real-time data and insights into students’ learning, teachers can provide timely and contextual support at both a class and individual level. Our authoring tools mean teachers are able to add links to video conferences or clips they’ve recorded of themselves covering certain topic areas into the lessons, ensuring a personal touch.

The platform’s self-marking capabilities, instant remediation and bank of high quality resources has also freed up teacher time, allowing them to spend more time supporting their students. 

Taking an integrated approach

Bridging the gap between the classroom and an entirely remote setting isn’t easy. YCIS’ uses Microsoft Teams as a video conferencing tool for teachers to continue delivering their lessons, alongside EP. 

EP links directly into a number of leading Learning Management Systems, creating a simple and streamlined workflow for schools. 

Figure 1.3. Deep links and integrations into Google Classroom and other major Learning Management Systems make EP a seamless experience. 

Where to start

YCIS is a great example of a school who has utilised technology to uphold an academically rigorous approach during COVID-19 disruptions. 

By using EP, their teachers have realised the power of data and insights to inform teaching practice and support students in driving positive learning outcomes. Indeed, the school closures caused by COVID-19 have in many ways forced a cultural shift in how many schools view the role of technology in the classroom. 

“Be flexible and adaptable, persevere, try your best to provide for the students you care about and remember: it’s all about the teaching and learning” – Manktelow. 

Education Perfect opened up access for schools globally during COVID-19 disruptions, through to 1 May, 2020. You can register for access or get more information here