By Mason McCormick
When Romania went into a state of emergency, on March 10th, schools were closed. As we developed our digital learning platform, now>press>play came to our rescue at Verita International School.
When we first heard at Verita about now>press>play, over a year ago, we insisted that they worked with us to allow their amazing technology to travel internationally. As a school that values imagination, we had to have it! Now imagination seems more important than ever.
In Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat states that
Our current reality feels a little bit like Wonderland, where things have been turned upside down for our students. With now>press>play our students were able to go to war with their current undesirable reality.
Students have been stuck at home with nowhere to go for for several weeks. By using now>press>play ‘At Home’ our students were able to use their imaginations to leave their living rooms in order to meet new people, discover places, and solve problems.
Our friends at now>press>play understood that even though the children could not go out and run, they could let their imaginations run wild. With nowhere to go physically, now>press>play lets children transform their living rooms into Victorian Britain, a Maya village, and outer space, to name a few.
Tilly and her amazing team at now>press >play created ‘At Home’ in response to school closures. This meant for the first time students in each of our year groups could listen to audio experiences from their own home that directly relates to our curriculum (we follow the IPC and now>press>play maps perfectly). Teachers then sent out the links and follow up materials for writing via our digital learning platform.
Students climbed trees, experienced new habitats, and even got to say goodbye to planet Earth in their own spaceships. One parent said it was “wonderful to see Ana playing and learning at the same time, giving her best at home, just like in school.“
While a lot of the home learning has been very different to the active style of inquiry-based learning that we do at Verita, using now>press>play At Home has helped with familiarity, and continuity of the type of learning we do at school.
Our teachers, as always, were thrilled with the quality of work that comes out of the audio experiences. They could tell from the writing and activities that were returned to them that students were engaged in the learning. Motivating students is one of the major challenges that our teachers are facing in this online environment. Through their now>press>play audio experiences, our student’s energy to learn, work, and achieve was evident, as they were interested, and enjoyed the content. Teachers play a vital role in the motivation and engagement of their students, without teachers being physically there, this tool was vital.
Thanks to now>press>play we are able to provide our community with an opportunity to escape our reality and provide our students (and parents), with active learning and active listening during this uncertain time.
Mason is the Primary School Principal at Verita International School. Originally from Ontario, Canada, Mason has spent over a decade teaching and leading learning in North America, Asia, Africa and Europe. Mason is a dedicated and student-focused educator. He is skilled at driving academic improvement, motivating top-performing teams, and leading schools through critical transitions.