This is a back to school story, but where the classroom is located at home, and learning is done online (for the most part).
In an exclusive with Cody Claver, General Manager of iCademy Middle East, AMEinfo was privy to a lesson on why remote education is a favourite among many students.
When young learners are the architects of their classroom premises, attendance, and social environments, suddenly education takes on a charm that few students at brick and mortar institutions can claim.
Claver says “The ideal setting for kids to learn is a space where they can segment themselves off from the rest of their living environment…in place that says, ‘this is my classroom’.”
Areej, age 16 (10th Grade) have been studying online at home with iCademy Middle East for 3 years.
Areej says “Having a dedicated room for studying, which does not have any distractions helps us focus on our work. Having everything organized and easily accessible makes schoolwork less stressful.”
Also no more bullying, peer pressures and flu viruses from congested classrooms.
Welcome to Schooling at Home
In good company
Often, traditional brick and mortar classrooms are not adequately equipped to support certain learning or social challenges many students face.
iCademy provides a US-based online-applied fully accredited curriculum to youngsters attending KG through to Grade 12, with particular attention paid to students who may have struggled or have outgrown a mainstream education environment and helping them achieve their full potential.
On a typical day, students face 5-6 lessons, each 40-60 minutes long with built-in breaks. And while students are physically isolated from classmates, social activities are robustly integrated within the curriculum at iCademy.
“If you register in our school, you will not sit in isolation at all. Teachers do live sessions. They will bring up an online classroom, and get anywhere from 25- 50 kids, at any one time, engaged around the subject. It’s quite vibrant,” says Claver.
“We hired a community relations coordinator and her job is to connect the community throughout the GCC where at least twice a month, we try to connect families together.”
iCademy also provides teaching support, so that every student has a certified teacher online, while. Admins, councilors, and academic advisors provide more touch points for students.
Finally, iCademy has a hybrid model where it provides students access to a physical learning center at Dubai’s Knowledge Village, anywhere from 1-5 days a week, depending on how many times parents want their children to come.
“This center is a learning site where coaches serve as facilitators to student learning. So students still do their online work, with online teachers in the background and we have face to face support for students who may need it,” explains Claver.
“The curriculum is tailored to the individual. You may have a room of 35 or 40 kids and every kid is working on a different lesson. For every 10 students we have a learning coach who might doing some light tutoring making sure they are on track. And teachers online would still be doing their work.”
Maheen, age 14 (9th Grade) says: “knowing that you have more than one way of contacting your teacher makes us feel at ease and less stressed about any problems we come across in our schoolwork.”
Class starts any time students like
If you are schooling at home, you are not getting out of bed early to get ready to go to school, ride a bus, or iron your uniform.
If you are schooling at home, you would have a calendar of lessons, each day. Students would log into their accounts, and see all the fully digitized lessons.
“As a student, if you work better in the morning or in the evening, you can break it up any which way you want. Also, we have a lot of students who are athletes who want that flexibility in their education space to do school when it works for them and do the training around their school calendars,” says Claver.
iCademy employs anywhere between 50 -60 teachers.
“Our pricing, depending on grade levels, but typically the tuition costs anywhere between $5k o $7k for an entire school year, all included, with online curriculum, associated materials, teaching and admin services, and transcripting,” says Claver.
Preparing students for the future of work
Claver believes iCademy, to some degree, is transitioning students with content learning in line with new era of entrepreneurship and digital transformation.
“We first encourage our high school students to get into internships, and engage into community service work,” he says.
“The curriculum is also reflecting that, as we are developing elective courses in entrepreneurship, and business administration, providing early experiences in that field ahead of students’ post secondary education.”
Online learning is by itself many digital steps forward from traditional learning.
But Claver is skeptical of education based on social media influencers.
“Our teachers could employ social media tools to align with students’ interests but what we should be focusing on is helping students become creative and entrepreneurial and to think about real life problems and solving them. These may include climate change, or taking plastics out of oceans, and not necessarily how to make the most money.”
More about iCademy Middle East.
iCademy provides a bespoke, flexible and rigorous blended-learning approach to truly maximize the potential of their pupils. Learning can be undertaken at each child’s pace, meaning that children no longer slip under the radar. Other schools promise individualized learning: iCademy Middle East delivers it.
iCademy can benefit
- Gifted and talented and require timetable flexibility
- Advanced learners who outstretch their peers academically
- Those that may have learning difficulties, special educational needs or disabilities
- Children that have been excluded from school
- Individuals that suffer from social anxiety
- Children that have been bullied in a school setting
- Those requiring additional support
- Students that respond well to learning outside the traditional environment
- Those that move regularly and for whom bricks and mortar schools are not appropriate (military families for instance)
- Those that cannot get a place in a bricks and mortar school and/or are on waiting lists
- Those that are not being challenged enough at school
- Expat children living in the GCC without access to high-quality bricks and mortar schools
Get in touch with iCademy at https://icademymiddleeast.com