Amidst COVID-19’s Spread, Hope For Education Innovation Glimmers In Vietnam

Amidst COVID-19’s Spread, Hope For Education Innovation Glimmers In Vietnam

With COVID-19 spreading across the globe, I’ve watched the impact on Korea and Vietnam with some measure of connection and concern.

As the countries to which I journeyed on my Eisenhower Fellowship in 2014 and studied their education systems in some depth, the manner in which the disease’s spread has shut down their schools has struck me on two levels: worry about the health of the communities and hope for innovation.

It’s with an eye on the opportunity for innovation—improving an educational system that needs an overhaul—that I’ve paid close attention to the response of Everest Education, an after-school tutoring organization I got to know while in Vietnam and whose board I joined after my return to the United States.

Schools and after-school programs were shut down in the beginning of February in Vietnam. With no opportunity to learn in traditional classrooms, students became nonconsumers of education—literally unable to access formal education—overnight.

As students of disruptive innovation—the process that transforms complicated, expensive and inconvenient services into ones that are far more affordable, convenient, and accessible—know, disruption typically takes root in areas of nonconsumption. There the new service has a marked advantage, as its competition is nothing at all.

That describes the unintended opportunity in which Everest Education found itself, as after-school programs have remain shuttered and students have had no options to continue their studies.

One Everest student, Nguyen Viet Khanh Linh, who is studying for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)—the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education—said she was worried she wouldn’t be able to stay on track for her test in May. Currently pursuing an Advance Diploma in Multimedia at Arena Multimedia Education Center in Hanoi, Linh’s plan is to transfer to an exchange program in Korea, Singapore or Europe to complete a bachelor degree after earning the 30-month program diploma.

“I’m not sure which exchange programs I will join eventually, but almost all of them ask for IELTS as a prerequisite,” Linh said. “I’m trying to get it done in my first year before the arts workload gets heavier. I [was] afraid I [wouldn’t] be able to study for IELTS and work on my portfolio at the same time.”

Everest had fortunately been developing an online-learning solution for some time. After experimenting with a range of products, Everest had settled on a platform that facilitated a live online class that, much as Minerva does in its active learning platform, takes advantage of the learning science around active learning to create an experience in which students are interacting with each other and the teacher in real time and taking part in learning games.

As Don Le, CEO and co-founder of Everest, shared, “Most online learning involves watching videos or listening to lectures, and students get bored easily. With our live online classes, students… feel a social bond. The experience feels really natural and fun.”

At the onset of the crisis, Everest swung into action and took its research and development into overdrive, as it deployed its online-learning experience across all of its classes to support all of its grade 1–12 students. An astounding 98% of its students successfully transitioned to its online-learning solution.

From there, Everest began focusing on serving the now-vast market of after-school nonconsumers in Vietnam. To date, it has amassed more than 1,000 online registrations and is scaling up to open as many classes as possible to meet the pent-up demand.

And here’s the opportunity—to help take a system built on rote memorization and turn it into a student-centered learning experience that is marked by active learning far more in line with the research around how students best learn.

“In some ways, it’s even better than a physical classroom,” Tony Ngo, Everest Education’s Chairman and co-founder said. “Online learning is a great solution while students are out of the classroom, and in the long run, it will become a critical tool in how students learn.”

I’ve noted before that disaster preparedness—and, it follows tragically, outright disasters—represent opportunities to innovate. Put another way, “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”

Amidst the challenges that COVID-19 brings, I hope we see education innovations that don’t just take subpar brick-and-mortar experiences and move them online where they will be even worse, but instead transcend the traditional lecture model to leverage technology and fundamentally transform the learning experience into one in which all students have a much greater likelihood of success.

In a country in Vietnam in which innovating in education is challenging, my hope is that Everest begins to blaze a new trail for the nation’s students.

 

4 key questions to ask to choose a good online course for your child

4 key questions to ask to choose a good online course for your child

In an attempt to slow the spread of Coronavirus, many schools and educational organizations across the world have been shifting into virtual classrooms.  In the time of virus crisis, learning has turned out to be more online driven. In lieu of letting children attend class in person, many parents are seeking out online resources, websites and apps to keep their kids’ minds engaged at home.  More schools and companies are investing in providing distance learning opportunities.  

Since online classrooms seem to be the only solution now to keep your child learning while minimizing contagion, you are maybe considering seeking a suitable online course for your child. However, with many marketing tactics at play and unaccredited programs on the market, it’s important for parents to do your research and gain a strong understanding of the specific program you’re signing up for your kids.  In this article, we provide you with some helpful factors that you should take into consideration when choosing an online course for your kids.

Good Online Course Options & Offerings

The best online courses mirror the quality of the in-person classroom experience.  They do so by utilizing technologies to create accessible and engaging environments.  Engaging students in online learning is key, especially when face-to-face interactions, both between students and teachers, and among students and their peers, do not occur. 

Some initial best practices being implemented include interactive measures to encourage online student engagement, effective use of technology to make for easily accessible and well-produced materials, opportunities for mentoring, peer collaboration and more.

Here are some questions to explore when selecting a good online course for your kids:

1. How is the course designed?

The e-learning development process should be ongoing.  Good online courses will continue to find unique ways to keep online students engaged with out-of-the-box thinking.  Many online courses lack multimedia elements or provide the same format each week, which can make for a boring experience.  You should look for courses that have invested in e-learning innovation and are utilizing multiple formats for interaction, including multimedia elements to create an engaging learning experience for your child.

Technology can make or break online student engagement experiences. When participating online, the quality of the video, audio, graphics and design are key to student retention.  Before enrolling an online class for your kids, you should ask to let your child experience the demo lesson to get a gauge of the quality of technology being used or the interface?

Is the website and are course materials accessible to those with varying learning needs? If your child misses a live lecture for example, is there any way for her to review the missed materials and assigned homeworks?  If she encounters technical issues during the class, is there any you way to ensure there are tools to help her receive immediate support?

On the flip side, some courses utilize complex technologies, which complicate the online learning process.  Making students download many apps and plug-ins can have the opposite effect. Students can get frustrated when technologies don’t work properly and spend too much time troubleshooting issues and not enough time actually learning.  Instead, look for courses which use reliable technologies that are universally supported by different browsers and devices. Your child should be fully aware of how to access resources on the provided platform.

2. How big is the class?

It’s helpful to consider factors such as class size and completion rate.  The more students a teacher is responsible for, the harder it is to teach.  This statistic can help you gauge how strong a course is and how much time the teacher is able to allocate toward students to ensure their success.

Is the course attracting a lot of students?  What is the student to teacher ratio? It’s important to know how much attention your child can receive from the teacher.  Many online course instructors offer online office hours, which can prove helpful when things are not made clear, especially when your child takes up online courses that provide recorded lessons, which don’t allow for live assistance and Q&A. 

3. Is there an opportunity for peer interaction?

When evaluating online courses, an important question to ask is whether the course was specifically designed for online use.  A well-designed learning environment can make the difference between an enjoyable and frustrating online course. The student’s online experience should be intuitive, interactive and engaging, so look for evidence of this when you’re selecting a course.  Does it use a cutting edge platform with interactive content? Are group projects part of the course? Online programs can often feel isolating and group assignments can foster a sense of community and camaraderie. Kids can learn a great deal from working with their friends and benefit from the opportunity to collaborate with them. Studying for exams with peers, even virtually, can also be a helpful tactic to ensure your child is prepared to complete the course successfully.  There are some online classrooms that are easy to use and navigate, even if your child is not a computer expert. Modern virtual classroom technologies allow your child to interact with her teacher and classmates intuitively and provide a personal feel to the online environment.

4. How qualified are the teachers?

This is not only about teacher’s certifications, years of experience, but also their ability to inspire and interact with their students.  One could argue that having an engaging instructor is even more important when face-to-face interactions are lacking.

Teaching is an interactive process.  Teacher-directed instruction plays an important role, especially in online classes. A teacher’s guidance will be even more important to facilitate the whole class and keep everyone engaged.  A good teacher will have many instructional approaches for learning the same material, hands-on learning, immediate feedback on errors, and other methods that may benefit students with learning difficulties.  Here are some suggested questions to ask about teacher qualifications and teaching approach: What are the teachers’ credentials? Are they highly qualified to teach their academic subjects? How much of the instruction will be teacher-directed?  How much and what kind of contact will a student have with the teacher? How quickly will the teacher get back to my child if he has questions or gets stuck on an assignment? How will my child’s learning be evaluated? Will the evaluation include mastery in real-world applications?

When you hear the terms “online learning,” “distance learning,” or “virtual classroom,” you might imagine a student working alone at a computer on an old-style, self-directed correspondence course, with minimal instructor contact. But, in fact, today’s more sophisticated online schools may offer students such features as “real time” classroom discussion with the teacher and other students, regularly scheduled, assignments based in the real world and the chance to join group projects. To find out if a program is a good match for your child, both academic and technical, research thoroughly, try to ask these key questions, consult reviews from other families, and let your child experience the demo class if possible.

Reference:
https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/online-classes-middle-and-high-school/
https://verbit.ai/choose-good-online-course

5 reasons why you should join Everest Online

5 reasons why you should join Everest Online

The coronavirus outbreak has hampered our children’ s opportunities to study for quite a long time.  We understand that this is causing problems for many students to maintain their daily learning routines, to continue studying, and to gain more knowledge during this outbreak.  As Vietnamese governments delay the reopening of schools to limit the spread of the new virus, parents are forced to search for alternatives to keep their child learning. And here comes a chance for e-learning to come in thick and fast!

However, even though there are a few platforms and tools appearing in the market to enable students to learn online, it’s still hard for families to find an online class that’s engaging, interactive and personalized.

Having been pioneers in the education technology industry, we have researched, tested and developed different tools to maximize students’ learning experience.  And now, in efforts to minimize the learning disruption for families, Everest Education is offering free Online Math for G1-9, and free Online IELTS Class for high school and college students. 

“Why should I choose Everest Online?” Let us tell you 5 main reasons that make us on top of all other e-learning platforms out there.

Live lessons with real teachers

Unlike other online course platforms having the entirety of the content presented in the format of talking head videos – which is hard for students, especially little graders, maintain their concentration for a long time – Everest Online delivers high-quality lessons, live online via our innovative, safeguarded online classroom. 

You can imagine Everest Online as a digital replica of a traditional classroom.  The instructors teach, and the participants learn in real-time, face-to-face but via internet-enabled technology devices.

Our teachers are highly motivated trainers with intense experience in teaching.  All your child needs is just a headset with a microphone to speak. Teachers will display lessons on the “virtual whiteboard”, so everybody can see them and work together.  This will transform your child from being a passive receiver of information to being active and involved in the learning process, and help hold their attention longer.

High interaction with teachers and friends

As educators, we understand that interaction plays a crucial role in fostering children’s love of learning and keeping them into the lessons.  That’s why when designing courses and doing lesson plans, we always try our best to implement student-center activities that keep them involved and engaged.  Fortunately, Everest Online has a lot of features that can create a variety of synchronous interaction opportunities, such as voice chat, live chat, interactive whiteboard, polls and quizzes.

The interactive online whiteboard comes with a full-screen mode, creating a bigger learning space.  Students can see full lessons, videos, or pictures, and even can draw, share their own screens to do presentations and discussions.  They can also use the live chat feature and Raise Hand feature to ask questions. With the option of live screen and application sharing, teachers would be able share their screen in real-time and provide remote assistance. Using the voice and live chat functionality, we also try to set up games, student-facilitated discussion opportunities where students craft the discussion prompt and guide the ensuing dialogue. 

Free from interruption by the CoronaVirus

As the virus keeps children at home, online classes are now the only way to maintain their learning routine. Staying away from school for so long will make it even harder for your child to get over the “holiday lag” – they may not be able to keep up with their peers when schools reopen.  With that in mind, we decide to design Everest Online following the Vietnamese national curriculum, specific to grade level and will be delivered in our unique teaching style. 

With Everest Online, students can quickly get in front of a great teacher without a commute.  This is a perfect solution for families to minimize the negative impact of the CoronaVirus – schools may stop, yet not teaching, and learning. 

Parents can know what your children are learning

Not many parents can really understand what their children are doing at schools. Our tight work schedules don’t allow us to spend as much time exploring how well they are doing at school, what they are learning, what we are teaching them and how active they are compared to other classmates.  While your child is taking Everest Online with us, this is also a good chance for parents to sit with your child, and watch your child in action.

Even the shy person can raise their voice

Some studies have shown that e-learning can increase interaction for certain personalities.  In other words, online courses offer shy or more reticent students the opportunity to participate in chats and discussion forums more than the traditional classroom environment.  Some learners experience a lot of performance pressure when attending a course with other people.  Studying on their own at their comfort place lessens this type of stress and can bring better results in the end. 

Everest Online offers more flexibility over a traditional classroom so that students have more chances to talk. Furthermore, we encourage every learner to raise their voice, embrace any idea and give away badges as rewards for those who dare to talk.

Conclusion

With the above advantages, we believe Everest Online can be just as effective as face-to-face classrooms. And in the long run, it will become a critical tool in how students learn. While we hope the outbreak ends soon, with Everest Online, your children can still acquire new academic, social and emotional skills, and more importantly, they are learning to acquire the skills with cutting-edge technology and diverse ways.  This will hopefully accelerate modernization of the education system, and also increase their capacity and abilities to face new challenges in a rapidly changing world.

So, don’t let the virus stop your child from learning!  If you’re finding an online course to help your child make the most of their time away from school due to n-Cov19, seize this opportunity! Sign up to experience E2 Online Class at: http://bit.ly/EverestOnline

We welcome your child to study with us, for free!

 

No Tests vs No Homework

No Tests vs No Homework

🎤🎤 “If you could pick No homework or No tests, what would you choose?”, we randomly asked. 🎤🎤

Check the video to see how our students face this question

We believe that debating skills can be easily built up by asking simple questions like this.

Asking a question entails active listening and a thoughtful response, provoke children’s interest, and yield dynamic questions. You can also try this with your child at home everyday – an easy yet effective way to teach them language, and understand them better!

Reasons why #1 K-6 school in LA, U.S. applies Singapore Math

Reasons why #1 K-6 school in LA, U.S. applies Singapore Math

At Everest we strongly believe in the power of Singapore Math, to help students master Math concept in a fun, intuitive way and develop a love of lifelong learning.

However, we also understand that Singapore Math is not a common phrase for many parents in Vietnam.

So we put together a short video with Mrs Rio – a Math teacher from Laurence School, who is recently recognized as #1 K-6 schools in Los Angeles, and arguably the country.

We hope that this demo class would bring a clearer picture of what is Singapore Math, how it’s different and why it’s important!

Integrating English Language Arts and Social studies

Integrating English Language Arts and Social studies

Integrating English Language Arts and Social studies – two birds with one stone

In the article of “5 reasons why every student needs English Language Arts“, we did highlight how English Language Arts (ELA) among others helps students better learn other subjects as they apply their language skills in fields including history, culture, philosophy, science…  On the reverse side, we also believe that incorporate interesting and relevant resources about the world students live in is the best way to synthesize a number of literacy skills, including researching, writing, speaking, and listening.  The idea of using social studies content as a means of supporting English Language Arts classes is widely applied in many schools around the world, where teachers develop an “integrated curriculum” – a curriculum to help align my science and social studies content to the skills and concepts being covered in the language arts class.  

The Common Core State Standard (CCSS – a set of academic standards for K-12 students throughout the United States) curriculum, is an ideal integrated model of literacy.  The CCSS set requirements not only for English language arts but also for literacy across the content areas in history or social studies, science, and technical subjects…   so that all students are ready for the demands of college – and career-level reading no later than the end of high school. Researches also show that students in integrated programs demonstrate academic performance equal to, or better than, students in discipline-based programs.

Here are the top 3 reasons why Incorporating English Language Arts into social studies can and should be done:

(i) First, the content covered in social media usually captures student’s interest.  Things like animals, volcanoes and cars can motivate them to make progress in ELA. Integrating ELA enables students to develop a meaningful understanding of the complex association within interesting topics, making school more productive and enjoyable for students and teachers.

(ii) Second, intentionally integrating language arts and social studies can help to ensure that the latter doesn’t get lost with the emphasis on literature and math happening in most schools.

Social studies is an often-neglected subject in elementary school because it isn’t generally assessed on the state standardized tests that young children take.  However, informational text comprehension is still tested, and students need to master nonfiction reading, analyzing and writing skills.

(ii) Finally, the literacy skills that overlap with social studies are also the ones we use most in adult life.  Just in our own Internet time today, you probably have had to read informational text, conduct research, and analyze current events.  Integrated study is an extremely effective approach, helping students develop multifaceted expertise and build research skills, connect to community, and understanding our world.

“The reading process does not end with comprehension. In the adult world, people do not ask friends or colleagues to recall specific information from a book or article they have read. Instead, they ask for an opinion on a lead story, or for analysis of the latest Wall Street trend, or for an interpretation of a controversial article…”, said Karen Tankersley in her book “Literacy Strategies for Grades 4-12: Reinforcing the The Threads of Reading”.

There are lots of ways to incorporate ELA and social studies in classrooms,  but planning for this, however, is not always easy, especially teachers only have a short amount of time with students every week.  Therefore, as teachers and curriculum designers, we also look for different ways that could blend each aspect of ELA learning with your social studies lessons.

For example, after assigning students an informational text, we have them research about the topic, talk about what they have learn, then students can write or create a poem and present their publication to the class.  

Another example to give you a clearer idea is our Walk of Fame, an event of Everest Education recently, where each students did their own research about a famous person in history,  wrote a report, then dressed up as the person and made a presentation. This was a great way to synthesize a number of ELA skill, including research, writing, speaking, listening… while students can be exposed to meaningful information about historical events, community leaders and people who impacts our society.

Check out the video below to see how our Walk of Fame looks like!

How to help your child integrate ELA with social studies at home?

Applying integrated curriculum, or cooperating English Language Arts and social studies, sounds like the big work of teachers. However, we believe that by simple practices at home, parents can also help improve student’s literacy skills while build knowledge about the world around them. Here are a few smart strategies:

(1) Build an awesome library of informational texts:

This might sound like the most obvious suggestion, but it’s an important and effective one. Research shows that despite the Common Core’s push for nonfiction, kids are still reading far more fiction than informational text throughout their schooling. The amount of quality nonfiction has increased, however. You can find great texts for almost any social studies topic you might cover, from space to biographies to women’s history.

Suggested book list for English parents and Vietnamese parents.

(2) Build vocabulary

The world of social studies comes with its own rich and detailed vocabulary, and students lose ground when they don’t have the context or background knowledge for new words. So how about creating word walls of social studies at your home? 

It can be a great way to build some of that context and support to help kids remember the words

(3) Take your child outside

Visit monuments, memorials, libraries, parks, and other public spaces. The point is to help kids memorize historical events and issues. Question the names and events that are memorialized and ask “Who do you think that was?” or “Why do we remember this event?”.

(4) Hold discussions

This is going to look different depending on your child’s age, but if possible, try to discuss with your children the topics you learn about while reading the paper, surfing the web, or watching the news. Then ask them for their opinions on political, social, and economic matters. Listen, ask probing questions, and compliment them on their reasoning. Challenge them, too, to wonder about what is not being talked about on the news. Model an interest in current events and public life. Always remember that you are their first and best teacher.

It is unfortunate that our children are receiving less and less formal education in social studies, especially in Vietnam where people put too much stresses on Math and Literature. But parents can make a difference. Home is where children form their attitudes toward learning. Or finding learning centers that help your child develop both English skills and academic knowledge like Everest Education.  

Integrating social studies into language arts could killing two birds with one stone: develop a strong general knowledge and vocabulary students need to become successful readers and writers in the future.