As school systems continue to deliberate how best to proceed regarding COVID-19, Oak Hill Academy has returned to its core principle of “reimagining the future” in envisioning its plan for the coming academic year. The private, co-educational school in Lincroft emphasizes a personalized approach to education, where the learning environment reflects each student’s individual needs. As such, it is prepared to offer in-person classes for grades pre-kindergarten through eight, five days a week, starting in September. In addition, Oak Hill will be providing a new online option which allows students to live stream all of their regular classes. This alternative should provide its families with more flexibility in managing their child’s education.
Last March, Oak Hill Academy’s use of technology in its blended learning format of instruction was challenged with the sudden need to provide online schooling for all of its students. Its students and faculty rose to the occasion, quickly adjusting to a new remote learning model. Teachers, for example, were able to adapt their lessons virtually, connecting with students in creative settings to maintain a rigorous curriculum. Students collaborated on digital projects together, showcased in-depth projects to their classmates, shared video responses, and continued to grow as learners. As the year came to a close, teachers reported that learning objectives remained on target – their students continued to succeed without lapse. With this change, however, came the understanding that a new, more permanent means of remote instruction was necessary for the ensuing academic year.
Over the summer, Oak Hill invested in a new technology to enable students to securely access a live stream of classes using a dedicated video-conferencing network. This technology, called Swivl, is used in tandem with Zoom to allow students full participation from home. Swivl involves a tripod and a built-in microphone tracking the teacher as they move about the classroom. This allows students to take part remotely – writing can be submitted, assessments can be administered, and resources can be provided in real-time. In fact, a student’s image and voice can be displayed in the room alongside classmates for group projects and presentations.
Whether students will be at home using Swivl or socially distanced on its campus, Oak Hill Academy plans to expand other technologies for its students as well. All students in grades three through eight will be issued their own Chromebook for a one-to-one program, giving them consistent, safe access to many new educational features. Moreover, additional customized, subscription-based services will be in place to allow for adaptive learning modules created by Oak Hill faculty. With the start of the academic year quickly approaching, faculty at Oak Hill become more and more eager to welcome students back, both in classrooms and from home. In the coming weeks, the school will make its final adjustments on how best to implement these new technologies and additional safety measures. As it does, Oak Hill Academy remains committed to its mission of providing a personalized approach to learning for every student. To learn more about admissions at Oak Hill Academy, contact Christina Larkins, Director of Admissions & Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.oakhillacademy.com.