Trinity International School is a small school located in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. Students who attend this school are from all over the world; Japan, South Korea, and India, to name a few. Each subject is taught in English, and most students have attended international schools before. Class sizes are small, averaging 20 students per class, making it easier for educators to give personalized instruction.
Although small, when school closures due to COVID-19 happened across the world Trinity International School was hit hard. Like the majority of schools, they weren’t well prepared for the emergency closure.
Being able to connect with students remotely, to create lessons students are able to complete using the resources they have at home, and to motivate students to finish the school year strong became universal challenges for educators.
Jessamyn (Jess) Morisette, an English teacher at Trinity International, found it particularly challenging to grade and keep track of student work that was being submitted by email.
“Having students submit their homework via email was a nightmare,” recounts Jess. “Students would label the emails and assignments in a way that made it difficult to understand what they were turning in, which made grading all-consuming.”
One tool for everything
Shortly before schools moved to remote learning, Jess was feeling burnt out. She began looking for new ways to connect with her students and their work, and took to the web for ideas. That’s when she came across a teacher’s bulb digital portfolio.
“This teacher’s lessons were fantastic. I spent a lot of time sorting through what he had, and was able to see how I could use it to connect with my students better. It was then that I decided to sign up for a free account,” Jess explained.
As she began creating her own lessons within bulb, and was becoming familiar with the platform, schools began to move to remote learning due to COVID-19.
“bulb pretty much saved me when we made the transition to online teaching. As a school, we weren’t prepared, and didn’t have any tool to use to help connect educators to the students or the students to each other remotely. But with bulb, it became my one tool for everything.”
During this time, Jess took advantage of bulb’s COVID-19 offer. With this offer her and her students were able to create their own bulbEd accounts (bulb’s flagship platform) for free and use them the rest of the 2019-20 school year and throughout the summer, no commitment required.
Making remote learning fun
Jess quickly discovered how bulb could help her streamline communications with her students (particularly her AP students prepping for their end of year exam), help her students connect with each other remotely, and help keep her students’ work organized which made grading easier.
Each week Jess created a bulb collection for her students. In each collection she included Zoom conferencing information and links and templates to projects and assignments. She would often post final projects from the class for the students to see what their classmates were working on.
Taking ownership of their learning
For Jess and her classes, bulb became the central location for information. When students were unable to attend the Zoom lectures, they knew where and how to access the information they missed. Having students work within their bulb portfolios writing reflection pieces, or answering the daily prompts, helped Jess use her allotted 50 minutes of instruction in a more interactive and engaging way.
Having students work within bulb the first day of remote learning helped keep the students engaged throughout the rest of the 2019-20 school year. The more familiar they became with bulb, the more creative they were with their assignments. They embedded videos and photos, recorded audio, and added links to their bulb pages and collections. Students were excited to see what each other had created and to connect with their classmates remotely.
Taking ownership of their own digital portfolio and using it as a place to store assignments over time helped them see how much they grew within a remote learning environment. Some of Jess’ students would also share their school projects with their parents and began working on personal projects within their portfolios. At the end of the year, all of the 11th-grade students kept their bulb account.
Help along the way
“The thing I appreciated the most about my bulb experience was the customer service. I was having difficulty figuring out how to set privacy settings for my class, and how to create groups within the platform, and bulb was right there to teach me. They are incredibly helpful,” explained Jess. “I want to continue using bulb. With this experience I have more ideas for my future classes.”
Interested in learning more about how other’s used bulb digital portfolios to navigate COVID-19?
- Watch how a teacher and students in Texas used bulb with Google Classroom to make assignments, teach new concepts, and document student learning.
- Learn how a Miami High School navigated remote learning with bulb and how they’re incorporating the platform in their 2020-21 school year plan.
- Listen to how a district of with 13,000 learners successfully implemented bulb district-wide.D