By Karine Yoakim Pasquier for the Moser Lab, within the Moser School
Our contributor presents a testimonial on how the staff of the Moser School, a trilingual educational institution for students aged 8 to 18, in Switzerland, has weathered the pandemic and has perpetuated the use of digital technology, in particular by setting up a Teams space dedicated to sharing content among teachers.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has changed society in many ways, education has not been spared. In Switzerland, on March 13, 2020, the Federal Council announced various measures, including the closure of schools and universities, forcing teachers to reinvent themselves and students to attend classes from home for two months.
Then, starting in September, the school year was organized in a blended format, offering both online and face-to-face classes, thus giving the quarantined students the opportunity to attend classes anyway. This forced the teachers to work differently and to integrate computers into their daily practice for good.
It is in this context that the Moser School, founded in 1961 in Geneva and present in Nyon and Berlin, reflected on how to perpetuate the experience of its teachers. Offering a trilingual curriculum to more than 1,500 students from 8 to 18 years old, the school has always been considered ahead of its time when it comes to integrating new technologies... and the crisis has allowed to verify that everything that had been put in place previously was solid and functional. The experience was a positive one, highlighting the resilience and creativity of the teachers in dealing with an exceptional situation.
The teaching profession: resilience and reinvention
As of March 13, 2020, the teachers of the Moser School reorganized themselves: from the 3rd grade of primary school (equivalent to CE2 in France) to the end of secondary school (corresponding to high school), the students were to be able to continue their school curriculum. Videos, courses live Through Teams software, making short films at home, setting up online assignments, the faculty kept reinventing themselves. However, it was all done in a hurry and each employee then had to learn how to manage their classes, schedules and content in record time.
In order to learn about the challenges faced by the 116 teachers at the school during this time, a survey was sent to them to learn a little more about what they had experienced. 46.6 % of those surveyed identified the context of distance learning as both quite stressful, but challenging.
The experience has been a source of renewal and inspiration for most. However, it has also been an enormous workload, forcing many teachers to reorganize their content to fit online, as well as to learn multiple digital skills in a rapid manner.
Moser Channel, a space for exchange and valorization
For the past 4 years, the Moser School has had a department called Moser Lab, which has multiple objectives: staff training in digital technology, implementation of various digital projects, personalized assistance. The Moser Lab aims to be the reference in terms of digital pedagogy within the school and is intended to guide teachers in the evolution of their practices. In passing, the Lab also touches on themes such as leadership, organizational culture, technologies, data and communication, which are all very present in the digital age.
In order to face these challenges, the laboratory has taken on the mission of taking complex problems and turning them into opportunities. In this context, and to follow up on the observations made by the teachers between March and May 2020, the team imagined a platform that would value all the work developed by the teachers during this period of distance learning. Entitled Moser Channel, this virtual space collected and organized by grade and subject the pedagogical content created by the teachers.
From French to history, science, mathematics, art or body expression: each of them reinterpreted their subject in a digital way, sometimes conceiving small digital jewels or sessions full of inventiveness to compensate for the possibility of seeing themselves in flesh and blood.
In addition, many teachers have allowed students to be actively involved. The "Check out our student-made videos" tab showcases rich and unexpected content. From drama to music to prose to biology, students became actors in their own teaching, leveraging their digital skills and the topics they learned in class.
The platform currently has 317 online courses. Created on Sharepoint (Office 365), it meets several objectives: first of all, to allow the exchange of content between the different Moser schools (located in Geneva, Nyon and Berlin), but also to inspire teachers and to bring them to discuss their practices.
Its use remains simple: access by level and then by discipline. The courses are then listed, mentioning the topics covered, the target level and the author. Teachers wishing to enrich the platform can write to the Moser Lab team or upload their videos to Microsoft Stream. The videos are then reorganized and classified according to their content and relevance.
If until now teachers kept their materials separately, Moser Channel values their work and creates an exchange among the school staff, making life easier for them and thus allowing for better collaboration.
A positive change
The pandemic has therefore been a vector of positive change for education. Teachers have discovered and integrated into their daily practices the concept of flipped classrooms, the use of videos, the integration of activities via tools such as Forms, Socrative, Quizlet or Teams, the organization of online support or the use of OneNote for homework management.
The Moser Channel platform continues to evolve and grow, offering a variety of content that reflects the world we live in today. In addition, MoserLab has also developed a training catalog that provides teachers, students and administrators with tutorials on all the software and applications they use on a daily basis.
The Moser Lab is constantly on the lookout for new educational opportunities and will regularly enrich its training catalog and the Moser Channel platform and develop new projects.