Students

NorthGate College last week launched its hybrid system EduFlex which allows pupils who cannot be on campus to stream their classes and have the same experience as their peers who are in the physical classroom.

The system, which had been in the making for a year, has revolutionised the way its pupils learn.

As its name suggests, NGC EduFlex offers a flexible learning experience which guarantees that no pupil is left behind.

The groundwork for this hybrid system was laid in September 2020, said the director at NorthGate College, Yolande La Pierre.

Although the teachers and pupil were making use of Google Meet to facilitate virtual classes when schools were closed in March last year, La Pierre said the school’s founder, Dr Noel Woodroffe, recognised the importance of creating an online educational system that is relevant to their needs.

“You can’t always take something that is done in the US and the UK and apply it here in T&T; when the pandemic began we started looking into the possibility of creating a system that enables us to keep the school’s culture and vibe alive,” said La Pierre.

EduFlex makes it possible for students who are off campus to log in to their classes and interact with their teachers and classmates.

It provides a less disruptive learning experience.

Pupils who are attending physical classes also walk with their own devices so that they can use the chat feature and communicate with their classmates and ask questions.

Since its launch last week, EduFlex has already proven to be a success, said La Pierre.

Pupils who were on campus were paired up with those online to share data and collaborate on lab work for their science class.

The EduFlex system ensures that all pupils participate in classes whether they are at home or in the classroom setting.

It also ensures that each pupil pulls their own weight. EduFlex can also be used on devices with low processing speeds.

“Covid-19 has taught us that school is not limited to the actual physical building,”said La Pierre.

As a result of the sacrifices made by the school’s teachers and NorthGate’s strong home-school connection, the process of teaching remote and in-person classes simultaneously is running as smoothly as possible, said La Pierre.

NorthGate College has a good vaccination record amongst its pupils—80 per cent of them are vaccinated, said La Pierre.

Not everyone logging on to the EduFlex system from his or her home is unvaccinated. The school has in place a rotation system given that the number of pupils allowed in the physical classroom is restricted to 20.

When in-person classes were suspended in March 2020, the transition to virtual classes was not a culture shock for the teachers and pupils of NorthGate College.

Years before the pandemic, the school had already been incorporating technology into the classroom setting.

Over the past 19 months, NorthGate College—which focuses on the holistic development of its pupils—has remained committed to ensuring that all aspects of their school life continue online.

Since the start of the pandemic they have held their sports day online as well as extra curricular activities including baking and work-out sessions, and “Fun Fact Friday”.

“School has become a place where pupils can log in and receive much more than just curriculum content, they are also part of other activities and receive support from their teachers and this in turn creates ‘buy-in’ from parents who see that we are investing in the lives of their children,”added La Pierre.

To facilitate the EduFlex system, electrical work had to be done and the school’s power supply and Wi-Fi needed to be upgraded, plexiglass shields were also installed in classrooms.

Parents were kept up to date as plans were in motion to upgrade their children’s learning experience.

La Pierre indicated that Woodroffe is willing and ready to speak with interested persons about EduFlex.

NorthGate College was established in 1999 with a pupil population of just over 100.

The school is located in St Augustine but its outlook is global.

According to the school’s homepage, NGC has collaborative partners in many countries around the world and has an enrolment of both local and foreign pupils.

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