As the families are greeting the first students back home One of the founders of the Academy speaks about the results.
We are excited to announce the successful completion of the Le Sallay International Academy pilot program. Our students are less happy though and have been really disappointed that there were no classes on their last day in the chateau.
13 kids from 4 countries have met in January in Le Sallay chateau in Burgundy for a two-week in-person session, returned to their homes for a month of online learning and then reconvened in February for a final period of studies.
We are very happy with the outcome as we feel it has confirmed the feasibility of blended learning approach it was designed to test.
Building on our experience with learning camps and on-line education we had no doubts in how each of these approaches work - what remained to bee seen if they can be combined so that the neither group dynamics nor the students interest will wane between on-site sessions.
As we have seen the kids reconvened enthusiastically for the second session and managed to keep the level of motivation and group relationships achieved in the first one. The students kept up with their collective work while away from campus and have stayed in touch discussing study projects well beyond set class-time. The kids that have previously struggled to form connections at school have been reluctant to leave and are eager to come back.
The other question that the pilot has answered successfully was testing the software set-up proposed for the program. Although offering a certain level of gamification the platform is by no means an entertainment and does not include any games mechanics whatsoever. So the question was - can the students be captivated by pure intellectual challenge and the answer was a definite yes. Kids absolutely fell in love with the learning platform and when on-campus wanted to use their precious alotted gadget-time to do more homework and earn extra points for the team.
We have also seen that even in a very mixed group of students - by both age and level - we had for the pilot program it was indeed possible to personalize the program and engage each student according to his needs and capabilities. It is going to be much easier with same-age classes formed and we now have the established routine to follow each child’s progress on a daily basis.
We feel extremely excited that the proposed approach obviously worked - the kids remained motivated and even enthusiastic about the extra Academy homework in spite of having to keep up with their regular school workload.
The curriculum for the program was necessarily limited and concentrated on maths/science and creative writing. However for many of our students it was the first ever opportunity to discover that ‘borrring’ subjects can be fun and a school day and enjoyable experience.
We are looking forward to seeing our kids again for our other programs and hopefully for a full term next year.
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