While all schools in Cambodia are encouraged to help students continue their study online or by distance, as physical face to face classes are suspended temporarily by the Government in the face of COVID-19, the Australian Centre for Education (ACE) goes digital in their teaching approach allowing students to learn face to face with real time interaction by distance, using cutting-edge technology and learning management systems.
With the support of IDP Education, ACE has just announced 200 full scholarships for one year study at any of ACE’s six campuses in Cambodia, including the new ACE Ta Khmao campus, under the ACE Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Education Initiative.
While ACE campuses remain closed for face-to-face study, virtual classes using the latest online platforms and learning management systems are forging ahead to ensure no ACE student falls behind in their learning. “By offering full time scholarships, ACE continues to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to providing quality education during this difficult period, and to helping students both academically and financially,” said Sreng Mao, Country Director of IDP Education and ACE.
“To continue supporting the learning of our students from home, our academic and digital learning teams have been working very hard over the past few months to provide the best possible learning experience. Not only are we using world-leading platforms such as Zoom for Education, ClassDojo and Google Classroom, but we have developed our own videos, tutorials, demo classes and training sessions for all our learners to access,” said ACE Principal, Ashley Irving.
There is a newly established student-centred ACE Digital Learning Club where students and staff can upload videos with their learning tips to share with the ACE online community, helping one another get up to speed. “The level of digital upskilling that has taken place over the past six weeks, by both teachers and learners, has been incredible,” the view shared by Julina Mam and Andrew Millar who are responsible for on-going learning enhancement of ACE students.
“ACE teachers have been very enthusiastic about the adoption of virtual learning to support students confined to their homes. Technology cannot replace teachers but creative teachers can use technology to enhance student learning outcomes, especially while putting health and safety first in the COVID-19 situation,” commented ACE teacher and academic specialist Sokheng Panhchaneath.
Chhorm Sovanroza, currently completing the ACE General English Program, has seen his perception of virtual learning change. “At first, I thought online learning was difficult but after studying online for a while, I have discovered the great things that digital learning offers, making me want to keep studying,” while sixteen-year-old Ngo Pichmorokort enthused, “I am adapting and learning new things. ACE offers free training sessions on how to master online platforms and education apps.” Another student, Than Virakboth, says, “I have never used digital learning platforms before. It opens a world of opportunity to support my modern learning style.”
ACE teacher trainer, Samira Hazari, who has helped develop materials and resources for the new platforms highlighted the fact that, “Students receive training on the use of our online conferencing platforms as well as LMS [Learning Management System] apps so that they can be more effective in their learning.” Vann Kosal, a teacher who also worked on adapting the platforms to the local education context notes, “With online learning management systems, students have access to online learning resources and can engage in interactive group projects and discussions.”
“At first, I was wondering how my child could learn from home. But now I see that he is learning a lot and having fun. The ACE virtual class approach offers great activities the same as a normal class,” according to Ms Ho Kolap, whose son is in the ACE Children’s Program. “My child sits at home and the teacher sits in the classroom, I’m pleased that my child can still study by distance without worrying about her health and going out,” said Mr Chan Darath, another ACE Parent.
To offer opportunities to other students, the 200 full scholarships for one year study are being made available through the ACE CSR Education Initiative for the following programs: Children’s Program (8-10 years old), Young Learners’ Program (11-14 years old), General English Program (15 and above) and the Advanced English Program and English for Study Abroad (adults).
Applicants or their parents can apply at https://acecambodia.org/ACEScholarship or call 085 809 589 / 015 360 846 for more information. Applicants will receive a free English Skills Assessment (online) so that, if successful, they can be offered a scholarship in the correct level for their current English language ability. In keeping with ACE’s commitment to equal opportunities for all, scholarship selection criteria include gender equity as well as availability of class/time slot, and the importance and potential use of English skills, as demonstrated in the application.
The ACE One Year Scholarships will commence online on 8th May, 2020 and students can choose to study at any ACE campus once the government allows.