GEMS Education

Ritesh Dhanak


“Educators have been talking about the ‘flipped class’ for a while now, and the benefits of students learning in advance and more actively at home are proven beyond doubt. At GEMS Modern Academy – Dubai, we decided to stretch this idea and conceptualised the ‘flip day’ – yes, flip a whole day of learning! The educational outcomes have been very interesting,” says Ritesh Dhanak, Supervisor – Digital Learning, GEMS Modern Academy – Dubai.


For one day, students of Grades 3 and 4 stayed at home and were engaged through tasks provided by their teachers. These tasks were a combination of various subjects, with fusion being the essence of the exercise. The young learners worked to achieve the tasks and upload/submit an outcome document at the end of the day. Students marked their attendance and completed their work through the My Learning system.


Students who were unable to stay at home came to school as normal, but were provided with a very different experience, mirroring the freedom, independence and ownership of their learning being enjoying by their peers at home. These children were engaged in the same learning through the school’s IT infrastructure, using their own devices, monitored and mentored by their teachers. The statistics for Grade 3 and 4 flipped day speak for themselves.


Grade 3

Total Students: 378

Logins from Home: 318

Percentage Logins from Home: 84%


Grade 4


Total Students:318

Logins from Home: 280

Percentage Logins from Home: 88%


“Our teachers planned meticulously for the fusion of STEAM (Science, Technology, Arts and Mathematics), along with Minecraft options and audio links, all created in-house,” Mr Dhanak revealed. “It was an incredible learning experience according to the children. Of course, there was some anxiety among the parents, which the teachers and senior leadership team handled with enthusiasm, taking time to explain the benefits of this new approach to learning.”


After the success of the Flip Day for Grades 3 and 4, it was time for the middle and senior school students to follow suit in Grades 5 to 12. The tasks were designed for students to use their research skills to learn and produce work combining their knowledge and understanding of multiple subjects. The students were free to define their ways of working as long as they completed the tasks by the end of the day and then uploaded their work through the My Learning system.


Om Jivandas of 9A said: “It didn’t even register that I was not at school, I was so engrossed. All the questions applied to real life which made them difficult, but very interesting too!” Ananya Dangra (6F) agreed, saying: “Flip day was an altogether new experience for me. The activities were well thought out and meticulously planned. The work I did on this day was fun. It was a memorable day that left me with a happy heart and enriched mind.”


According to Nargish Khambatta, the Principal at GEMS Modern Academy – Dubai, the real heroes of this entire initiative were the school’s teachers, who planned the day so well that students were gainfully engaged at home. “We also would like to acknowledge the support of parents and students who took on the challenge and made it a success. Special mention goes out to our IT Team and the GEMS IRD Digital Learning Team led my Phil Redhead, Andrew Nolan, Rashmi Limaye and Asha Sanjay, for the technical and strategic support that made this transformational learning experience possible.”

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