IH Students Present Teamwork Across Screens

The year of social-distancing and online learning has been a difficult one for all, but especially for students. Outside of the classroom and working from home, students have had to not only keep up with their regular classwork, but they’ve also had to learn how to use new digital tools to complete their assignments.
Under the direction of teacher Marc van der Woude, Immaculate Heart High School AP Seminar students recently showcased their mastery of both course skills and virtual technology as they completed the first of two Performance Tasks, which replace the traditional exam for this specialized course. These Performance Tasks test the research and writing skills of students as they tackle complex subjects and develop positions on them, as well as their presentation and speaking ability as they deliver their findings to the class.

For this Performance Task, there was an additional challenge for the students—they had to work and present in groups, despite being separated by the pandemic and working from their own laptops. But the IHHS students rose to the occasion, thanks in no small part to the facility with the new online toolset they have developed during distance learning.

“They completed their presentations simultaneously, in real time, in teams, from several different locations,” van der Woude explained. “All while coordinating the smooth transition of slides, handing off from one speaker to another, and emphasizing the content of their research without a single glitch. In many ways, the effect was like watching an expert television news cast from New York City, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles at once.”

In fact, in order to further emphasize each team’s uniformity and commitment to professionalism, the students even coordinated their Google Meet backgrounds.

“Though COVID-19 has brought out the toughest conditions most of us have likely ever faced, it hasn’t made a dent in the courage, determination and ongoing growth of our AP Seminar students,” van der Woude said. “Despite the pandemic, their AP Capstone skills and flexibility are tools they will carry with them into a brighter future.”

AP Seminar is the first of two courses in the AP Capstone Diploma Program, which offers high school students a distinction above even regular AP Exams. By completing AP Seminar and AP Research, students can earn the AP Capstone Diploma, demonstrating exceptional research, analytical and public speaking ability. Immaculate Heart has offered the AP Capstone program since the fall of 2016, when IHHS was one of 600 high schools worldwide invited to offer the new curriculum.
A Catholic, independent college preparatory school for girls in grades 6 through 12, Immaculate Heart has been located on a beautiful hillside property in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles since our founding by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1906. We celebrate more than a century of nurturing the spiritual, intellectual, social and moral development of students as they distinguish themselves as women of great heart and right conscience.