How a Digital Native Does Remote Teaching - UWCISAK JP

How a Digital Native Does Remote Teaching

Adam Atkin has a background in mechanical engineering and mathematics and joined UWC ISAK Japan after a successful period at UWC Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Amongst an already youthful faculty, Adam is one of our youngest members and his youth gives him a special advantage in the face of the extraordinary circumstances we are now facing.

As a digital native, Adam is always considering how he can employ technology in his classroom. This can sometimes be difficult in a field like Mathematics, which doesn’t lend itself to visual representations as readily as, say, Chemistry or Physics. But Adam has still found fun ways to bring Math to life for his students and technology is at the core. In his lessons, he uses sites like Desmos.com to create interactive visual models that illustrate the concepts he is introducing in his class.

And technology also underscores another area of success for Adam: organization. Adam is organized by nature, but the rush to remote learning forced Adam to follow through with his plans to create a centralized platform for his classes. In short order, he was able to create an intuitive site through Google Sites that provides students with a week to week roadmap for students to follow with quick and intuitive access to relevant tools and resources, such as video recordings and weblinks.

Adam has also used technology to help develop a virtual classroom schedule, whereby small groups of 3-5 students join classes that best suit their specific timezone and scheduling challenges. Like Dr. Mandy, this small group system offers students a great mix of individual attention and scheduling flexibility.

While he is constantly working on improvements, Adam is pleased with the initial response to his class website. In fact, its been so helpful in organizing his own course and schedule that he has started to dream about how students might be able to each build their own individual hub sites. Fingers crossed that this becomes a reality in the near future.


“Mr. Atkin can truly empathize with students.
I appreciate how much he understands our struggles.”

I love how Mr. Atkin organized the website for his Math course. Each week’s lessons and objectives are very well organized and I appreciate the ability to submit attendance and learning updates through the site.

With remote learning, each class is different. I imagine that the approach for English would need to be very different for Math because Math is much more individualistic. Classroom discussions don’t really help as much, so I appreciate how he manages this dynamic.

For example, we meet in small groups and Mr. Atkin addresses individual challenges we are facing. He offers guidance then gives us the opportunity to step out of the virtual classroom and return later. Sometimes we go and work with a classmate on a problem and then return later. It works really well, but I can appreciate it is not as easy as it looks. He is a bit like a symphony conductor how he manages the course content, individual and group scheduling, and the virtual classroom dynamic. I think I should call him Maestro.

But overall, I find Mr. Atkin’s approach to come from a place of empathy. He understands we are all facing challenges and tries to be understanding and flexible. I find his approach gives me the right mix of autonomy and instruction.

– Class of 2021 Student

I truly enjoy Mr. Atkin’s classes. His website is clear; his videos are very helpful and his live check-in sessions are very constructive and helpful.

– Class of 2021 Student

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