Bilal Ibrahim Ajadi InterHigh Alumni

InterHigh alumni, Bilal, found that InterHigh was a completely new way of learning, but one that fully prepared him for the independent studying that University required.

What were your experiences before joining InterHigh?

My education started at home in the UK. Me and my siblings were home-schooled by my Mum from the start of my education until Year Two. We were very proactive in going out and doing activities with the local home-schooling community. Camping, road trips, park visits and cycling were just some of the many activities we did alongside our learning.

What made you decide to join InterHigh?

After moving to the UAE, I was inducted into the International School of Creative Science. The style of teaching felt restrictive and slow, as I was used to moving forward at my own faster pace when I was home-schooled. However, during my time in school I had to wait for fellow students to complete a chapter or subject before moving forward. Also, the course content was only focused on what the teachers wanted to teach, and I longed for more interesting subjects and topics. After I left school in Year Six, I decided to join InterHigh.

How was InterHigh different for you?

When I started, InterHigh was a completely new system of learning for me. I had not previously used computers or laptops during my earlier school years, so it was the first time I was using a device to learn. Having all lessons in a soft copy format and constantly available made doing homework, revising for tests and doing self-learning a lot easier for me. In my previous school, lessons were noted on a whiteboard and all notes needed to be taken down by students or else they would miss the information. Personally, I was never good at note-taking and didn’t enjoy the idea of writing the same information that the teacher was already writing down.

Did InterHigh teach you things you might not have otherwise had the opportunity to learn?

Being an online platform allowed us to access and understand a lot more content than what we were used to in our old school. Since all of the lessons used online materials which were easily accessible, there was a lot more to learn and explore outside of the classroom. Microsoft Office skills and YouTube learning were two of the main skills that I developed due to my time with InterHigh, which greatly helped me later in University.

Was there anything about InterHigh that really stood out to you?

InterHigh was mainly chosen due to its less restrictive atmosphere, flexibility to learn anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection and shorter hours. The idea of talking with students from around the world was also exciting. We were all in the same online lesson, but each of us was in a completely different location and time zone. Since I didn’t have social media at the time, it was a very interesting experience to talk and share experiences with different people that were my age but somewhere else on the globe. Plus, since I was based in the UAE, classes started around 12.30pm and ended around 3-4pm. This gave us the whole morning and most of the afternoon to relax and do other activities.

Did InterHigh introduce you to any new methods of learning?

Note-taking was one of my problems during my time at school. During InterHigh, I learned that there were other, more innovative ways of taking notes, rather than the traditional method of just writing everything down with a paper and pen. I began to take notes on the computer itself by using snapshots and writing on Microsoft word, which was a skill that I used throughout my time at university as well.

What were the most valuable skills you gained from InterHigh?

Being able to work independently was one of the most valuable skills I took from InterHigh. Although all students are in a classroom, each of us are physically on our own and need to be able to work and accomplish tasks without having a teacher or higher figure making sure that we are working. After moving to university, most students were unable to operate and required the help of other students to accomplish their tasks. Because of this, I ended up being the elected team lead on 90% of the group projects I was a part of, as well as running for multiple competitions, within and outside of university.

How did InterHigh prepare you for university?

Another important skill was the ability to adapt to different software. InterHigh used multiple different online platforms which included a classroom, library, YouTube videos and Microsoft Office applications to accomplish their teaching objectives. In using these different applications daily, it was easier to adapt to new software and online platforms after InterHigh. These skills would become more important during my time at university. Many students had difficulty adjusting to the new online platforms that the university had initiated, while it was fairly easy for me to adjust. Other than just online learning, the experience of using multiple software to complete assignments, such as AutoCAD, presentation recordings, dissertation writing, researching and many other skills was a lot easier as most of my time at high school was spent online.

Do you think those who attend mainstream schooling are fully prepared for university education?

On the whole, most modern universities are developing their own online learning platforms while simultaneously having the traditional ‘learning in a classroom/lecture hall’ method of learning. Since most students are only familiar with this traditional method, they feel uncomfortable and unable to excel once they join a university because of the skills they weren’t exposed to during their high school years.

What would you say to people considering signing up to InterHigh?

I would recommend people to join InterHigh, not just for the timing, flexibility or home-learning but mainly for the valuable skills and space to develop them – without being pressured by classmates or teachers. The school gives students the time and space to make the most out of exploring the world, gain online skills and develop who they are as a people, which is all of great important once they enter university and the real world.

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