In our battle with the recent outbreak of COVID-19 which continues spread worldwide without knowing a stop, schools around the globe are shifting to an online learning system in an effort to combat adverse effects of the spread of the disease on education. To cope up with this unique situation, steps have been taken so that education is not compromised, and students do not fall back on their learning. Learning online would be a pretty new experience for many of us; we need to ensure that it is accessible to all the students and we are able to make most out of this new system.
Our goal is not to re-create face-to-face classrooms, which is an impossible thing to do rather the opportunities henceforth created through online learning systems should ensure a great learning experience in itself. For learners to work more independently, expand their agency, and let them learn to use tools and strategies that are required to make things work this way. In this unique situation most schools will soon realize that they need to be adaptive and fast-thinking in order to ensure that learning continues in a healthy way.
Let’s discuss how we can address this potential situation and reap the most benefit through online learning.
Prepare for online learning means:
As schools are going through a shutdown and parents are also working from home, in such a situation lots of other issues have to be dealt with. Schools need to hold video conferencing, meetings with the pupils and guardians to discuss the children’s development and work etc. There are many free options available for virtual learning, many edu-tech websites are providing free and paid customised academic help and even access to online libraries that can be used to support students.
Internet access and adequate bandwidth (speed)
Low and week bandwidth can make things worse and also make online learning activities very difficult. A reliable speedy internet connection is a must to take this service ahead on a due course. We can provide some combined activities like telephone check-ins which acts as a great support. Virtual conferences, webinars, and usage of tools like YouTube can create opportunities for sharing. If the schools want to share each other’s exhibition work, an effective virtual space to share and learn can be used for the same as well.
To make schedule friendly opt for shorter class times in similar time zones with more meetings and enrolling fewer students has proved to be more effective in online learning scenarios. If meeting times are combined with collaborative activities, students are seen to be more likely to log on and complete their tasks or discussions. Effective feedback acts as a booster and enforces students to unleash their best. Checking in with learners regularly is pertinent. If possible, enable students to get valuable feedback automatically through online quizzes and virtual tutors as well as direct comments or discussions from peers and teachers.
Meaningful screen time and conferencing
Online schooling means developing activities which are able to keep the students learning going as well as make the process interesting enough. Attempts should be made to create engaging, interactive activities to retain the attention spans engaged for longer durations allowing them to become aware of the supporting environment enabling their growth. Such activities should be adopted for lower grades kids. They must be able to have a meaningful screen time every time they attend an online session. The students must be made to feel that they are receiving the same guidance and care, alike in a physical class room session. For higher grades, the recording of the lectures should be made available which will enable them to refer back and refresh what was being taught. Our task is to make the student to adapt to new means of learning and make them feel that we can learn comfortably and advance in such tough unprecedented quarantined times too, making sure that learning never stops.
Definitely times are not easy, they are indeed tough to keep the spirits high and risen, but there is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t make use of the given situation and utilize the opportunity to grow and learn. In fact, it is one of the best times to improve oneself and learn and develop new skills and talents.
We also need to follow other advises of staying indoors and avoiding crowds. On compulsion if you have to step outside the house, keep
distance of two meters from anybody you meet, avoid touching your face, and wash your hands frequently. Let’s hope this situation is the way forward to thoughtful and new beginnings. Till then and to more Happy Learning!