Sunday, July 26, 2020

How Online Classes are Transforming Education Amidst Crisis..

Embrace each challenge in your life as an opportunity for self-transformation.”  – Bernie S. Siegel 
2020- the restructuring year has come forward with super challenges forcing the human race to rethink, readjust and revamp.
‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’ has to be incorporated literally.
In every aspect of life we have had to relook at things and to work out the ways and means to handle them.
In the present scenario, it seems a distant dream to run educational institutions, as   large gathering of students, teachers and support staff is not safe. In such times technology has come to the rescue of educational institutions in the form of web-based video-conferencing tools that allow teachers and students to interact face to face in a virtual environment.
It is said that the Necessity, is the mother of invention! In this case the best schools in India and abroad are inventing everyday something new in terms of content, presentations and they can be credited for creating new systems of on-line learning for their students. All schools today whether big or small, public or private are trying to explore, discover and enthusiastically experiment with available technologies to reach lessons to their learners through an online interface. It is no less than a revolutionary change in the field of education not only in India but across the world.
Online Classes : The New Normal
Online learning, due to its usefulness, ease-of-use and popularity is deemed as ‘the new normal’ by experts. The unabated Covid-19 pandemic, absence of a vaccine and a confirmed line of treatment have made re-opening of schools a remote possibility in near future.
 No wonder, that the best educational institutions such as Aspam Scottish School in Noida are constantly gearing-up their resources and upskilling their faculty and staff to provide a seamless online learning experience to their students sitting at home. This safety measure benefits not only the students but all the stakeholders.
Till quite recently, the focus was only on academics, but now parents want their child to excel in co-curricular activities as well.  It is quite obvious for a parent to worry about the situation today and that how it will affect their child’s education. Students are facing a drastic change in their daily routine. But at the same time many positive changes have been noticed amongst the students. They have got more quickly attuned to the changes than ever. More participation, shedding of inhibitions, punctuality in attending online classes, increased confidence level and working closely with the teachers and other classmates are some of the important observations that have drawn attention of all.
On a qualitative level, online classes will lead to new, different and more relevant outcomes for the learners.

Teachers today have got to re-think the way they teach when they go online – not just moving from face-to-face teaching over to an online version, but re-designing the teaching to fit the requirements of online learners is the true test of a teacher. Teaching well online has many of the similar requirements as teaching well face-to-face. Clear learning outcomes, assessments that test for the desired learning outcomes and differentiate between different levels of achievement, etc. remain the same. However, there are different requirements, because the context in which learners and facilitators are working will be different.
 Teachers are being trained through attending regular training sessions and webinars to master the use of various features of the online-learning apps such as mentimeter, padlet, kuhoot, whiteboarding, audio/video resources, organising synchronous and asynchronous activities, break-out sessions for group work and project-work in addition to preparing quizzes, Mind maps, flowcharts etc.
Keeping in mind  the fact that learners are not used to long durations of screen-time which may lead to stress and fatigue, schools have creatively drafted their timetable to provide a near-normal learning experience to their students. Therefore, at the Pre-Primary and primary level the classes are interspersed with Art and Craft, Music and Dance, Story-telling sessions and other interesting activities.  At the secondary and senior secondary level teachers bring-in interesting facts about the topic of the day or organise on-the-spot quiz, online- presentations and class discussions to keep children interested and meaningfully engaged.

School Counselor, PE Teachers and other teachers as well also address the learners to give them tips to manage not only their mental wellbeing but also their physical health and mobility which may be affected due to their extended on-line time. Some stretching, breathing and eye exercises enable the students to keep fit.

Similarly, teachers and school counsellor are trained to address the challenges faced by ‘first-generation and not so well -trained online learners’ (who are trying to adapt to the new systems) to reach out to them and provide emotional support to encourage and reassure them for ensuring maximum learning outcome.
This is heartening to share that the top schools of India and we, at Aspam  have adapted the change and adjusted to this paradigm shift so well. The teachers have gone beyond the transaction of academics and the transaction of intellectual, emotional, adaptability and spiritual quotient and moreover integration of artificial intelligence is being adopted, practiced and perfected.
The new normal of digital literacy demands- a change in the mindset and an attitude and aptitude to learn. Children are slowly and steadily being led to fit in this new normal situation. At this point, the role of the families and their unconditional support for preparing our present generation future- ready is of paramount importance. Let’s together help and allow our children to grow, express and move on

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