The Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the education sector has been unprecedented. The situation of complete closure severely disrupted and affected the school education system across the world posing a huge challenge before the educators to find viable alternatives to continue the teaching and learning processes. As an immediate and effective measure, the entire schooling ecosystem had to be transformed into the e-learning module. Although it was sudden, having very limited time at hand for preparation and planning, schools were quick to adapt to the change and continued the teaching-learning processes for the benefit of the learners. There were a few issues in the initial seeding period of transition of getting used to the complete e-learning module but since we as a countrywide group of schools have been successfully implementing technology integrated pedagogy over the last several years, our teachers being familiar with ed-tech were quick to embrace the change and upgrade themselves that helped accelerate the entire process during this new normal.
Over the passage of just three months, we have witnessed significant growth in the shift to online education. This growth has opened up newer avenues for educators and learners to explore various benefits of virtual learning. Parents and students, having a glimpse of online classes have now realized the huge potential that digital learning offers to enhance the learning outcomes. For us, it has been a learning experience, and based on that and the feedback received, we have developed key elements that are crucial for smooth teaching-learning experience through virtual learning.
Effective and constant communication is critical from both teachers and students as regular constructive feedback has been a significant factor in enhancing the e-learning process to get better learning outcomes. Communication from teachers with the school administration ensures that there are no technical glitches and the process is seamless all through. As this entire online learning phenomenon is fairly nascent, the interaction of teachers and students with the appointed counselors is equally important from the emotional well-being perspective of all the involved stakeholders.
We have observed that E-Education brings out a sense of independence and discipline in students. It also involves a lot more commitment from the teachers who are seeking diverse teaching methodologies to keep the children academically encouraged and engaged. For them maintaining student interest levels and focus through collaborative learning is a priority. While students are encouraged to be disciplined and take ownership of their learning, creating interesting content, incorporating extra-curricular initiatives that promote overall well-being, and introducing the students and teachers to expert opinions through Live Talks and Online Webinars are equally relevant to provide a holistic, interactive and engaging learning experience.
Adequate Learning Environment:
Online education is a wonderful opportunity to integrate technology and encourage blended learning to enhance the entire learning experience of a child. However, a calm and less intrusive environment plays an important factor in building focus and accelerates the process of learning and retention. It is imperative that the teachers and students choose a location conducive for the online teaching-learning process with rare disturbance. Not only while e-learning but also when attending webinars and other online activities, a corner at home with good ventilation, effective light, stable internet connection, and quiet location enable an appropriate learning environment.
Maintaining good mental health, emotional well-being, and staying calm often helps in solving and easing pressing situations. It is vital for teachers to take necessary help to look after their mental wellness in order to be effective and fruitful mentors and facilitators, making valuable contributions to the lives of their students’. Online learning is a new concept for students and it is important to understand and gauge their level of interest, comprehension, and overall mental well-being and attitude towards this new medium of learning. In such a novel circumstance, counseling aid for both teachers and students is very crucial. Interactive workshops or webinars or one-on-one counseling time with professional experts should be arranged to understand the causes and effects of mental well-being and how to tackle certain overwhelming emotional situations that they might be facing in order to extend support by providing an emotionally nurturing and safe environment.
It was encouraging to witness parents becoming co-learners alongside their children during the initial days of online classes. Though schools are trying their best to provide every possible academic essential to the students, it is the responsibility of the parents as well to guide their children properly in this learning process. Parents need to motivate their children and make them comfortable and confident and independent learners during this new normal. Also, make them understand the importance of safety measures and lead an emotionally and physically healthy lifestyle.
Technology training & Integration of Digital Pedagogy
Ed-tech is growing into one of the most popular technologies in the world. In this situation, understanding their changing role, teachers need to adapt to it with innovation. While openness to be trained and learn through technology will greatly help in getting the best of e-education, exploring newer ways, pedagogy, and teaching methods will keep the child motivated in this new environment. Understanding the changing dynamics of the education ecosystem, usage of digital pedagogy more strategically will ease the process of transition to virtual learning. The blended model of teaching-learning is nowhere to stay in this new normal and assimilating the latest technology trends is of utmost importance to remain relevant in the segment of education.Virtual learning is a way forward for the teaching-learning process transformation. Students, teachers, and parents have a vital role to embrace the change in this new normal and forge ahead realizing the huge potential that digital learning has to offer to our proactive and self-motivated young learners of the 21st Century and equip them for life and future ahead.