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How to Ensure Education Is Not Interrupted During the Pandemic

Technology has dramatically changed the perspective of education today. There are many modes of learning that do not depend on a teacher.

Knowledge at the click of a button

Knowledge at the click of a button

Education during the Pandemic

As the COVID 19 pandemic continues to rage over the world, lock-downs are imminent, social distancing has become the new normal resulting in schools, universities, and coaching classes across the world being shut. Children, parents, teachers, and educationists are stuck in their homes due to this, creating a panic among them. The disruption in education has affected students’ learning and a loss of precious time. In this situation switching to an online mode of learning is a good option. New opportunities have opened for them to integrate artificial intelligence or machine learning in platforms to use the distant education option. The pandemic can be considered a boon in disguise and move proactively towards remote learning. This not only provides opportunities to learn AI and e-learning products but also saves a lot of time. The teachers and tutors get more time to monitor how individual students are using the concepts. Learning can be made much more personalized by customizing the content for each student, depending on their capabilities and their performances can be better monitored.

Technology to the Rescue

In a fast-growing global economy, knowledge is an important source of competitive advantage. Education provides the gateway to a successful career and is important in a student’s life. So it is imperative to ensure there is no disruption in the education of children due to the lock-down. The gap in education caused by the lock-down due to the pandemic has been bridged by the remote learning modules. Technology has helped schools in the smooth transition from offline to online. Teachers conduct classes online, students attend virtual classes. The assessments and assignments are all done online. Technology has made it possible for teaching to continue online. Teachers are holding classes through video conferencing platforms, which have more of a classroom feel. Children interact through the comments section. Teachers are also holding discussions online with their students. And the lock-down does not mean an end to homework and assignments either. Students are submitting assignments online. Some teachers live-stream their lectures on YouTube.

Learning at Home

Live classes, interactive simulations, e-books, solved examples all make learning at home fun. The classes are planned in such a way that a virtual classroom is created and the student gets the experience of a real classroom. Students like the flexible timings of the online classes but miss talking with friends in the class. Many students say they like online classes as they can be more relaxed, they can do the assignments at their pace, read and spend time with the family. Some students said they were honking some domestic skills like baking and cooking during the lock-down. They are also helping their parents in household chores. The travel time to school and back that is saved can be utilized to study and also get some time for extra-curricular activities like coding, app development, and web designing, dance, and music.

For tips on how to make children self-sufficient, develop discipline, EQ, MQ, please read my hub:
https://hubpages.com/health/How-to-develop-Discipline-Self-sufficiency-EQ-MQ-in-Children

Smooth Online Transition

A lot of user-friendly tools available today have made the transition from offline to online very smooth. Live classes with sessions to clear doubts, e-books, tablets have enabled students to continue their education without disruption. Moreover, these edu-tech platforms provide secure connections with login credentials for both teachers and students. These platforms ensure that learning remains unhindered amidst the global crisis. The shift towards online learning has definitely made great progress. The future of education is expected to be a mix of online and offline learning which can be a holistic and engaging experience for the children. Digital learning creates an inclusive atmosphere wherein teachers, students, and parents can stay connected and participate in the learning process. Students can have uninterrupted access to study material even when they are not able to attend school. These tech platforms are a boon to teachers to make learning interesting and keep their students involved.

Steps To Ensure Smooth Conduct of Online Classes

The seating place must have a charging point so as to avoid the shutdown of screens due to run out of battery. The desk should be uncluttered. Sitting on beds, eating in class, and roaming around should be avoided. Latecomers should be banned. Students should be ready with books, and pens before the classes start. There should be no disruption, disturbance during the sessions and the students who indulge in any acts of indiscipline should be removed from the class and their parents informed accordingly. Most schools prefer the non-interference of parents during their classes. All feedback can be shared offline.

Online classes for older children and for younger children, recorded videos that can be watched at parents’ convenience are advisable. Students should exit other applications, not use other gadgets, and not use nicknames during the class. They should not mute themselves when the teachers speak and wait for their turn to speak up. Good manners are imperative in online classes which the parents need to teach the children and follow them on their part. Parents should be given orientation on how to log in, submit assignments, and take notes so as to help the students during the class. Initially, the parents can participate with the children to get them accustomed to the process. Slowly the students should be able to attend class independently.

Hooked to technology at a young age

Hooked to technology at a young age

Most parents say that their children miss their real school which is fun because they can play with their friends and the teachers’ guide them through their learning. As per WHO, one hour of video interaction is allowed per day up to the age of six say, education experts. It is best that these interactions focus on social, emotional, and language learning rather than on a strict curriculum. For example, singing rhymes, telling stories, and playing games with them. Some parents feel that a one-year loss in school for small children is not such a bad idea. Many psychologists and child counselors feel that in earlier times, children did not start school till later like when they were six or seven years old. So it is alright for a child to be at home for a year to be on the safer side. Parents can teach them thorough some collective activities and storytelling and in the process get to spend some quality time and bond better with their children.

New opportunities in Learning

The education sector has been quick to move to various digital platforms for continuing the learning process of the children and ensuring there is no break in it. Though earlier the education system was a little hesitant to adopt technology, now necessity has transformed it from a classroom model to a virtual class model. Continuing the learning process through online tools like videoconferencing, video recordings, sharing study modules and worksheets through the institution’s intranet, interacting with the students to clear their doubts through video calls has become the new norm. Many educationists feel that there is a clear shift from the teaching to the learning model where students learn rather than the teachers teaching them.

Education Redefined

With students being able to gain access to knowledge with the click of a mouse, the role of an educator needs to be redefined in this age of advanced technology. Their role is more of facilitators of development for young people than teachers with abundant knowledge. As virtual schooling gets integrated with AI and machine learning, teachers get more free time which can be utilized for individual doubt clarification and pedagogy. Educators must adapt to these changing methods to excel and maintain the concept of a good education. Institutions must support in up-skilling the talent pool of already existing teachers and educators. Online teaching is completely different from classroom teaching. As there is no human interaction, the lessons should be such as to capture the attention of the students and keep them involved. Training the teachers for online classes is crucial and the institutions should ensure this by involving them in training programs and exposing them to various technology platforms and tools and share with them, the best practices followed in other parts of the world. They should be allowed to engage with each student to measure the level of student’s understanding of the curriculum covered.

Online classes and toddlers-Do they even need it

The shift to online classes from classrooms is most difficult for smaller children in the age group of 3 to 5. For one, their attention span is very low. At an age when they ought to play with toys, it is unfair that they are burdened with attending online classes which they are not comfortable with. At a playschool it is different where they interact with other children of their age, run around and learn through play. The personal interaction is very important here. Many parents feel that getting them hooked to technology at such a young age is not good. Some feel guilty at introducing more screen time. Secondly, it is a huge burden on the parents to see that the child is attentive in such online classes as these small children cannot concentrate in such classes for long and start getting restless.

For tips on how to keep the children engaged at home during the pandemic, please read my hub:

https://hubpages.com/family/How-to-Keep-Kids-Engaged-at-Home-During-The-Corona-Virus-Lock-Down

Skills Required for the Educators

The skills required for educators in remote learning also differ. They need to have excellent communication and technical skills along with knowledge of the subject matter. They need to develop skills in content creation, technical know-how, with a willingness to learn new methods with new tools and technologies in order to be good educators. They should understand data analytics as analysis is the basis of advancement in any sector. They should also be well versed in the use of social media channels to keep the students engaged. Familiarity with the tools to conduct an assessment of learning is important. Regular feed-backs, surveys should be undertaken for this. Apart from subject expertise, teachers need to have a lot of patience, empathy, and compassion. These are essential qualities that need to be developed in the educators as some students may find it very difficult to keep up with the pace or to get used to the new methods.

Time management is crucial in this mode and teachers need to learn to effectively manage the workload by prioritizing and multitasking. As the teacher is less visible in an online platform than in an actual classroom, the students may feel less connected and the teachers’ authority may also be ineffective. So the teachers should develop the skills needed to make students feel their presence by keeping them interested and engaged in the classes. To overcome the feeling of isolation while working from home, teachers need to have their own support network of faculty members and like-minded workmates with whom the teachers should be in constant touch through Skype calls, emails, chat sessions, and video conferencing to be updated with the latest developments in the field of education.

Final Thoughts

Till now education was by far the most conservative sector across all fields of life. It was believed that without a mediator like a teacher, it was not possible to transfer knowledge. Today there is a wide range of learning possibilities on the internet. There are courses that we can take online from art to history to different languages. From self-improvement videos to tips on fashion, makeup, cooking, and dancing. Knowledge is curiosity-driven rather than institutional driven. It needs to allow non-linear modes of learning. The idea that education is a one-time process limited to a particular phase in one’s life, and that which will last us a lifetime is now redundant. Earlier education needed one to focus on learning only while living the life of a student. Today we know that education is a life-long process. Lots of advancements take place every day and we have to stay updated or we become outdated. Education is no longer only a means of landing a job. It is all about acquiring knowledge in the field that one is interested in or is passionate about. Today knowledge is available at the click of a button.

New Career Opportunities

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 VIDYA D SAGAR

Comments

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on September 19, 2020:

Thanks Kavya for your visit and your kind comments. I appreciate it very much. Yes you are absolutely correct. Times are changing and unless we update ourselves with the changing times, we will be left behind and at a loss. Education being an important sector needs special attention, as it is a matter of the life and future of our children.

Kavya Jain on September 19, 2020:

Excellent elaboration. Definitely, the pandemic has revolutionized educational sector across the globe. Everyone needs to up their game, be it teachers, students or other concerned authorities. The old set of skills are proving to be obsolete in present time. It reflects that learning is really a life long process and is not limited to the walls of classroom and that is why people are upgrading their skills to keep pace with the dynamic environment.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on September 12, 2020:

Thanks Umesh for the visit and for your kind comments. I appreciate it.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on September 12, 2020:

Well presented. Full of ideas and relevant points.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on August 29, 2020:

Thanks Devika for the visit and for your kind comments. Nothing is normal in this pandemic and we have to adapt to the changes for life to go on.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 28, 2020:

You have useful suggestions and in the midst of the pandemic it is hard to cope with a normal lifestyle

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on August 12, 2020:

Thanks Anukriti for the kind comments. Online classes can be fun and informative for the children and an opportunity to bond with the kids, for the parents. They also get a chance to monitor their academic progress and help them when necessary.

Anukriti from Rajathan on August 12, 2020:

Thanks for sharing the information. I agree as parents are organizing laptops and smartphone for their education. Children are enjoying their company while attending the classes. Online education becomes fun for children.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on July 16, 2020:

Thanks Linda for visiting and for the comments. I agree with you on this. Now with parents working from home, not all children get access to computers or smart phones. Most affected are the children in rural areas where there is no proper internet service nor do the people have computers and tabs. That is why the authorities here have decided to relay classes on TV which will benefit most children as television is quite a popular medium. Initially they plan to start these classes for primary school students, later they may extend for higher classes also. Hope it works.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 16, 2020:

You've raised some great points and have given some good advice related to online education in this article. I think online classes that are run with care can be an excellent resource during this difficult time.

Some factors worry me about online education for children. Not all families with school-age children have access to computers or the Internet, or children find it difficult to access classes when a family's computer is needed for other purposes or has a slow connection to the Internet.

It looks like the coronavirus problem will exist for some time in many parts of the world. I hope a safe and effective solution can be found for all children who need an education.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on July 12, 2020:

Thanks, Flourish for visiting and for the comments. I very much sympathize with your sister. Here parents with a single kid are struggling and complaining that they cannot cope and are very stressed managing the household chores, office work, and education of the children. Taking the help of relatives and friends to spare a few hours of the day to home school the children is an option your sister can consider, but finding a good tutor who would be willing to teach the children at home is also quite difficult at this time. Online classes are fine for older children but the younger children need parental guidance as their attention span is low and with an ADHD child it is even more difficult. That's why many parents with small kids here are willing to wait for a year even if it means that they miss school. They prefer to teach them whenever they get time through educational games, storytelling, pretend play, etc in which the small children are ever willing to participate. Take care Flourish and all the best for your sister and lots of love for the children.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 12, 2020:

Technology as you laid out could be a workable solution for older students who behave well and are reasonably motivated. It’s the younger elementary students that concern me. They don’t have the skills or attention levels (not to mention the ones who have ADHD, for example). My sister, for example, is a health care worker with a 7-year old who fits the description. She’s a single parent, a nurse, with three kids. I don’t know what she’s going to do about schooling, especially that incorrigible little one.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on July 11, 2020:

Thanks Sowrabha for visiting and for your nice comments. Yes digital learning is here to stay what with the pandemic not seeming to abate. The quest for knowledge is continuous and not restricted to student Life. When man thinks he knows it all, something totally new comes up and he has to struggle all over again. Research has also shown that learning new things keeps the brain cells active and dangerous diseases like Alzymers and dementia can be avoided.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on July 11, 2020:

Thank you so much Pamela for visiting and for your kind comments. I agree with you, we have no idea when this pandemic is going to end and when normalcy is going to return. In the meantime childrens' education has to continue and it's heartening to see the smooth transition of learning to digital mode. Training for technical jobs is the necessity today when the economy is down and people are struggling.to make ends meet. Skill upgradation is essential in this fast developing world to keep up with the times and stay productive. Take care.

sowspeaks from Bengaluru on July 11, 2020:

Hi Vidyaji, very useful article for the current times.. what we thought of as a makeshift arrangement is here to stay for a lot longer. Lots of valid points, observations from all the stakeholders and different perspectives has upped the value of the article. Education is no more limited to the life of a student but a lifetime process. Very true that!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 11, 2020:

My children are all grown, but I still appreciate this excellent article, Vidya. You made many very good suggestions. We really don't know for sure if this virus is going to last or what effects may happen over the long term. I do believe training for technical jobs would benefit some students.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on July 11, 2020:

Hi Lora, Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the nice comments. The pandemic has brought about positive changes in the education sector. Initially, during the lockdown, parents were worried about the break in the education of their children and the effects it would cause. But as the saying goes 'necessity is the mother of Invention'.A positive change has been observed. The education sector which was hitherto the most conservative of all sectors took to the digital platform with considerable ease. All that the teachers and educators needed was to upgrade their skills and then all was smooth sailing. In fact, a lot of advantages were observed by the educationists like being able to create individualized content to suit the needs of the students and to assess their knowledge gain and performance. A lot of time otherwise spent on commuting could be saved which can be used for upgrading other skills both for the teachers and the students. At the same time, students could develop skills in the field that they are passionate about along with learning the core subjects. More career opportunities also are be envisaged in the present scenario. The purpose of education should be to gain knowledge and skills to succeed in a fast-changing and developing world. As you mentioned learning should be non-linear. Take care Lora and have a nice day.

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on July 11, 2020:

Thank you so much Dr.Raksha for visiting and for your kind comments. I am glad that you liked the article. Have a nice day, take care.

Lora Hollings on July 10, 2020:

An excellent article, Vidya, on a very important topic. Ironically, it could be this pandemic that brings about positive changes in the way that students are taught. I think that online learning can be a great method of learning especially if it's tailored to meet the needs of each individual student and it can also be adapted to the different learning styles of children whereas classroom teaching is much more limited in this area. And as you state in your article, teachers will still play a very important part in a child's education but their role will be more as facilitators of learning. It should also give them more time to engage with each student and measure their level of understanding of the subject matter and this would be an added benefit. You did a great job of covering this topic and I liked what you said about education: "Knowledge is curiosity-driven rather than institutional driven. It needs to allow non-linear modes of learning." Thanks for sharing!

Dr Raksha on July 10, 2020:

Great Article, Vidya

VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on July 10, 2020:

Thanks Eric for your kind comments. Your son is truly lucky to have such wonderful parents. Here work from home parents are struggling to deal with their children's education. Learning at home is the safest and best option. Returning to school seems a distant possibility now. Children miss playing outdoors and their school friends the most, I believe. Take care friend, have a great time with your kids.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 10, 2020:

Good stuff. As a parent of a ten year old, I appreciate the insights.

But we were laughing about how returning to school could mess up his learning.

Two parents with nothing better to do than teach him, from piano to a second language to mathematics thank goodness for his team gaming or he wouldn't have a break ;-)