One of the biggest casualties of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown has been institutionalised education. Schools have been shut to prevent the spread of the virus and this has given way to online classrooms, a very new concept in India even for the most sophisticated schools. It is commendable how easily some educational institutions have moved to virtual classrooms, all thanks to tools such as Zoom, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams. But there are some still struggling to get online.
There are teachers and schools putting extra effort to engage students in classes by revamping timetables, shifting discussions online, taking feedback from parents and monitoring students constantly. While there are some who are doing the bare minimum and using WhatsApp to stay connected with students. Some schools are trying out tools like SeeSaw, Google Suite and YouTube videos to make online classes as engaging as offline ones. But there are also those that are failing miserably at this shift.
Parents are divided
Online class is a fairly new concept and many students are pretty excited initially to be part of it. The virtual classes via Zoom are being conducted smoothly. There are some drawbacks such as the lack of a platform to submit assignments. Students are required to write the assignments, take a picture of it and email, which gets tough for the child as well as the teacher. Otherwise, the school has moved into online teaching very smoothly.”
Advantages of online classrooms
- The online classes, whatever the enabling technology, is only as good as the teachers and the ability of the students to grasp the new teaching technique.
- Students are actually more responsive and active in online classrooms, compared to when they are in physical ones. “This could be because this is a new concept and they are excited to explore it with the teachers.
- They also don’t get distracted by their classmates, which frequently happens in a regular class.
Disadvantages of online classrooms
- Teachers do find the absence of a blackboard a disadvantage and network connectivity a constant problem.
- It’s difficult to monitor actual writing in a virtual mode: they might get good at typing, but getting them to readjust to offline mode might be a challenge too
- Too much screen time can be perilous for health. Prolonged online sessions can be overwhelming and may lead to problems related to vision, body posture and sleep disorder.
Also published on Medium.