Parents pleading with children to look at phone screens for hours?: Online Schooling in times of the Pandemic of last 3 months
Online schooling had remained, for most of the world, largely uncharted territory. Until just three months ago, parents were doing everything in their power to keep children away from phones and laptop screens. Grandparents were complaining about how their grandkids rarely played outdoors and teachers were constantly asking students to look for answers in books and not on the internet. But the Covid-19 pandemic turned everything upside-down. Online schooling has become a household work and parents are pleading with their children to stay indoors, to not attend sports practices and teachers are trying everything in their power to make students look at their phones and laptop screens for hours together!
“When will things go back to normal?”
If there is one question on teachers’ and students’ minds alike, it is about when it would be safe for school to reopen again. But is it the inefficiency of online schooling that leads the to ask this question?
Apart from the initial discomfort that a big change like this can induce, there is another major reason why online schooling has not yet been able to tap into its true potential. The unforeseen spread of the global pandemic has forced schools to switch to online schooling classrooms unexpectedly and at a fast rate, with minimal time to arrange for tech support or training. Because online schooling is more than a mere replication of physical classrooms on the internet, teachers, and students have to undergo basic training for adapting to the online platform better. Teachers, who have never had to use technology in their classrooms need orientation sessions to adapt well. Students need training about online schooling etiquette and need to be made aware of their responsibilities as an online student. But because the switch to online schooling had to be made in such short spans of time, training was completely ignored in most cases. This is one of the top reasons why online schooling today still has a long way to go to.
This lack of training has resulted in most online classes turning into mere remote-learning classes. While online education is a rich source of learning that utilizes the richness of information available online, remote learning is the direct transference of offline teaching platforms to the online medium. When teachers are ignorant about the additional opportunities that online education offers to them, they try to replicate their in-person classes offline. This will most likely result in an underutilization of the vast advantages that online education can offer.
What’s in Store for Online Schooling?
Online schooling is here to stay. While it is unlikely that schools will continue to stick to complete online teaching methods in the long-term even after it becomes safe to reopen schools, aspects of online education will now play a greater part in school learning. When the pressure to teach everything online is relaxed, schools will have the necessary resources and time to adapt their infrastructure to integrate both offline and online schooling platforms into their working. This can help enhance their syllabus and hence, their quality of education.
Today, the options available for students looking to learn online are plenty. A variety of online schooling platforms have come to the rescue in unpredictable times like these, some with their own set of verified learning modules for students. If schools around the country manage to successfully integrate online schooling into traditional education (with necessary orientation and training programs for both teachers and students), the education system will be better prepared for any uncertainty that the future might bring. This will make learning truly continuous and updated.
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