Interestingly, online learning was projected as the future of learning but has today emerged at the forefront as the world has been gripped by fear as the coronavirus pandemic is spreading like wildfire in many parts of the world.
Minal Anand, CEO & Co-Founder of GuruQ offers insights into learning in times of COVID 19
Lockdowns, an unprecedented step of closures of workplaces, institutions, gatherings, marketplaces, commuting and movements, a first time in recent history, are the frontline combative steps for containing spread of this contagious virus. This also means students could end up missing out on weeks and months of learning. However, time is precious and a gap in learning would inevitably set students back. Therefore, educational technology has come into useful play and institutions like schools, colleges and universities are scrambling these technological resources to provide students the facility of online learning. This is how:
Technology based solutions and platforms like Blackboard, Zoom, Moodle, Edmodo, Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom and Google Hangout among others are helping students to stay connected to learning and thereby bridge any break in connectivity when it comes to education. Teachers are attaching links to open sources that serve as additional learning material. They are sending across assessments and worksheets to monitor how well students are responding to online mode of education. Teachers and educators are making necessary tweaks and improvisations as they try to accomodate the textbook into their online lectures.
However, since most schools never or rarely used such tools they are not so well equipped to offer online learning. A number of schools have successfully transitioned to the online mode but not all schools have the training, technology or tools in places to make this quick adaption. They are suffering from teething problems as the change has been abrupt and not gradual. This is where edtech players have stepped in to ensure that teaching-learning is not disrupted.
Edtech players were already huge advocates of the many advantages of online mode of learning with transcending geographical boundaries being one of the biggest benefits. As students’ academic lives have gone haywire, edtech platforms are trying to provide some sort of normalcy. Online courses are available for students who do not want to lose touch with fundamental concepts especially if they have to sit for Board exams or other competitive exams once we get past these dire times. Let us remember that examinations have been postponed and will definitely be rescheduled once the quarantine period is over.
A student who does not revise what he/ she has learned stands to forget everything he/she had learned while preparing thus resulting in an absolute waste of time and energy. They can’t avail of tutors or go to coaching centres as more than 80 districts have been put on lockdown in India. Their only alternative is to turn to edtech platforms to derive rich educational materials from online courses and keep themselves updated. Students have the option of logging in from their laptops or more conveniently from their laptops to access these online courses. To make matters even better, there are online tutoring platforms like GuruQ, that do not provide online courses but provide ‘an actual tutor’.Online tutoring adds a touch of personalization and enables a student to grasp matters much better due to the presence of a human element. Also, during this crisis, remote tutoring platforms have been sensitive enough to keep the cost of remote classes extremely pocket-friendly.
While an atmosphere of gloom is widespread across the world presently, on the bright side students and teachers alike are quickly imbibing tech skills as they adapt to virtual classrooms. It is a fresh set of skills that students are acquiring albeit a very important set as they will be assimilated more easily into the tech-driven careers of tomorrow. So while the initial days might be a bit challenging, we should bear in mind that change is difficult at first, messy in the middle but beautiful at the end.
It’s as if all of a sudden the entire world has been thrust into an experiment that will decide if online teaching-learning is effective or not. and unsurprisingly the compliments by far outweigh the criticism. Notions and perceptions about online learning are fast melting away, now that there is no other alternative to resort to. Educational institutions that were averse to online learning can now fully understand its potential and importance. Perhaps this transition came a little sooner than expected but it might easily be the new normal once the world is rid of the coronavirus.