Updated: Dec 18, 2020
When the pandemic hit us in March, we all thought that it would be over in a couple of months. But then, it went on to become one of the worst pandemics the world has ever seen. And now, it's been almost a year that we are still reeling under it. Its prolonged impact has affected everyone and everything, bringing drastic changes in the way we do things, be it business, traveling, buying groceries and mostly, education. Education was one of the fields which requires a human touch for it to be successful. For centuries, teaching-learning has been done the same way because it is the best way. But the pandemic has changed even that too. Face to face classrooms have been replaced by virtual classes. Educational tours and trips too have gone online where learners are taken to various places online. Exams are being held online with cameras on. Overnight, the world we used to know was turned upside down beyond recognition. New ways of doing things have now been explored and it seems that e-learning does have a plethora of advantages. And the sooner we embrace this fact, the better it is for us because online classes are the only way to keep learning on track until a vaccine is available in the market. Within these nine months, both our educators and learners have become tech savvy in the last session which has made learning as effective as classroom learning. To make learning interactive, multiplayer quizzes and collaborative boards are used as tools. Using the collaborative tools, educators can get immediate feedback of the learner's progress. By now, it has been established that online teaching-learning is nearly as effective as face to face education and many parents and learners would testify to that. It is surprising that even children as young as 4 and 5 are also acquainted with the system. Even activities, sports and celebrations too are being held online as if we have never been affected by the pandemic. Learners are learning yoga, even football, online. Music, art and craft and dance too have kept pace with the curriculum. In a nutshell, the world needed to adapt to the situation on short notice and we did it without any wrinkles. To be honest, we believe that online teaching-learning is here to stay because of the following factors:
1. Liberty to experiment: Online-teaching learning has opened up new pedagogical techniques because it offers more flexibility and liberty to educators. They can change tactics on the spot that suit the needs of the learners. That means, the new way is more learner-entric.
2. Variety of tools: The number of tools accessible to educators has increased in the new platform. They can access different platforms to make learning more interactive and enjoyable. Online multiplayer games and quizzes, collaborative boards, applications and videos have made learning difficult concepts a cakewalk. Teaching aids are available on the spot which has made understanding concepts easier.
3. Without boundaries: Boundaries have now been erased giving educators and learners’ ample time and opportunity to connect with one another. Evaluation, on the spot feedback and preparation of lessons have minimised the time that we spend on these activities. That means, we have more time at our disposal to teach, which our main goal in an academic institution is.
4. Growth of Independence: By giving learners different choices of resources, the new system has helped learners think independently which one of the most basic goals of education is. Having to decide which tool to use has made them more self-reliant and better at decision making.
5. Flipped Classroom: Now instead of remaining passive listeners, they can take part in discussions as the topics are already explained in a flipped classroom where videos on the lessons are posted before the lesson. So more time is freed up to devote to activities and projects. It is activities and projects that make learning more effective and remain with them forever. Because we remember things that we do.
This list is long. Together with these new resources we can make our classrooms more interactive and effective for our learners. We must remember that we cannot do away with face-to-face classrooms altogether. But we can definitely incorporate some online tools in our regular classroom to make things better and easier.