- As schools open,many schools are embracing physical distancing for students to prevent viral spread.
- Schools to offer a mix of online learning and in-person classes in order to boost the student's overall performance and reduce anxiety about the virus.
- Virtual learning and Virtual teaching is new- the World has till now never seen so many traditional teachers shift to online instruction.
The Pandemic has disrupted traditional face-to-face instruction. Online education is the need of the day. Visiting school via electronic device instead of in person. According to EdSource an estimated 1.2 million students don’t have access to the internet at home in California. The Department of Education is currently surveying districts to determine how many students need internet access and devices and where they will be distributed. So far, they have determined that there is an immediate need for at least 150,000 laptop devices.
Schools are reopening in most regions. The school authorities are trying to ensure social distance, easier said than done. Traditionally, school is a place where students and teachers work in close quarters, together as a community, they operate. It would be almost unimaginable to limit group size, keep students six feet apart. Foxnews mentions the challenges of teaching with social distance.
A combination of online school and in-person learning is anticipated to take place in most schools. Parents must create a favorable learning environment, by supervising their kids, see that the kids don’t laze around or waste time playing video games etc. Parents must take up the duty of a real time teacher, set deadlines for assignments. Minimize distractions at home, make home atmosphere conducive to learning. The New York Times mentions kids getting bored by the day and desire to return to school to see their friends.
Independent learning by the student would soon become a virtual reality. Students are separated from their teachers by time and space. Lack of personal interaction is a great disadvantage to the digital learner. Learners feel detached and lonely sitting and studying from home as there is no classroom environment and other learners to interact with.
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Many feel fortunate that they don’t have to wake up early, prepare and pack lunch, don’t have to drop their child and face traffic jams, find parking space, leave home or work early to go to school for pick up. Switching to online schooling, many are thrown into the role of de facto home school teacher. Parents can organize a virtual activity or study group, which has the added bonus of providing social interaction for their child. Collaborating with other parents may help even the Parent feel less isolated. Parents can confide in their child’s teacher and frankly reveal whether the child is studying and doing well or not coping at all. The child’s teacher has a good understanding of their academic strengths and weaknesses, so they maybe able to help the parents come up with a more individualized learning plan.
During the Pandemic, education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby, teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms. Post pandemic, the overall market for online education is projected to reach $350 Billion by 2025 globally. Whether it is language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, or online learning software, there has been a significant surge in usage since Covid-19, integration of information technology with education has accelerated and would soon be an important component of school education.
Recent news that edX, one of the prominent MOOC platforms (massively open online courses of the sort that can simultaneously enroll thousands, even tens of thousands, of learners simultaneously) is to start offering courses aimed at high school students suggests that the potential usefulness and impact of things like MOOCs may soon extend beyond the realm of higher education.
In the U.S, there is a significant gap between those from privileged and disadvantaged backgrounds: whilst virtually all 15-year-olds from a privileged background said they had a computer to work on, nearly 25% of those from disadvantaged backgrounds did not. According to Pew Research one-in-four teens in households with an annual income under $30,000 lack access to a computer at home, compared with just 4% of those in households earning over $75,000, according to the 2018 survey. There are also differences in race and ethnicity. Hispanic teens were especially likely to say they do not have access to a home computer. 18% said this, compared with 9% of white teens and 11% of black teens.
Aristotle said that “education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity”. It is time to unite to reach and educate, use the power of digital media to make the human connection. Reopening schools in a manner that is safe and responsive to the needs of families and communities during the Pandemic.