Beyond Classroom Teaching

While most of the schools are now teaching online, some are still not sure how to go about it. In this article, Anju Gupta, Headmistress, Ahlcon International School, answers the question - how can schools prepare for these online classes?

“There are no refunds: learners cannot get their time back if we waste it”

– Michael Allen

Due to Covid-19, schools have closed for the benefit of their students, teachers and their families but this doesn’t mean a stop to learning for students or teachers. If the current crisis teaches us anything, it is – there is a need across the education sector to plan for sustainable, quality, flexible learning options. Talking about flexible learning, we inevitably think about technology.

In the present scenario, schools are doing the best job they can to give students access to resources for learning and these include using technology to conduct remote teaching via video platforms.

How can schools prepare for online classes?

Available Resources

This is the collaborative effort of the entire school. First, schools need to find out:

  • The technologies already available with them along with the technologies that students have access to.
  • Staff and student skills in the use of different technologies like Google classrooms, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet.
  • Availability of online resources portals like Diksha, e-paathshala, Swayam, Google classroom resources, Google classroom cheat sheets, other remote learning resources, e-books etc.
  • How can teachers send ppts, pdfs of topics to students? Should it be through direct email or Google drive links or something else.

Planning

  • School resources developed by teachers will certainly be better for learning than free educational technology tools available in the market. Hence, it makes sense to use these first as a basis of remote teaching.
  • Have special time tables so that everyone doesn’t need to be online at the same time, and teachers can concentrate on other work areas.
  • If you are a part of a network or system, work out ways in which you can share resources and workload.
  • Parents’ technological skills are very important in supporting and developing student skill levels. Communicate with parents about how they can support their students in using technology.
  • Customise learning solutions. Learning should include both synchronous and asynchronous activities (activities that students can take up on their own or with their parents, and which may not require them to be online), non-technology-based resources and activities.

Execution

  • You can hold introductory session of teachers with parents and orient them about any change in the teaching pedagogy and evaluation system.
  • Create a timetable. Include prayers and energizers every day before commencement of teaching, just like it happens in school.
  • Know your audience. A teacher should have a profile of each child with her. This is important for her to understand her students better, their family circumstances, and thus help her communicate well with students. A teacher should also allot time to each student to clear her/his doubts and queries of the taught topic.
  • Schools may include online activity classes like music, dance, art & craft, etc. for refreshing sessions in between.
  • It will be better to record some videos in advance which will provide assistance to students and parents with technology as well as content.
  • Include existing materials like virtual tours in your lesson plans to make them interesting.
  • Get students to study a personal topic of interest, and then report to the group using a video.
  • Consider ways in which you can continue your buddy system online.
  • Include virtual birthday celebrations of your students on daily basis.
  • Also prescribe a healthy food recipe for students everyday and include life skills activities.

Upskill your staff and focus on collaboration

  • Build expertise in online learning by accessing external expertise, that is, professional learning opportunities for teachers.
  • Ensure all your teachers have skills required for online teaching and can use the learning management system to deliver engaging, high-quality learning experience to their students.
  • Develop learning designs for particular subjects. This takes time. Hence, it is advisable to have teachers work in teams. An effective lesson plan must be a blend of instructional designs, visual designs, presentations, storytelling, project work and teacher-curated content.
  • Provide opportunities to teachers to share and showcase their practice – using the same collaborative tools as they use for online teaching.

And do not forget to give daily reminder to students and their parents to follow all the rules to fight covid-19.

Anju Gupta

OTHER ARTICLES BY ANJU GUPTA:
1. This is how you can keep a check on your kid’s online behaviour
2. Let’s say no to heavy school bags
3. Social-Emotional Education in Schools – A step forward

DISCLAIMER: Views expressed above are that of the author and do not reflect the views of the website. The Peeper Times does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.


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