City schools take to remote learning to continue teaching during the Covid-19 lockdown

As uncertainty over the coronavirus lockdown period increases, many schools in Navi Mumbai are putting technology to the best possible use by conducting online lessons everyday

As schools remain closed in Navi Mumbai for an indefinite period owing to the coronavirus lockdown, some city schools, just like many others around the world, have come up with a plan to continue teaching their students with the help of technology and the gadgets children remain glued to nowadays – mobile phones! Yes! Schools have geared up and are conducting classes online, teaching students while they remain locked down within the four walls of their homes.

On Monday, 6 April, Ramsheth Thakur Public School, Kharghar, conducted their first ever remote learning session by conducting online classes for their 6th to 12th standard students. Students logged into the zoom app, which is now the official online education app for many schools around the world, at 9 am, to see their teachers giving live lessons online. The lessons and discussions carried on till 12 pm as the class concluded on a very exciting note.

“This is the first time that we conducted classes in such a manner. In fact many other schools will be doing it for the first time amid such a scenario,” says a teacher of Ramsheth Thakur Public School. “It was a good experience for all of us, as we were able to continue with the daily lessons from the comforts of our homes and without having to face the threat of being affected by the virus,” she adds.

Vishwajyot High School, Kharghar, another innovative school, commenced their online classes from Thursday, 9 April.

“Ours is an innovative school which is highly influenced by the Waldorf philosophy. We are open to adopting new tools that compliment education in every possible manner. Going online during the ongoing crisis was a unanimous decision made by the school panel, teachers and parents as we beleive that education and learning should continue,” shares Sanjna Rao, a teacher at Vishwajyot High School.

Talking about the need to introduce remote learning to the students, Rao explains, “The pandemic is a very disturbing crisis for all but that shouldn’t stop us from carrying out our daily lessons for children even if it simply means boosting their confidence and assuring them of better times ahead. Children have their own ways of assessing crisis and the pandemic is putting all kinds of crazy thoughts into their heads – even things like zombie apocalypse! So, conducting classes online is not merely for the academic purpose alone but also to provide mental support to one another. The simple activity of coming online every day, seeing other students online, carrying out regular studies, laughing about during spare moments between the lectures, talking to each other and having a little bit of fun does a lot to boost the morale of children.”

Students are all the more excited about the entire ‘remote learning’ or ‘online classes’ experience and they are enthusiastically discovering a whole new level of learning.

“We chat online with family and friends and watch videos or movies but never before have we ever been given live lessons by our teachers. It is such a different experience and means a lot to all of us as we stay home during the lockdown, not able to meet or talk to our classmates,” shares Hriday, Rao’s elder son, and an 8th standard student at Ramsheth Thakur Public School. “It is good to see our classmates and have a good talk with them, knowing that we are all in this together, with our teachers teaching us from far away,” he adds.

Also read: 5 Things students should do during the lockdown for self-development

For many students it is all about the comfort and fun that online classes seems to have introduced them to.

“I never knew it could be so comfortable to learn online. We can wear anything, sit comfortably, walk around, stretch a bit and do a lot of things while the class is in progress. It is so much easy than sitting in the classroom,” shares Ansh, Rao’s younger son, and a 6th standard student in the same school as his brother. “The teachers too must be comfortable as they are at home and can sit comfortably while we watch the slides and listen to them. Schools should do this more often even after the lockdown,” he adds.

Let us add here some schools have made it compulsory for students to wear their school uniforms during the online sessions.

What is driving the entire ‘remote or online learning’ exercise?

Well, schools around the world are making use of a dynamic app called ‘Zoom’ that enables them interact and carry out learning sessions remotely. The app allows teachers, administrators, and students to successfully set up virtual classrooms, participate in online classes, and give new meaning to distance education.

“The app is wonderful and it has simplified the way we interact in a virtual environment,” Rao says.

The shortcomings of remote or online learning?

Well, everything connected to the web is subject to the availability and quality of internet connection. Having said that, there can be call breaks or hung-up screens from time to time.

“Though everyone is able to connect to the app, not everyone is able to access a strong internet connection. In fact, a majority of the students and even teachers, access the app with the help of mobile internet. So, they are subject to the daily limit of data and the speed. As a result, sometimes there are issues like call breaks or the screen getting hung-up for a few moments. Still, it goes on without interruption for the major part of the classes,” explains Rao.

Is remote or online learning the way forward?

A majority of schools have started online classes and are carrying them out successfully. However, there are some who are not able to do it owing to lack of technological knowledge and access. Experts believe that there can be many drawbacks to remote learning owing to the fact that many schools still lack the infrastructure, namely strong internet connectivity and lack of technical support. There is also an obvious dearth of quality and creative online study materials pertaining to individual schools. Then there’s the fact that not all homes are well equipped to access online learning platforms. The availability of standard gadgets like mobile phones, laptops etc. are limited to a very low number of families. It’s not that people don’t have phones or laptops but that not every child has access to a phone or a laptop. Moving forward, the bigger issue is not having a strong internet connection at home – not every house has a broadband connection!

Whatever the case, for now, remote learning is the only option that schools have if they wish to continue teaching their students amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Last Updated on April 17, 2020 by lp@admin

Post Author: lp@admin

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