The year 2020 is full of challenges and new endeavour. We never have fathomed that darkness will engulf our life while we ushered 2020 with much joy and happiness. With respect to Teacher- student relationship we are experiencing a vast change and the journey has become very intriguing.
For the first time ever, schools in India have moved to online classrooms. It’s a struggle for both the students as well as the teachers. So far, we have been hearing the concept of Digital and remote classrooms, now it is just happening in front of our eyes. This is a Journey we were longing for. Now every journey has its own stories to tell. This journey which is now only a three-month-old has already gathered numerable interesting stories.
Unlearn: Yes, teachers and students have this immense challenge of unlearning the age-old practice of face to face teaching using chalk and a board. The physical connection between a teacher and students which is very vital to understand the psyche is no more there in the present situation. Once a connection is established it becomes possible to deal with or clarify any situation immediately. Then comes the physical content. The physical contents keep the students more engrossed and focussed and this had to be replaced with digital version
Logistics: It is no more School Bags but handheld devices or a computer. This is also a great challenge as we did not know how much logistically we are ready. To run a Digital or Remote classroom, the Schools need to invest in IT infra. It was not at all easy while we are in pandemic. It was a huge task to streamline a process and run it seamlessly. The challenge is to develop a secured platform where both Teachers and student can interact and enjoy the journey.
Learning Materials: Teachers reading through schoolbook text needed to be replaced with interesting presentation which would enable them to remain engrossed and focussed. Remote classrooms ought to have interactive content, but it was never easy to create such contents within a few days’ time. The schools remained sceptical about how the students, specially who are in lower classes would react. It was always on the student’s reactions how this journey would shape in future
Parent: Most unpredictable dice in this whole play. Schools never could understand how they would roll. At any given point of time Parents might turn up to be one of the major reasons to derail the journey.
Every successful journey has two key points. Acceptance and Endurance.
Most of the School Management accepted the fact that there would be lot of challenges and the Journey would not be going to be an Evening walk in a Garden. Most schools started searching for avenues and path which would lead them to the other side of the tunnel where they could find light for the rest of the journey. It was never easy. It has be reported by various Educational Institutions on how many hours they spent on brainstorming to come to with some feasible ideas and plans. The key as I mentioned earlier is finding a right and secured Interactive platform. There are number of open free mobile applications or platforms through which the online classes could be taken. But the authorities were never sure. So the Trial and Error method was implemented before they could freeze on one. It is not hundred percent success but eventually it would. We are at a very nascent state of the Journey and there will be multiple iterations.
Second is Endurance. Questions were asked. How to make Study materials. Not All teachers are computer savvy or know the nuances of presentations. But as they accepted the journey was tough, they toiled extremely hard. Some brushed up their presentation skill, some just pulled up their socks and started learning computer. School authorities also supported the teachers in their Journey which needed both moral and financial support. Teachers have taken the challenge head on and created number of Digital contents which could run in MS Power Point or any presentation software. The task was not at all easy and to make the content interesting and engrossing Teachers have put a Monumental Effort. There was high chance of breaking down and that did not happen. The teachers kept on accepting the change and remodelling themselves to fit in. The classroom board was replaced with Power Point presentation. Chalk got replaced by mouse or finger. Class room got replaced by handheld devices.
Students remain the same enthusiastic bunch and lapped up this Idea of Digital Class room and started enjoying. They remained engaged and more focused.
Pandemic has radically changed the concept of traditional education in the past few months and virtual learning will be the new future of education. Before the pandemic, technology was just considered as a means of entertainment. Now, along with teachers, every profession has chosen the virtual platform, providing precious opportunities to both new learners and experts. There appears to be no dearth of online resources of academic value. And therefore, online teaching is more an opportunity than a challenge for teachers today.
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