COVID-19 has turned the world upside down. All sectors, including the education sector, have been drastically affected. The world is searching for new strategies to cope with this pandemic and its aftermath. Schools and Higher educational institutions are now looking at online teaching-learning as a window of hope.
Many institutions and teachers have made efforts to incorporate online education and try to use tech tools and try out different means of reaching out to their students who are quarantined in their own homes and towns and villages. The apex bodies such as the UGC and AICTE have also appealed to teachers and have advised students to make effective use of web learning.
But skeptics and cynics have created myths about web learning. We need to transition effectively so that knowledge and skill sharing are not disrupted but are continued in different ways through diverse platforms and tools.
- Online teaching is meant for the young and techno-savvy
We have seen people commenting online teaching practices are for those in their 30s, not for those in their 50s. Then there are many people who believe virtual teaching is for those who are techno-savvy, not for people who are averse to technology.
The fact is that everyone — young and old, and those who are conversant with and averse to technology — has to embrace technology and live with it. In other words, technology in tertiary education has come to stay and all teachers have to make a clear and conscious shift despite their age and attitude. Successful people in any walk of life are those who love and welcome change.
- Online teaching is only a substitute in tough times.
There is no denying the fact that we are living through difficult times because of the coronavirus pandemic. Against this backdrop, quite a few argue that online teaching is only a stopgap arrangement—at the most for a semester or two. Some feel that when normalcy returns, it will be back to chalk and talk. So, why bother to learn new teaching methodologies? The fact is that online teaching has already become an integral part of our educational system and irrevocable changes have been made in our teaching-learning process. COVID-19 has drastically altered our teaching methodologies and there is no going back. The winners are those who embrace technology and look at online education, not as a long-term game changer.
- Online teaching is not egalitarian
Some argue that online teaching subtly favors those who have access to high technologies and turns down the disadvantaged sections of society. There may be some truth here, but the more significant fact is that online education is meant for all. In most cases, all that the students need is a smartphone and most have smartphones with Internet connectivity. Therefore, the claim that online teaching will exacerbate student’s social and economic problems is not justified.
In rural and semi-urban areas high speed Internet may not be available around the clock. We undeniably lag behind in terms of infrastructure but the blame should not fall on online learning. We should rather focus on building infrastructure then pushing back something as good as online mode of learning. It certainly is the future.
- Technology will eventually replace the teacher
Earlier, teachers were synonymous with chalk and duster but are now seen with laptops and head-phones and that would sum up the change in pedagogy. There is an innate fear in teachers, especially the ‘old timers’ that technology will eventually replace them. Teachers need to be reassured that they cannot be replaced but also need to be told that their role has changed significantly. Earlier, they were seen as the repositories of knowledge. But now they are seen as syllabus designers, content developers, knowledge sharers — all through the medium of technology. Therefore, they need to develop new skills and keep up with the changing times.
- Students prefer face-to-face interaction, not online teaching
This is a subtle form of resistance. Teachers- students – parents are hesitant to switch over to online teaching and use a weak argument that their students prefer face-to-face interaction and not online teaching. But as we have already passed a year and the future still remains uncertain. It is found that the attendance has increased in the online classes. Students rather prefer online mode than going outside and throwing their lives.
The youth are not only conversant with technology but are also willing to embrace change in any form. They constantly look forward to new ideas and love to experiment and innovate and, therefore, will not have major issues in switching over to online education. Most students, if properly oriented, will switch over to online learning seamlessly and the onus is on the educational system, especially teachers, to facilitate this transition smoothly.
- Online teaching-learning is not as effective as face-to-face mode
There are quite a few advantages in face-to-face classroom transactions. The biggest is that teachers can think on their feet, strategise according to the content and the mood of their students and constantly monitor students’ intake. Unfortunately, these are absent in online teaching-learning. The content, mode and manner of delivery are already programmed for each module and teachers have little freedom once a module is prepared and delivered. Students are seen as less attentive during online classes. Therefore, it is argued that face-to-face interaction is better than online instruction.
There are merits and demerits in both ways. But good teachers are always good, whatever the mode. A good teacher will always adjust the content and delivery according to the mode and will ensure that there isn’t a big gap between input and intake. Therefore, the question of which is better.
Extraordinary times and situations call for bold and radical solutions. In this new ecosystem created by this pandemic, teachers have to constantly reinvent themselves to address the exigencies born of this crisis and offer students whatever is relevant and helps them adapt to a crisis thereby making them resourceful and resilient
How E-DAC Digital is turning out to be a game changer in busting myths around Online Learning?
- E-DAC Digital offers an easy to adapt and easy to implement SCHOOL ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM for teachers which train them for all the skills required for the online teaching learning process. Our Growth Partners conduct time to time training and are available to assist the teachers irrespective of their age or the place they are located at, to make their online teaching methods more interactive and engaging.
- Not just during the pandemic but the features offered by E-DAC Digital are going to help the school, parents, students and teachers to be on the same platform for the long term as well. For example features like attendance, recorded classes, homework, student details, e-books etc
- The recorded classes help students to learn as per their convenience and timing. It has been observed that the students who were hesitant during the offline classes are now more confident and have shown better results comparatively.
- Features like Gamified quizzes, score board, experiential teaching activities, badges etc helps students to actively participate and engage them positively.