Over past few months as the entire nation is reeling under the pandemic, the hustle bustle of the daily life has come to a standstill. From street vendors to multiplex owners, the employers as well as the employed have come up with ingenious ways to deal with the hardships these unprecedented times have unleashed. While civilians are bearing the brunt of the these difficult times, the era of virtual education has unveiled new opportunities for educators across the globe. Experts have projected a spurt of US $ 319.167 billion by 2025 in the global online education market. These statistics promise a bright future for the budding entrepreneurs in the realm of education.
Keeping in the mind the unforeseen turn of events, the transition phase for teachers from brick and mortar buildings to virtual classrooms isn’t smooth. But as it is said, ‘every adversity brings along an opportunity’, these days when buildings and campuses are shut, the educators have a golden opportunity to explore the world of Virtual Learning.
What are the roadblocks in the path of imparting education online?
When we think about digital classrooms, the primary difficulty which teachers face is to make online lessons engaging, compelling and interactive at the same time. Secondly, many teachers do not possess the required technical know- how to operate virtual classes effectively.
If we are to keep up with the current trends, teachers must first take an initiative to get themselves acquainted with the virtual platform they are using. Being well- versed with the application ensures that they are able use special features like screen share, chat box, online polling etc effectively to enrich the learning experience and are well-versed with the terms of cyber security etc.
How can we make online lessons more engaging?
To make the learning process over virtual space engaging, teachers need to go an extra mile. For instance, to emulate the physical classroom setup with bulletin boards and blackboards, they can utilize the option of virtual backgrounds which can be easily sought online.
To make the virtual classes interactive, teachers can make use of audio-visual media as well. For instance, science teachers can demonstrate basic experiments live in front of students or share certain pictures and videos to illustrate effectively. To gauge the level of understanding of students, teachers can use polling options to schedule online quizzes and interactive games as well.
Moreover, to foster interpersonal interactions among classmates over virtual space, teachers can give group-projects in place of individual assignments. This nurtures the spirit of teamwork and to makes virtual classes even more compelling and worthwhile to attend. To keep the boredom in virtual classes at bay, teachers can organize online competitions like poetry recitation, singing, dancing etc.
Lastly, to ensure optimum utilization of the technology, teachers can get feedback forms filled by students (by parents in case of toddlers) regularly. Just like its done in physical classroom-based instruction, teachers can prepare monthly progress reports of the students taking note of parameters like regularity, interest etc in the online classes and share them with the parents. They can even organize meetings with parents on a regular basis over virtual screen itself.
How can educators leverage technology to expand their bounds?
The biggest advantage of virtual learning is that it is not bound by restrictions which are imposed by walls of a physical classroom. By taking the leverage of technology, educators can now connect hundreds of students sitting in different corners of the world. Many educators these days are earning a decent salary by organizing distance- education programs. Moreover, colleges are organizing guest lectures and webinars by professors from renowned universities spread across the globe. This helps the educators as well to gather a community of learners across the world.
To make efficient use of technology to excel in the education sector, teachers can utilize various mediums to impart learning. For instance, they can upload their recorded lecture series on sites like you tube, design their own website and apps or even take live online tuition’s. Many teachers even tie-up with coaching institutes and take online classes under their brand-name. This trend is gaining a huge momentum in the education industry as for entrepreneurs in this field, it is cost-effective and teachers can earn profitably from precincts of their home!
How can parents lead the way?
Parents are primary pillars of support to make the advent of virtual education successful. Instead of cursing the system for its inadequacies, parents should appreciate the efforts made by the educational institutes and teachers to make online classes translate into a reality.
Instead of ‘hovering overhead’ like a Helicopter Parent over their child and closely monitoring her/his activities during study hours, parents can supplement the efforts of the educators by nudging their progeny to take online classes with utmost sincerity. They must learn to trust and support their child by helping him/her with a proper physical setup and by providing necessary equipment’s to attend the online classes.
In a nutshell,
The current times of pandemic have opened new doors of opportunity for the mankind to explore the world of online education. As it is said, ‘one must strike while the iron is hot’, the educators must utilise this ripe opportunity to the fullest by stepping out of their comfort zone start experimenting with diverse mediums to take classes online!