The pandemic has had a large impact on education. Firstly, it forced us to adopt online learning, and secondly, it changed the way most boards conduct examinations.
Now that schools are reopening and physical classes are getting back on track, digital content and tools could still be used as part of after-school learning. A key advantage of online teaching is that it provides an interactive experience where students become active participants in the learning process.
With the growing prominence of online education and its integration into the daily lives of students, teachers can play an active role in helping students in their online learning journey. Here’s how:
1. Introduce Students to Interesting Learning Resources
The internet is a rich source of engaging and interactive content, but only if you know the right resources. Teachers can point students to credible and popular learning resources like TED-Ed, Khan Academy, and TED Talks. They can also guide students in using the learning videos on SuperTeacher by sharing video links that are helpful. Students will also enjoy learning through interactive simulation websites like PhET, and virtual labs like those developed by the Ministry of Education, Government of India. Teachers can guide students in using these resources to gain knowledge and apply their learnings.
2. Give Pedagogy a ‘Social’ Twist
Students love social media, and there is no denying it. Why not use social media to improve learning outcomes? Teachers can use social media to increase collaboration among students for assignments and tests. They can gather student feedback through polls, and share interesting tests, assign ‘group’ work, discuss lessons, play games and much more!
3. Experiment with New Teaching Methodologies
The flipped classroom, gamified learning, expeditionary learning, blended learning, … the list of innovative teaching methodologies is extensive. Some of these methodologies are teacher-centred, while others are student-centred. For instance, flipped classroom methodology is teacher-centred while gamification is student-centred. Blended learning incorporates the best features of several teaching methodologies. Teachers can learn more about innovative teaching methodologies most suited to an online environment and incorporate them in their instruction. For example, to incorporate gamification methodology in online learning, you can assign points for individual actions such as answering questions, asking doubts, interacting with teachers, completing tasks, maintaining discipline and so on. Students with the highest points win rewards.
4. Promote Peer Collaboration
Students learn best when they interact with their peers and receive feedback from them. Peer-to-peer interaction happens easily in a traditional classroom environment. But when it comes to online learning, there is often very little or no peer-to-peer interaction. Teachers can promote online interaction among students by assigning virtual group activities and allotting time for online classroom discussions. They can also encourage students to give each other feedback on assignments through message boards or video clips. Such practices will encourage peer learning in an online environment and build a culture of collaboration among students.
5. Educate about Internet Safety
While the internet is a treasure chest of knowledge, its hazards cannot be ignored. When children are encouraged to interact and learn online, they should at the same time be educated about its risks. Teachers can make it a point to discuss the hazards of the internet, things students should be wary of, the appropriate way to conduct oneself on platforms like forums and video calls, how to identify and report cyberbullying, etc.
The internet has transformed the way we learn. While millennials responded to roll calls (remember “present teacher”?), Gen Z is getting used to automated attendance tracking! Millennials were easily excited by something as simple as a PowerPoint slide show on a projector. Gen Z has virtual labs and simulators for hands-on learning. As technology and online teaching apps get increasingly interesting by the day, teachers will have to stay one step ahead. Online learning is the way forward, and yes, it’s here to stay! Are you prepared?