How To Empower Teachers For Remote Supervision Using New-age E-learning Tools
To optimise the benefits of e-learning, for starters, teachers need to be adequately ‘equipped’ - technically and pedagogically.
With the COVID -19-enforced lockdowns, schools and other educational institutions across India rushed to adopt technology solutions to ensure students could continue their studies from home with minimal disruption. Whilst this overnight transition to learn-from-home and teach-from-home was by-and-large smooth, it did come with a few initial challenges.
Online learning or e-learning was new to many students and most teachers - a paradigm shift from traditional classroom learning. In most cases, teachers were less ‘tech-savvy’ than their students, some of whom ‘bullied’ their teachers by digitally disrupting class - muting teachers, sharing memes, logging in with fake names and more.
Despite these initial hiccups, it is now well established that e-learning or online learning has benefits that are likely to make its adoption into our education system a permanent feature. The shift to a future of ‘blended’ learning - digital resources supplementing human elements classroom and beyond - will necessitate new approaches and buy-ins from all stakeholders.
To optimise the benefits of e-learning, for starters, teachers need to be adequately ‘equipped’ - technically and pedagogically. During the lockdown, circumstances forced most teachers to teach-from-home using smartphones. Teaching with smartphones, whilst adequate for ‘live’ sessions, has its limitations when it comes to e-content creation, structuring lesson plans, etc. Educational institutions must equip teachers with suitable hardware - be it laptops, desktops or tablets - for them to deliver effective online teaching.
The other challenge was with digital content creation and curation. There is a lot of high-quality educational content freely available over the internet - be it Government educational sites, Diksha, YouTube, etc. Yet, even free content needs to be properly curated and supported with additional learning resources, tests and assessments, etc. Teachers need to be trained on software applications - to make presentations, create question sets, make home videos, etc. - which will allow for a more complete online learning experience.
Thirdly, the approach to e-learning is different from that of classroom learning. The benefits of e-learning are that it is engaging, enquiry-led and, typically, activity-based. At the same time, long hours in front of a screen leads to fatigue and is not advisable for teachers and students alike. Online sessions need to be shorter, interspersed with activities, with assessments for progress tracking. The ‘flipped classroom’ is an effective way for teachers to ensure that learning is deeper and concepts more well-rooted.
Fourthly, collective efforts by all stakeholder, i.e. school administrators, parents, teachers and students, is essential to define e-learning “Codes of Conduct”. Every school and institution has well-defined codes of conduct for its campuses. The same needs to be extended and adapted to its virtual campus and classrooms. Rules pertaining to student etiquette, decorum when in class, disciplinary action for offenders, etc have to be drawn up and enforced. Rules are also necessary for parents, who at times ‘barge’ into virtual classes, something that would never happen in the physical world.
E-learning is here to stay. A good starting point is to ensure that our teachers and faculty are adequately trained, equipped and empowered as they navigate this pedagogical transition into the world of e-learning and blended learning. Today there are many e-learning or Learning Management Systems (LMS) which minimise the ‘pain’ of this shift. LMS’ that is simple, visual and intuitive, ensuring that teachers do not struggle when curating and uploading e-lessons, creating online assessments, assigning additional learning resources and more. Equally importantly, solutions that are school-branded, highly secure, protecting school data and e-content, and ‘sharing’ some of a teacher’s workload through auto-correction, analytics on student progress, developing corrective learning paths, etc.
We are just at the start of an exciting journey - there will be continued learnings and adaptations as e-learning becomes more widely adopted and mainstream. As George Couros, a well-known author and educator, rightly said, “Technology WILL NOT REPLACE great teachers, but technology IN THE HANDS of great teachers can be transformational”.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
Around The World