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Like it or not, online education is here to stay for better or worse. In this already ever-changing world, covid-19 has brought in even more rapid changes than anyone could have assumed. But of course, like all things, people don’t just get it right in one go. There are lots of things we can improve on and we’ll highlight them here.
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This is how we can Improve Online Education
1. The Quick Transition
A big problem faced initially is the fast transition to online education. Most institutions had not practiced online education at all before the covid-19 pandemic. As a result, almost no one had the necessary equipment and software prepared. And when everyone started going into lockdown, institutions rushed. To get their online classes up and running. Before giving the teachers adequate training on how to take online classes. So, there is a takeaway. That, giving teachers proper training on how to use necessary software and control virtual class environments is an important factor.
2. Communication in online education
Like with many aspects of life, communication is key here as well. The principle is the same for both physical and virtual classroom. That is, keep the students engaged and interested so that they don’t lose focus. It is well established now that the human brain cannot concentrate for more than 45 minutes in one go. And as for younger students that period is even shorter. So short videos might be the way to go here rather than lengthy videos which later becomes monotonous. And lastly, another method of keeping the students engaged in online education is team assignments. Giving them assignments that they have to turn in as a group is a good way to start this. This keeps communication alive and also encourages collaboration through web, and mobile medium.
3. Developing trust between students and teachers before education
This might get pushed down in the list because of other priorities. But the importance of developing the trust between students and teachers cannot be stretched enough. When you are in a physical environment there are many subtle ways for a teacher. To connect and encourage a student. For example a simple smile or high five maybe, when the student has done a great job. This may not sound much but appreciation from teachers gives the students a much-needed confidence boost for their education. And helps them perform better in the long run. Since this is harder to do in a virtual environment, it is good to start with commenting personalized feedbacks. For them. Whenever they turn in their work. And also other simple things like asking them how their day was before a class starts.
4. Online etiquettes
Many younger students might not be familiar with the norms of a digital classroom. As they have been studying in a physical environment for all their life. So, teach them the online etiquettes like muting whenever they’re not speaking in class. And using the ‘raise hand’ feature before speaking out. And also other etiquettes like what sort of attire should they be in before joining a class. This will dramatically make the class education more disciplined when all the students get the hang of these common online etiquettes.
Videos are your best friend. This is the widespread culture of YouTube, Netflix, or other popular video platforms. Now, students normally spend a decent chunk of their time watching anyways so watching a video on a study-related topic should be of second nature to them. And not just that, seeing short videos with various graphs and diagrams significantly boost the understanding capability of a student. It’s very easy now with platforms like Google Classroom to give YouTube videos in the class feed so students can watch a video before joining the class. This will also make the class more effective in return. And lastly, going to different sites and watching educational videos for class increases student’s digital proficiency and at this time and age, this is one of the most important skills to have.
6. Lesson Plan
Lesson plans and schedule needs to be tweaked for maximum efficiency. Chances are, teachers haven’t thought of these yet and are sticking to the conventional ways. The lesson plan has to be broken down into smaller chunks. And as for the schedule, a clear boundary needs to be set from the teacher to both students and parents. Because everyone is at home, it is easy to overlap the time of studying with personal time. So the importance of maintaining a consistent schedule is high. Teachers should let students know beforehand when to contact them, when to expect feedback and grades. And the same thing with their parents. Parents should be notified when they can contact the teachers for any queries and whatnot. This manages everyone’s expectations. And creates a disciplined environment instead of students asking teachers questions about are they available or when they will receive their grades.
There’s a previous article from us about virtual reality which discusses the seemingly limitless potential of VR tech. And it’s no exception in the field of education as well. The human brain retains 90% of the information that is done or stimulated. Which makes VR one of the most exciting technology in the field of education. From science-based studies to outer space, the potential of teaching with VR is endless.
So there’s a scope for teachers to get very creative here. Some creative and fun uses with VR may include field trips to different planets. To teach younger students the solar system or field trips to underwater destinations to explore the oceanic life. I can’t think of a single student who would rather learn about fishes from books than visiting the underwater life themselves in a virtual environment and then learning. So this is undoubtedly a powerful tool if institutions can manage to make it accessible to the student.
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