Written by Dhriti Guruprasad, a grade 11 student
May 1st, 2020 was my first online class and for some odd reason it didn’t give me the same adrenaline rush I’d get from waking up at 5 o’clock and fighting with my sister about who got to use the bathroom first and how quickly we ate our breakfast only to make it in time to catch the school bus.
When we were told via a message that we had reached the next level of our educational journey, but only to attend the class through a glass screen! It gave me a very tech savvy teenager feeling. But alas! It wasn’t as amazing as I had imagined it would be. Not being able to see my friends or hear them because all our microphone’s and videos were turned off and the only sounds heard were the perfectly timed YES MA’AM’S were a few of the highlights of my online education experience or should I say journey.
Akin to junk food getting healthy, online education is never going to be as effective as classroom teaching, but as they say necessity is the mother of invention, this was the only way ahead to keep us educated and help us keep learning.
Sure the good old school had its advantages but one thing that the online classes have is that, I could get up and sit in front of the screen literally a minute before school and it wouldn’t make a difference. Which got me thinking that the education system will not be able to handle such a major lifestyle change so why not take things more practically than theoretically?
Rather than verbose theoretical classes, online classes should deal with more practical, realistic and interesting case studies which could help the students relate better to their subjects.
During my math class I learned about something called sets which obviously didn’t excite me because numero uno, I kept responding to a screen and not an actual, living, breathing human that would encourage and push me to give an answer. And second how effective will it ever be to learn 11th grade math’s on a screen?
So I came across the idea of credits which is very similar to what is followed by the education system in the USA. Basically, it promotes self learning among children. If a child in the 9th grade decides to start with the subjects of 10th grade side by side, he/she should be given extra credits which could be in the form of a few extra marks on the internal assessment which are approved by the principal.
Secondly, one on one counseling sessions with children should be organized when a child requests it. This way if he/she is going through trouble at home mentally, emotionally or physically the counselor will be able to provide at least some assistance. Apart from this the schools should take it upon themselves to organize online competitions for art, singing, dancing, etc. Basically anything that takes the students’ mind off of the ongoing situation.
The number one concern for all the parents has now probably become the excessive screen time in the name of education and school. But this screen time could turn productive when the students find new ways to learn via different resources on the internet which are both informative and interesting.
Talking about screen time and devices such as smart phones, I Pads, laptops, etc I realized that Some children with poor financial backgrounds and lack of such facilities can be provided assistance in the form of letting them borrow the desktops or pc’s from the school for a temporary period of time so that all students has access to the online classes. Just.
When we talk about the internet part of it, only 36% of the Indian population has access to the internet, according to the India Internet 2019 report by IAMAI and Nielsen. A solution to which could be telecommunications company stepping up to offer free data to those children in need so that they are able to access internet to complete or access education. Doordarshan is planning to overcome issues related to internet connections, etc by introducing classes which will be broadcasted on television in accordance with the CBSE, state boards, ICSE and IB formats respectively.
It is but imperative for the teachers also to change their style of teaching for the online classes, whilst we can emphasize with our teachers that their reflexes won’t be the same as teaching in a class filled with truant students, here it is more of a monologue and watching a bare screen with little or no life.
To also improve the social interaction among students which they will be clearly lacking at the moment, they can be divided into groups or cohorts who amongst themselves could work on practical projects and assignments given. This would not only enhance virtual online interaction with a peer group, it would also provide the much required respite for us students to have fun with our peer group while working on our academic.
Although nothing will ever compare to the feel good factor of home cooked food, it is no match for the begging and borrowing that goes into collecting those 10 rupees to buy a samosa. Some experiences like running to the field because we’re late to the assembly or running out of class the moment the bell rang indicating that the most precious games period had arrived.
In the times to come the way the education system will function is found to change. Why not be a part of that change?
Written by Dhriti Guruprasad, a grade 11 student
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