At Delhi govt school principals’ meet, focus on ways to improve blended learning
Preparing digital educational content in local languages, recording audio lessons for those with limited internet data, introducing rotation and flipped learning, upgrading internet facilities in schools, and the need for more IT assistants in schools -- these were some of the matters related to blended learning that were discussed by government school principals during an ongoing leadership programme.
The discussions have been organised as a part of the monthly cluster leadership development programme for government school principals by the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT). The September session focuses on “building an understanding of possibilities in blended learning and roles”, understanding the new initiatives by Directorate of Education, and building a ”space of listening with teachers”. Both principals and mentor teachers took part in the discussions.
Reflecting on the lessons from the Covid-19 crisis, principals said since the pandemic has given the push towards online learning, schools are likely to continue with the practice in the post-pandemic era as well.
Awadhesh Kumar Jha, head of Sarvodaya Co-ed Vidyalaya in Sector 8, Rohini, said, “Covid allowed us to adopt online learning practices and going forward, we plan to continue these because they provide students a means to learn at their own pace. They can refer to the content at their own pace. These practices have also improved self-learning among students who are much more comfortable with finding learning content online and using them for coursework.”
Jha, however, pointed out a concern as well– lack of access to data and internet among government school students who mostly come from economically weaker sections of society. “Our students have either feature phones or low-end smartphones which don’t have enough memory space. Storing the content becomes a problem. Our teachers often switch to audio notes while explaining worksheets as they occupy lesser space,” he said.
Going forward, he plans to introduce more learning content in “local languages” so that students find the content easier to grasp. “We have been putting out videos and plan to do so more frequently in local languages so that students can connect with teachers at a greater level,” he said.
Several principals from areas such as Mayur Vihar, Dwarka, Sangam Vihar, Jafrabad, Najafgarh, Ramesh Nagar also said while it was challenging to adopt online learning given their meagre resources, it will benefit students who are going to graduate into an increasingly digital world.
Leena Asthana, principal of Government Girls’ Senior Secondary School no.4 in Molarband, said she has been encouraging her teachers to have their own YouTube channels where they can post learning content.
“Many of my teachers already have YouTube channels. They take offline classes for students at school and record or livestream those classes using their phones and tripods. Students who cannot attend school for various reasons can refer to these lessons. We also use the flipped classroom and rotation learning for our smart classes. In order to continue with blended learning, we need to upgrade internet facilities in school to offer high-speed internet to teachers and students. Our current broadband connection does not cover all classes and teachers face network issues. Schools will also need to provide more IT assistants as well for troubleshooting,” she said.
Government school principal Sukhbir Singh Yadav, president of Vice and Principals’ Association of Delhi and one of the CLDP facilitators, said a lot of teaching days are lost in Delhi to pollution and extreme temperatures during summers and winters. Online learning will be useful on such days, he said.
“Online classes cannot be an alternative for in-person teaching. We realised this when students returned to classrooms recently. However, a few technological tools such as smart boards and multimedia computers with projectors can supplement classroom learning. Often, teaching days are lost to extreme temperatures in summer and winter, or to pollution. Now, we can take up online learning during those days.”