YourSpace: Virtual learning is a safe option now, say Pune readers
The coronavirus situation has forced the shift towards online classes. Is online education the best way to assess a child’s academic progress? What are the pros and cons of brick-and-mortar and virtual classrooms? Readers share their take on the ‘homebound’ form of educationUpdated: Aug 02, 2020 16:31 IST
The coronavirus situation has forced the shift towards online classes. Is online education the best way to assess a child’s academic progress? What are the pros and cons of brick-and-mortar and virtual classrooms? Readers share their take on the ‘homebound’ form of education...
Redesign entire system
Covid-19 has given us time to rethink and redesign our education system. What is important for our kids nowadays, what they have to learn or understand for survival. The online education can be a substitute for a few days but can’t be a reality as it impacts on an individual in different ways. For living a healthy life, not only food but our surroundings and environment are equally important. Online classes will never be a healthier or fruitful option for human beings as it will somehow stop our thinking and understanding ability. It will affect our nature and behaviour as well. The kids in the future will never be caring, sharing or supportive. Never understand the value of happiness, sadness, fighting and friendship. For being a good human, we need to understand others. And that can’t be possible without meeting each other and when kids are stopped from going to school due to this pandemic. How can we all assure that they are learning the right things or we are nurturing them in a proper manner is the main issue? It will create more depression in our upcoming generation which will affect our future and at the same time our country’s progress. As per my understanding, virtual schools can be a part of our life for some time but never be a reality.
An alternative, not a norm
Online education may be one of the alternatives but shouldn’t be made mandatory. It is not possible for a single family to arrange smartphones or computers for every child in the family. Online education may only give expertise in technology but will reduce the practical, moral and physical movements of the body. Online studies will bring a lot of restrictions on everyone. As a small kid, it is very difficult to cope with such methods of studies. Also, we cannot exclude the fact that the internet is a privilege for many students. So just like there are provisions for minimum ration, a minimum data allowance for everyone should be mandatory. It should be made sure that technology reaches every village and every household if we are thinking about normalising online education.
Maintaining class decorum a problem
With the Covid-19 situation still bothering us, we feel helpless but have moved on with Work from home for adults and online classes for kids. But the only question that arises here is how much are we really benefitting from all this?
Though we have come up with ways to keep the kids occupied, online classes seem to be taking a toll over the kids. They are exposed to screen time which parents would avoid as it might affect their eyes. Burning sensation in the eyes and watering of eyes are a few common symptoms. Teachers are also struggling as dealing with children virtually does make much sense, especially for children who are poor in academics. Internet connectivity issues, power cuts are the other problems we have to deal with. Maintaining class decorum is not possible in a virtual situation but the children are adapting themselves to the situation.
Definitely it’s going to be difficult to assess the child’s academic progress because most teachers find parents prompting the children with the correct answer when it comes to online classes. The child is just learning without understanding the concepts thoroughly. So yes, in a way virtual classes are a boon and bane as well.
Teachers are also stressed to find new methods to engage the attention of the student since being at home the child’s concentration is diverted. With time and new technology, we will be able to do a better job. Once the initial teething stage is overcome hopefully there will be a vast improvement. Till then do the best with what you have.
D Fernandes - Shewale
Online tech not bad, balance is key
In a normal situation, before the pandemic, we let technology take over our daily routine quite gradually, but perpetually. It did not occur to us before today, that we have a zillion apps explaining concepts to students, or informing parents about their ward’s progress, that we’re escalating so quickly in this domain- we have the wings of technology to fly. But right now, it’s all happening in our absolute focus. It’s no more peripheral.
Virtual classrooms are the future. But is it thoroughly bad? I don’t think so. Yes, the screen time will increase and you can never replace the good old socializing between students in person. But learning might become convenient, with the children comfortable in their own space. Constraints of long learning hours can be replaced with interspersed learning and self-exploration. Yet, the role of a teacher is indispensable. Virtual classrooms can be a challenge for teachers who aren’t used to technology, but choosing technology over their share of experience and expertise cannot be called development. Hence, the focus should be on teachers’ training, not on their replacement. What is ‘normal’ today was not normal yesterday, and hence, we cannot expect tomorrow to be like today either. Change is the only constant, and we have to strive to maintain a balance between technology and older values.
Teacher-student interaction missing
As the Covid-19 pandemic has caught us all off-guard, I agree that the situation and time we are dealing with, there is a need to opt for virtual learning class. But, as per my opinion, classroom teaching is preferred over the virtual classes. As daily interaction between teachers and students help them not only to complete their syllabus easily but also helps them to learn another aspect of life such as moral, discipline and this further teaches them how to deal in real life with the people in a society. Adding to this, classroom learning will always remain the key priority as it helps one to be in a disciplined life and it is the best way to impart and share knowledge and education. Wherein, virtual learning provides a good substitute for classroom learning in the current situation where everything is shut due to Covid-19 pandemic. But, along with this, it comes with other distractions as well, as children also try to surf other sites once they are done with the class, and this might have bad impact on their eyes due to continuous gaze on a computer or phone screen. Both virtual learning and classroom learning have their own importance, as the current situation is the best example where students are still learning without hindrance or gap in their education.
Kids’ screen time has increased
Virtual classes are here to stay for a while till the schools reopen. I am a mother of a 15-year-old and can see how these virtual classes are affecting my child. I do understand that at times like these this is the only option and as a parent we too want our child to be safe at home and don’t want to worry about them, hoping it normalises soon as it’s taking a toll on them.
My child is in class 10 and has board pressures so it gets further tricky. He spends the whole day in front of the computer screen. He has his school classes and then his tuitions all are virtual. He complains of his eyes hurting, backache and at times eats his meals in front of the computer.
The discipline of the day has taken a back seat as there is no scheduled time for bath, food or relaxing or any other routine. Since they aren’t going out of the house they have started to get hooked on to the games on the computer and phones. When they aren’t studying they join their friends playing games on the screen. One can say the kids are 90 per cent of their time stuck to the screen. If this goes on for a longer time we will have the same physical and mental problems that an adult has who works on computer full day .
Schedule online classes for class 5 and above
I agree that online classes should be taken but only from class 5 to class 10. Online classes are not that helpful for children till class 4 and parents have told kids not to use phone and other electronic gadgets because it is harmful to eyes. How we can force them to study for hours on mobile or tablet. Many schools are only taking online study to take heavy fees from parents.
Health is wealth, safety first
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to begin online teaching. In the interest of students’ health, we shifted to online teaching. I feel in order to keep our students safe, it’s best they are at home and we continue with online teaching. There are pros and cons to the virtual classroom. As a teacher, I feel we have lost the personal touch. At the end of the day, we do not enjoy job satisfaction, which we did earlier. From a student’s perspective, they began online learning enthusiastically, but now they are losing interest. and become moody at times. All said and done, the need of the hour is to be safe and health is wealth.