Is Online Education The New Normal?

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The COVID 19 lockdown seems unending and everyone has found a solution to tackle the new normal. The Internet has been a boon always, but during this pandemic, it has become a godsend blessing as well.

The usage of online services has been boosted overnight. Service providers are taking the utmost care by sanitizing and providing people with their basic needs like groceries, day to day requirements, and medical facilities. Online stores have taken over from brick and mortar stores until things come back to normal.

Many service providers are providing online courses for yoga, art and craft activities, painting, storytelling sessions for kids, lectures for students, people are even learning languages in short courses in this lockdown. Youtube food videos and trying various cuisines have become common in lockdown.

Recently I read, fashion houses will be starting online fashion shows with participants walking the ramp in their house, and self-recording would be one of the mediums.

As summer vacations are over and the beginning of the rainy season is usually the start of schools, many have started online learning for children. Pre-recorded audiovisuals have been shared on the school website and with the help of login ids and passwords, parents can log in as per their convenience to educate the child. Lectures in high schools and colleges are replaced by skype calls or zoom calls.

There are many advantages of online learning.

It is a fun medium wherein good visuals make a great impact on learning. Visual stimulation helps in the effective acquisition of information. As toddlers are done playing with the same toys for over the months, toy rotation hasn’t been helping much. Parents are out of activities for kids. Visual learning with colorful cartoons and musical learning attracts the attention of kids. It can help in keeping them glued to learning. Visuals help in explaining concepts with better examples.

Though the whole concept of E-learning can be challenging for teachers. As they are used to referring to handwritten notes, this lockdown has made them redo all their homework and keep notes handy. Setting lesson plans and investing more time with the resources available to make e-learning productive is not easy. E-learning has put teachers under the scrutiny of the students as well as parents who can watch them deliver their lectures.

For preschool kids, it is better to encourage kids to learn and play in the traditional ways. Involve them in your daily routine, teach them basic chopping, peeling, or baking. Tidying up their toys after playing and folding clothes after they have been dried. Indoor games like carrom, cards, chess, Jenga, Pictionary, and business world are fun for children. Involving parents or grandparents can be a fun time for all.Parents should not blindly follow the trend of sending their kids to various activities and instead invest more time in their child’s development. This is the time, they are going to get more involved and bonded with the family.

I have always strived hard to keep my 4-year old away from online media all this time. It is just another type of addiction if allowed to continue unhindered. De-addiction from online learning/gaming can be a difficult task. Many parents like me have invested their time in their child and kept them away from laptops, mobile phones, iPads and it has been very challenging to keep a child engaged all day. The switch of learning through laptops and not having a personal touch is a big disadvantage for kids. Kids have been kept away with the thought that it spoils eyesight and is an addiction, and due to this epidemic, one has to convince them as a way of learning.

My Aunt is a professor in an engineering college. I took her feedback about how different or difficult it is than normal classroom teaching. She said, ” Technology support is a good thing. We can use images, videos, and audio to explain and demonstrate certain points. But only technology can’t give you the human touch and so we miss the real fun of interaction. And so we make decisions based on the students’ response and their facial expressions. I support that around 30 to 40% should be online learning. It keeps us engaged for more time. But online assessment in the form of multiple-choice questions and short answers are easier to carry out with the help of suitable software. Another drawback of this is that students will forget to write anything with a pen or pencil and long answers too”.

There are few Disadvantages of online learning.
– Lack of discipline.
– No personal touch while learning.
– Investment of parents’ time.
– Everyone needs to cope up and be on the same page while learning or one can fall back.
– There is no two-way communication.
– Less practical teaching and more into theoretical.
In my opinion worksheets or notes can be a better option, than teaching online.

Lockdown has forced everyone to adapt to this unusual way of learning. Despite the advantages and disadvantages and likes or dislikes, this is the new normal and there is no choice apart from accepting and adjusting to it.