Education is going through a whirlwind change. These changes are happening too fast and too soon. The race by educational institutions to digitize their schools and colleges, to reach out to students through various home assignments and ‘lockdown activities’ has given very little time to institutions to think about the effects of online learning. An assessment of the pre-required tools to go digital, available resources and most importantly, the ‘mind-set change’ is the need of the hour.
Even if physical resources are easily fixed, it takes an incredible amount of time and energy to change thought processes. Let us delve deeper into these changes in mindset that is more crucial to cope with these revolutionising times.
Children as active learners-
For years, we have conditioned our students to be passive seekers of knowledge. By providing timetables, schedules, course materials, notes, etc. we have made our students much too dependent on external sources of knowledge. Now suddenly, we have put our students in a place where their self-discipline comes to the forefront. Indeed, online classes do require a great deal of discipline, self-motivation and a self – drive. Distractions for the child are plenty. As the child goes through his or her online classes, they may have chat windows open with parallel communications with friends, other devices and other windows draw their attention simultaneously. Parents can be vigilantes for a few classes but they cannot ensure their presence throughout. In such situations, the discipline of the child is of utmost importance.
Further, most online classes have limitations of time, bandwidth, and technology. However, students can overcome this by making an effort to do some self-research and self-study. If you think about it, this holds true even in the case of real, physical classes. Real learning takes place through research when the student reaches out for further information on the topic. Spending time at university libraries, course materials were a norm earlier. Today, students have easier accessibility to a variety of credible material, online.
Pedagogical shift in schools-
This gives an opportunity for schools to prepare students for college-level learning where Theses, Research Papers, and Presentations are an inevitable portion of procuring a college degree. The excitement and the yearning for such type of learning opportunity need to be developed in children as far as possible. Skills-based learning, vocational training, soft – skills training are some of the areas that educational institutions can tap into during these times.
It is high time that schools move to more relevant areas of teaching. Covid-19 has presented us with many opportunities. If we exploit these opportunities the right way and in the right direction, we can create a generation that is employable, job-ready, highly trained and self – aware. Afterall all, these are 21st Century traits of our Future- citizens.