What schools learned because of Covid 19

The coronavirus pandemic has transformed education around the world. With the sudden shift away from conventional learning, schools, colleges and other educational institutions have recognized the importance of implementing in-person and student-centred remote/hybrid learning.  

 

As the shift to new learning methods was sudden and unpredicted, teachers and students struggled to move ahead and continue education. However, they soon realized that there are structures like online learning and hybrid learning that would help to continue education, maintain connections and carry on with daily routines. 

 

The development of learning with the help of technology through non-traditional spaces has opened a new area for active learning. Instructors can adapt many new strategies to interact, participate, and collaborate.

 

Even though the pandemic has created unforeseen challenges, it has also created stronger remote learning technology and positive changes in teaching methods. 

Unknown technologies prior to Covid-19

The rapid expansion of online education has placed many faculties dependent on cutting edge educational technology. However, several technology solutions supported online learning and virtual collaboration even before the pandemic. These technologies helped in continuing education during the sudden transition to virtual education. Here are some of the most trusted and widely used applications that facilitate online learning:

 

Google meet, Zoom, and Microsoft teams.

 

Google meet, Zoom, and Microsoft teams are popular cloud-based online video conferencing tools that help users stay connected and fulfil their video calling needs. 

 

Google’s video conferencing app, google meet, is an easy to use video conferencing app that can be integrated with Google products like google calendar and google workspace. 

 

Zoom is another great video conferencing tool that has been most widely used for virtual education. It offers a lot of meeting functionalities and some integration too. 

 

Microsoft Teams, the video conferencing solution from Microsoft, helps host meetings with the participants. The software is fully integrated with Office 365 and includes integrated tools like Word, PowerPoint, OneNote etc. 

 

These applications help organize live video conferencing and conduct meetings with multiple participants. They also have additional collaboration tools like screen sharing, screen recording, captions, instant messages, file sharing etc. The pricing package of these applications includes both free and premium plans, and the total number of people who join the meeting can depend on the plan you have opted for. 

Google Classroom

A free edition software from Google is exclusively designed for teaching and learning. The end-user can access it from anywhere, on any device at any time. Google classroom enriches teaching and learning processes by offering exciting features like syncing classroom rosters from a student information system, easy switching from class to assignment to student, analytics, tracking student progress, scheduling assignments, automatic notifications, personalized learning features and security features. The application also offers easy integration with other Google products like google forms, docs, sheets etc.

Electronic reference materials

Educational electronic reference materials are those online tools that help enhance students’ education. These materials include electronic resources like e-books, web articles, journals, scholarly literature, online encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesaurus, audiobooks, streaming videos etc. Many vendors make such resources accessible online to support the educational activities of students. There are free and paid versions available; however, most of them come at free of cost. A great advantage of these resources is that the students can access them on any device at any time. 

The transition from Offline conventional education to online teaching & learning

The pandemic has shown us the impact of an unexpected crisis on the education sector. As social distancing was made mandatory, schools were forced to shut down, and it became impossible to conduct classes in the normal way. The closure resulted in an unplanned shift from traditional learning to virtual & online education. 

 

Students, teachers and parents accepted the Digital mode of learning. It has brought new opportunities and advanced learning tactics that helped in saving time & resources and making the teaching & learning process more interactive and fun-filled. Ed-tech tools are designed with user friendly and easy to use platforms, so the users won’t have a problem utilizing them. 

 

The internet has helped in personalizing education. It has made education an individually determined process. Online & virtual education has offered the students the freedom of where they learn and how they learn. With the internet facilitating smart learning and digitization of educational activities, users’ performance has improved, which shows promising potential for the future of education. 

 

However, the major barrier in online education is the availability of the internet in remote areas. Students in many rural areas of India do not have access to the internet and personal computers. These technology solutions are crucial for digital education. As the government and school authorities started implementing strategies to solve such difficulties and foster equality in access, delivering online education became a cost-effective and easily accessible solution during the crisis. 

The Importance of Integrated School Software Solutions

The above explanations show us how the internet, digital content and electronic media help in strengthening education. Let’s now explore the benefits of an integrated software solution to the school community.

 

In this era of digitization, every educational institution needs to incorporate tech tools that facilitate easy management of entire school operations, students, staff and teachers. Many technologies like video conferencing apps, payroll management systems etc., are designed for digitizing school activities. However, most such programs serve a single and specific need. So, it is obvious that an integrated solution is required for managing multiple activities of a school daily. 

 

An integrated school software solution is a software package that integrates multiple functions into one solution and digitally transforms entire school operations in less time with great accuracy. These systems are designed to automate and manage all administrative and non-administrative tasks such as admissions, attendance, assessment, learning process, communication, academics, remote learning, payroll, fee collection, transportation and student records. The applications can be easily integrated with other technology systems. 

 

Skoolbeep offers easy to use and integrated systems that provide interactive technology solutions for managing all day-to-day activities of an institution. Our applications are built with customized user roles and various features that help improve learning outcomes and digitize school operations. With our cloud-based single platform, an institution can easily facilitate school-parent communication, conduct online classes and streamline a smooth flow of information.

Evolution of technology during the pandemic

Technology is a powerful ally for educators, especially in student assessments and measuring learning outcomes. Even before the pandemic that led to virtual education, there were educational technology solutions that facilitated online learning and school management. The educators used them for formative assessments and daily interactions.

 

However, since the outbreak of Covid-19, distant education is no longer a choice, it is a necessity. Ensuring learning continuity became a priority for educational institutions to access online learning. Teachers were immediately tasked with implementing virtual 

learning modalities. Web-based applications have become useful tools of communication. 

 

As the access to the internet has increased, so has demand for education apps. There has been a huge increase in the number of ed-tech users. Even while educational technology has been around, the global lockdown is undoubtedly the driving force for its adoption in recent years. The adoption of education technology that could have taken several years in normal circumstances has accelerated due to covid shutdowns and disruption in the education sector. Increased usage by parents, teachers, school authorities, and students marks growth. 

 

The sudden shift to distance learning has been a real opportunity to expand flexible learning methods, creating an area for sustained shift and positively transforming education, even after the pandemic ends. 

Personal interactions and non-verbal communication/Difficulty in coordinating students in online classes

For the school community, adjusting to the new mode of education can be challenging. One of the major challenges includes the lack of social interaction between the students. Another challenge is how to handle students while taking online classes. Students who need physical attention can face difficulties with online schooling. 

 

The continuous growth of online education leads to a decline in non-verbal communication. The online learning mode is less interactive, and it is harder to know the participants’ body language. Some instructors can feel a lack of connection while handling online classes. Such a gap can create misinterpretation, lack of interest and poor teaching & learning experience. 

 

In terms of face to face mode of communication, non-verbal communication refers to the interaction beyond words and texts. It includes the transmission of messages through non-verbal means such as body movements, facial expressions, gestures, physical touch, eye movement etc. 

 

While in electronic means, apart from the above-mentioned examples, non-verbal communication can also be in the form of illustrations, pictographs, emoticons, GIFs etc., sent as text messages and emails. 

 

This shows that non-verbal communication is not getting lost in the digital world. 

 

Both verbal and non-verbal communication has their roles in building relationships, connecting people and getting the audience engaged. 

 

Instructors can use video conferencing tools to enhance communication with the students. It is advisable to maintain eye contact and use correct body postures & hand gestures while sitting in front of the camera to become more interactive, and students can feel the connection. 

Role of online teachers

Teaching online is different from conventional methods of teaching. While the primary function is providing education to the students, teachers should be well prepared to meet the challenges of virtual education. They are required to change their teaching mode by providing personalized education and adapting to the schedules of sessions. 

 

An online tutor is responsible for becoming a proper role model to guide the students through the online learning experience. Digital literacy is a must for both teachers and students. Teachers must educate students and themselves with the latest tools utilized in online education. They must continuously assess students’ progress and identify the learning gaps. Students need to be given various assignments and chances of collaboration. To improve each student’s performance, it is also important to report student assessment data to the parents and school administrators. 

 

In the virtual model of education, teachers will have to plan and adjust their work time according to their assigned tasks. However, even though online education brings new responsibilities to the teachers, it also deprives them of certain responsibilities. In online learning, students become more independent. For example, they benefit from getting all the information instantly at their fingertips, which decreases their dependence on teachers. 

 

As online education is device-based, the lectures can be live or pre-recorded. It can be rewritten or re-recorded over and over again. This provides a chance to reduce their burden and maintain a record of the tutoring sections. Students also get the benefit of playing, watching or reading the content again and again. 

 

Online learning tools help automate and record-keeping activities such as attendance management, student behaviour analytics, scheduling, timetable management, etc. This reduces the burden of teachers in managing their daily activities.

 

Technology also enhanced government-teacher support and active participation from the parents and administrators in improving education, which helped teachers better support the education of students. 

 

The internet has made it easy to access a wide variety of e-content for education created and distributed through electronic media. They include e-notebooks, images, videos, blogs, games, animations, surveys, polling/quizzes, documents, presentations, podcasts, audiobooks and many more. Students are more inclined to find information through smartphones and computers. Thus the use of digital content can easily enhance education. 

 

However, in order to get their full attention, the education content delivered should be interactive and entertaining. So, the educators must be putting effort into researching and developing digital resources for teaching and learning. A simple google search can help discover and develop the content required for online teaching. Teachers can also use offline tools or the tools available on the internet to create their own content.

 

In virtual learning, students can get easily distracted. Using content in different forms can help in minimizing distractions. For example, an interactive section like animated videos or games after a lecture will grasp the attention of the students and keep them engaged. 

 

Each student might have his/her style of learning. Some might easily learn by hearing, while others need reading and writing. Presenting educational sessions by catering to the different learning styles will help draw students’ attention and achieve teaching goals. 

Managing academic pressure during the covid crisis

Online education was chosen as a better option to continue education amidst the crisis. However, the beginning of virtual education has brought stress and anxiety among students and teachers. Teachers suffered from academic pressures like adapting to class timings, learning the technology side, role conflicts, managing students and putting in more work to create lessons on various platforms. 

 

Virtual education has increased the workload of teachers. But with the latest ed-tech tools and students ability to learn new technology, teachers’ adaptation to virtual education has happened relatively fast. 

 

Online education has also made it possible for teachers to organize classes in the comfort of their homes. They are not required to travel to the school premises & this contributes to saving time, which can be utilized to increase their productivity. 

 

Virtual education requires the cooperation of students, teachers and parents. Latest ed-tools have enabled effective collaboration from all such participants.

Online education & physical activities

Apart from providing curriculum-based education, schools offer opportunities to engage in activities that support an individual’s physical and mental health. Such activities can reduce stress and promote physical & emotional wellbeing. 

 

Online teaching resulted in reduced physical activities. It became difficult to conduct activities like sports and cultural fests with schools being closed. Lack of sunlight and exercise has made the problem even worse.

 

Decreased physical activity can affect the emotional health of a person and lead to various health problems that include cardiovascular diseases, obesity and muscle spasms. 

 

To integrate physical activity in virtual learning, teachers can advise the students about the importance of physical activities and movement. They can recommend the children practice basic stretches or other indoor exercises. Parents can also encourage their children to get indulged in such physical activities to ensure that they stay active.

Parent’s involvement in online education

Parent involvement can be a real challenge in virtual education. In classroom education, parents could attend schools with their kids. They can make classroom observations and close scrutiny of teachers’ performance by visiting their child’s school. Most schools conduct regular parent-teacher meetings to ensure a two-way flow of information regarding student performance. 



Schools started implementing various technology solutions to solve this issue and improve communication in virtual education. They include conducting virtual meetings, email communication, SMS, and implementing school ERP systems. School enterprise solutions come with parent portals and various unique features that provide instant communication and quick updates on student and school-related activities.  

 

The active and ongoing participation of parents in education improves student behaviour and helps them achieve academic goals. Parents need to familiarize themselves with their child’s new learning environment to get involved. 

 

They can provide technical assistance to their kids and check their daily activities like attendance, assignments, behaviour in the classes and class schedules. They should also be conducting regular supervisions of their child’s activities and assist in completing the academic tasks.

 

Indulging in the child’s activities helps them settle at one point, get motivated to listen to the classes and focus on their work, especially when the teacher is not present. With regular supervision of children’s activities and increased communication with the teachers, parents become more confident in providing necessary support to their kids and getting the most out of the online learning experience.

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