How many times have we heard students asking, “Why do we learn calculus or theorems? Where do we apply or use it in the real
Is online learning the future? In the past, if you wanted to get a qualification, or even simply learn something new, you would sign up for courses at a bricks-and-mortar institution, pay any relevant fees, and then physically attend class. That was until the online learning revolution started. Let us look at some History on how online Education has evolved. Evolution of distance learning through Postal service The concept of distance learning or correspondence learning started when US postal service was developed somewhere in 19th century. To present you with few facts, in 1873, the first official correspondence Education Program called “Society to encourage home studies” was established in Boston, Massachusetts. Later in 1911, University of Queensland founded its department of Correspondence Studies. Both these establishment relied on Postal department. Later, many universities across the World, started offering distance learning. Postal service became a wonderful medium to deliver the course materials for learning purpose. They became mediators between learner and college. Slowly, Television became delivery medium for distance learning. In 1953 the University of Houston made distance learning history by offering the first televised college classes on KUHT (today called HoustonPBS), which was the first public television station in the United States. Many of the courses aired in the evening so that learners who worked during the day had time to view the material. Even now, in our country, there are many courses for High school children that are being offered through Doordarshan channels on Television. On to the age of online learning through Internet Today, the same distance education program has become more sophisticated and reliable through internet. The distance education is digitalized and re-named as “Online Learning”. Elite institutions around the World are offering legitimate online programs to earn degrees. Online learning, brought education to people who wouldn’t previously have been able to attend a college due to geographical or time constraints. People were able to enrich their lives by earning degrees that can be obtained in their own pace. Educational Institutes are able to reach wider audience. Online learning is not just to earn degrees. Many businesses in the early 2000s began using e-learning to train their employees. New and experienced workers had the opportunity to improve upon their industry knowledge and expand their skill sets. So, we can say that online learning is not a new concept, but evolved across the years. And, currently online learning is applicable to everyone, right from school going children to College students to Working professionals. The growth of online education has not been without challenges. It is being criticized for its apparent lack of quality control, particularly the scarcity of high-quality teachers. It’s also been said that online learning deprives students of some of the benefits of being in a classroom, such as teacher-student interaction, as well as other things such as a reliable internet connection and electricity supply. But, everything has its own advantages & disadvantages. All, we have to do is to improve it constantly, so that the advantages become more than the disadvantages. For example, lack of traditional classroom feature is a disadvantage, but this can be compensated by giving flexibility in timings and low cost. Students can access their “classroom” recordings whenever they want, allowing them to review lessons at their convenience. The one-on-one lessons that are often part of online education have taken teacher-student interaction to a new level, which makes the training unique and valuable. Let us look at the current education ecosystem in light of the pandemic and the unprecedented impact created by the same. The Covid-19 Impact on online Learning “A lot has changed in the last 7 months” would be an understatement. Lifestyles have been revamped, schedules have been shifted, businesses have taken a hit and children are now attending classes from the comfort of their own homes. Which then poses the question, is online learning the future? So, the answer may be subjective as there are a lot of pros and cons to pay heed to. While many parents are concerned about the nature of online classes, some of them appreciate the essence of learning being so easy. With the rise of technology, the concept of traditional education has changed drastically. A course that’s being taught in an educational institution thousands of miles away can now easily be learnt online. As long as one has access to a computer or any electronic device as such, they can easily be exposed to quality education wherever they are and whenever they want. It is definitely hard to leave behind the traditional classroom, but what is the need of the hour now? Let’s dive deeper into some of the pros & cons of online learning for school students: The two major advantages are:
What is more important for a Teacher – Knowledge or Approach? What makes a good teacher? At the end of the long period of our schooling and college, most of us reminisce only one or two teachers, who have impacted us in some way or the other. Have you ever thought, why are we immortalise them in our minds? They might have even taught us the most boring or subjects that we were least interested in. Were they remarkably intelligent teachers? Did they possess exceptional qualifications? Or had any of them given away a few extra marks to you to make them special? Surely, it was for none of these reasons that these teachers left an indelible impression on you. Wouldn’t you agree it was with their unique approach towards teaching and imparting their knowledge that made the difference. That single aspect made all the impact. Even I have been influenced by that. In fact, it was only due to the effort of one of my teachers that I started liking a particular subject and performed well, too. The way she put across concepts was amazing and even today, I try to include her style in my teaching practices. Some teachers have the right teaching skills that complement their subject knowledge. A teacher with an exemplary university degree could fail miserably whilst delivering her subject knowledge. One of the reasons for this failure could be that she teaches with an assumption that the entire class has the same level of subject knowledge and struggles to find new approaches to reach students across varying levels of understanding. A teacher who has the knack of judging the students’ level of learning in her classroom, will try different avenues for putting across a concept. She might not have been the gold medallist from her university but with her right teaching methodology, she will end up a far better teacher than most. So, now what is more important – Knowledge or Approach? First and foremost, as a teacher try to understand and connect with each & every student in your classroom. Try to find out, what kind of learners they are. Secondly, try to evaluate yourself, whether you have right knowledge to teach a lesson. For example, you can be a Grade 2 Teacher, teaching Science. In that case, your knowledge should be at least to the level of Grade 5. If not, try to enrich your knowledge. There are various means of acquiring knowledge. Maybe you can think of doing a crash course or attending workshop or just read up on the required content. Thirdly, find the right approach to deliver the content. You might not be successful in the first attempt but eventually you will find the correct one. You need to keep trying until you find the success with all your students. Always remember- A teacher, wishing to be successful in her field, should strike the right balance between knowledge and approach. That will provide a complete and fruitful learning for her students. She can always find new approaches in her teaching style and make the students’ learning experience an enjoyable and enriching one. Such Teachers are “Innovative Teachers”! – Sowmia Raguraman, Principal, Glentree Academy.