Being stuck in a pandemic, students have been confined to the four walls of their home. Everyone, from preschoolers to college students pursuing degrees, has been forced to learn online. In such a time of despair, it is only wise to make the most of it.
In today’s times, we are privileged to have an access to the internet, and using it wisely can provide a wealth of information. Amongst the plethora of resources, there are a few platforms that offer great courses, curated for the youth of today, with aim to up their skills in their respective fields. These courses will help you to learn new things from the comfort of your home.
Here are a few such platforms and courses that you can do to update your skills.
SWAYAM is a Sanskrit acronym that stands for “Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds” is an Indian Massive open online course platform. It offers over 2,748 courses taught by close to 1,300 instructors from over 203 Indian universities. They are officially launched by the Ministry of Education, Government of India. It was launched on 9th July 2017 by Honourable President of India. The aim of Swayam is to give a coordinated stage and free entry to web courses, covering all advanced education, High School and skill sector courses. All the courses offered by SWAYAM are recognized by the government of India. certificates are awarded to students only after successful completion of the course which is valid pan India even while applying for jobs.
Oxford Home Study-
Oxford home study is UK’s leading Home Study Centre offering highly affordable home study courses. They deliver fully accredited courses in a variety of different fields; from art & design and management, through to interior design and work health & safety. Every course is created by a team of noted academics and experienced industry experts. This maintains the highest possible quality standards and provide the ultimate online learning experience for every student. These courses aren’t free; however, a student can take a loan or apply for scholarships. The certificates offered by these courses are valid and well recognised.
Courses available on Udemy help you make the most of your time, from working at home to learn trending technical skills and self-improvement from wherever you are. They provide a wide range of courses, covering a variety of subject from writing, finance, commerce, e-commerce, lifestyle, fashion, designing and many more. Some of them are paid but many of them are free as well. Additionally, they provide a certificate too, however, only on paid courses.
Google Digital Garage-
The Digital Garage is a non-profit nationwide programme from Google delivering free digital skills training via an online learning platform. You can learn soft skills like personality development, building confidence or even practice our interview skills. The majority of courses are free, and are approved by industry experts, top entrepreneurs and some of the world’s leading employers. This ensures the student that they are learning from authentic sources. The speciality of these courses is that they are flexible i.e., can be learnt on own’s own pace, and extremely personalised. The most popular courses on this platform are Data and Tech, Digital marketing, online business. These are paid/free certificated courses. There are numerous reputed institutes providing courses on this platform; Monash University, university of Auckland, to name a few.
Due to the pandemic, online education is encouraged. It is learning via online classes as per the convenience of the students and teachers. Whereas, offline education is the traditional way of teaching in institutions and schools. It is face-to-face learning.
The Covid-19 impact was everywhere, which resulted in the closure of Schools and other educational institutions. … Though schools are closed, students are attending their classes through various education initiatives like online classrooms, radio programs.
WHICH IS BETTER?
Studying online gives you flexibility. The place is your own space, which is comfortable. We learn in our comfort zone. Online teaching has interactive sessions yet students find it tiring. Students may do other activities while or instead of attending online classes.
Studying online means that you pay the tuition fee, apparently book supplies, an online application fee. The transportation charge is deducted. Online classes teach children to be self-disciplined. That is not the case for most children, some people can’t afford online class essentials. Some children forget what they have learned so far.
Staying motivated and keeping up with assignments may show more difficult for online pupils than for those attending traditional classes. It is important for students attending online classes to be on top of their time management skills.
The interaction in online classes is comparatively less. Online teaching is not for all the topics. Online learning is oftentimes based on theory and lacks in practice-based study.
We are depending on technology, what happens when the device shuts down? What will happen to the assignments stored? Children get eye problems due to the duration of screen time.
Whereas, through the offline study, the teacher will be able to understand if each student is getting the point correctly by asking them to do activities related to the work. Offline classes are the best option for people who don’t have proper internet connection.
Now that things are starting to light up. The schools, colleges and offices are being reopened. In that case, I would say offline learning is better. We get to learn more from offline classes. I believe that the experience we get in offline learning is nothing equal to online learning.
However, we must consider the safety of the students. Especially their mental health. After being in their comfort zone for year’s, getting back to school can be hard on them. Even though the exams were conducted online, the students still worked hard to secure marks. There are talks about not employing covid batch freshers for few jobs.
We were not alone, together we faced a lot. It is high time to consider getting to new normal. There should be changes in thd schedule for students but offline learning should be encouraged. We can’t compel the students, we can give them an option to pursue studies online.
IMAGINE COVID-19 WITHOUT ONLINE TEACHING
Online teaching was a saviour. Without which the students would have lost more than a year of studies. It is scary to imagine a world without technology during tough times it helps us get in contactless touch.
“Exams and grades are temporary, but education is permanent.” Education is an important medium for the development of any country. India being a part of it is moving forward towards globalization, which has proved to have a positive effect on the education system, in a way making it simpler and easier. The advent of technology has steadily digitized all services and offerings, taking them to the online platform and examination has been no exception. Is it better to test it on bamboo paper or a digital page? In my opinion, the benefits of e-examinations exceed their drawbacks.
It’s all about Exams…!!!
Why is it beneficial?
The traditional pen-and-paper exams not only affect the surroundings but also come at a high cost as far as institutions are concerned. The climate change crisis being the foremost priority forces an individual to make efforts for the reduction of natural resources. The adverse environmental impact of mercilessly cutting down trees for paper is evident. However, as far as administrative costs are concerned, it proves to be an economical way to conduct examinations on a large scale. For instance, there is no need to have spacious classrooms to fit in students, the flexibility of time and checking without glitches impels efficiency for examiners as well as examinees. Altogether, it helps education centers to go paper-free and eliminate expensive processes.
A secured, simple, and auto-graded system has been possible, due to the advancements in technology. It has enhanced the privacy of students, reducing the risk of any malicious activities such as cheating or paper leaks. Further, the ease of setting up questionnaires, procedures, and access proves it to be reliable. Also, the automatic scoring by computers mandates flawless marking, decreases teacher’s burden, saves time, and ensures fairness. According to a survey was done by A.P Barkley, the potential for student learning is growing because of frequent assessment and reduced plagiarism. Overall, it builds mutual trust between the two, providing transparency and bias-free results.
Let’s look at it’s demerits
When looking at the other side of the coin, we come across a few disadvantages as well. Firstly, poor internet connection can hamper the student’s possibility to attempt the examination and in turn the grades. Secondly, it does not accommodate all exam modes like long answers, letters, essays, etc. Teachers have to stick to either multiple choice or short answer questions. On the whole, two of them have to compromise their comforts.
In conclusion, online exams have it’s own strengths and flaws, meanwhile, the pros outshine the cons. In an ever-changing world, online tests and e-assessment are at the center of it. It can be a powerful tool to educate students from diverse backgrounds and places.
Note: students often get nervous and it, in turn, affects their results. Here are some tips to remember before appearing a test.
Have a thorough revision of the syllabus.
Take a five-minute break in between every hour and refresh yourself with some fun activity.
A healthy diet and sleep are necessary one day before an examination. It helps maintain the metabolism.
The last day should not be stressful but carefree.
Recheck the materials before going to the assessment hall.
Last but not least, believe in yourself and tick the answers in God’s name!!
Whether you want to gain new marketable talents or just want to learn something new for pleasure, online learning platforms are a terrific and convenient way to learn on your own time. These platforms, as an alternative to online universities, tend to be a little more flexible and may even offer more unique or uncommon classes that you wouldn’t find at a typical college, but prospective students should weigh their options to determine which is best for them.Here are just a few of our top picks for the greatest online learning platforms, ranging from Masterclass to Coursera, so you can get started right away.
My top selections for the greatest online course platforms to use this year are listed below.
Coursera has created a name for itself in recent years by offering top-tier university courses to online students. More than 50 million students have accessed courses from universities such as Duke, Stanford, and Yale thanks to this California-based elearning network.I have to add that their iOS and Android mobile app is one of the best I’ve used. It actually makes it quite simple for students to follow courses while on the go — it even allows free courses to be viewed offline.
What are the advantages of Coursera:
Course quality: As you might expect from universities like Stanford, Duke, and Yale, Coursera’s courses are among the best.
Coursera offers a wide range of courses, including individual courses, specializations, and higher education degrees.
Because Coursera collaborates with these colleges, you’ll be able to receive authentic certifications for your courses.
Free courses: You can enroll in practically any Coursera class for free if you don’t plan on earning a completion certificate.
With over 34 million students having registered in one of their 3,000+ courses, edX has a large user base. The premise is similar to Coursera’s in that it makes top-tier university courses available to the general public.You can also enroll in a variety of different course kinds. MicroBachelors, MicroMasters, Professional Certificates, and Master’s Degrees, for example, are available. You’ll find the one that’s right for you.
What are the benefits of edX:
Official certifications: As edX works with colleges such as Harvard, Berkeley, MIT, and Boston University, you’ll be able to obtain authorized certificates.
Courses are available for free: Most courses will be available for free (assuming you aren’t seeking for a certificate).
Many courses can be started at any time that is convenient for you. In addition, you can enroll in a variety of courses.
Course quality: As you may expect, the quality of edX courses is extremely good because they are created by premier universities.
It’s likely that you’ve heard of Udemy, an online educational platform. With over 50 million students and over 155,000 courses, Udemy is perhaps the most popular elearning platform.
Udemy is a global marketplace for online courses where you can discover classes on almost any subject from a variety of instructors (even in languages like Spanish, German, French or Chinese).
What are the advantages of Udemy:
Choice: Udemy has the most courses, so you’ll be able to locate
Free courses: Udemy has a large number of free courses. Make sure to check them out if you want to learn for free.
Return policy: A liberal 30-day refund policy is in place. Return the course if you are dissatisfied with it.
This online education platform, which originated in New York, has over 5 million students and provides a wide choice of courses for $99 a year ($15 if you pay monthly). Skillshare began as an elearning platform for creatives, but it has since expanded to include a wider range of topics (e.g. IT, business, language-learning, etc.).
Skillshare’s advantages are as follows:
Free courses: Skillshare offers 10% of its courses for free, and there are currently over 2,000 programs accessible. Please note that free members do not have access to offline viewing.
Choice: With over 25,000 courses, there aren’t many choices (aside from Udemy) that can match Skillshare’s selection.
Price: A Skillshare premium subscription costs $99 per year (if paid in advance) or $15 per month (if paid monthly) – less than Spotify.
Course quality: Because anybody can publish, course quality ranges from one to the next. Some lessons, however, are created by Skillshare and renowned firms such as Mailchimp or Google, and are usually of high quality.
Although MasterClass provides more than simply creative classes, its most popular are those that feature A-list actors, writers, painters, singers, and others as instructors.
And they aren’t just one-time “talk” sessions: Like a regular course, most courses feature roughly 20 lessons, allowing you to delve deeply into your chosen topic. If you want to understand more about these often-mysterious professions, there’s no better way than to hear from those who have previously succeeded.
These video-based courses combine straightforward lectures, workbooks, and class discussions with practical guidance and demonstrations.
You can take as many sessions as you wish within a monthly membership because MasterClass is a subscription-based platform. The cost of unrestricted access is around $15 per month, but students must sign up for a year at a time.
The most important thing is to make the most of your educational opportunities. This is the rule to follow when deciding which platform to utilize; select one that will help you get the most out of it.
ONLINE LEARNING Lockdown is not meant to countdown days. Staying indoors can never stop someone from learning what they need. Learning a skill can help an individual to achieve his/her dreams. There are too many online platforms that can help one to master a skill of their choice. Owning a skill which can help you in taking higher levels in career is better than wasting time and making minds idle. As the proverb goes “an idle mind is a devils workshop”, it’s better to learn something which can build you stronger than what you are now. Online classes are now more interesting and interactive. In this rapid advancement of technology, online learning is a part of many institutions.it also offers the perks of attending classes from one’s dream university in abroad. One can even socialize with even in this social distancing and curfew through online mode. Live face to face interactive sessions are really interesting that it helps an individual to be more attentive in the class than the lecture hours. Taking an online learning program one will be an officially registered student in the institution and have access to the same resources such as an on-campus student like digital library and student union membership etc. As a ship without a captain is like a bird without wings, there are captains and mentors to guide students in online learning. An essential way observing a large amount of information in a relatively short amount of time, lectures are a staple of online and computer based learning, one can attend lecture from any place. As online student one can choose to access any course information and complete the assignments anytime. This allows a student to fit study time in and around his/ her work, family and other commitments. This also helps students who wish to work while continue studying need mot put their careers on hold and get the best of both student and employee worlds.
“Victory comes from finding opportunities in problems.”
Do you prefer to study at home? We millennials have an inherent ability to sneakily use social media during classes, whether in the classroom or online. During our lectures, we know how to eat, sleep, and chat, and that tradition will continue online as well.
But, by the end of the day, don’t we get to do anything useful? It may be navigating congested roads in the rain, maintaining positive social relationships, or engaging in practical learning. During this online process, we will miss out on all of that. So, in such a situation, how does one become productive? It all comes down to self-control, in my opinion. Nobody is pressuring us to read, study, or do something productive; there is no pressure, and we have complete control of how we spend our time.
Which is better: online or in a classroom? Since it is much more receptive and engrossing, the solution is a classroom environment. Learning online, on the other hand, has its advantages. With more spare time on our side, we become more productive time managers. Having said that, I am aware that most of us fall victim to the vicious cycle of procrastination, and to combat this, I have begun to use the Pomodoro technique, which appears to be successful. It divides work into 25-minute chunks, with a 5-minute leisure break in between and a 20-minute reward break after 2 hours or so. It assists me in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Nobody knows how our educational environment can shift in the coming months, so we must make the most of the time we have and learn some useful skills while we’re at it.
The Indian education system is based on elitism, with educational accessibility serving as a major dividing line between various socioeconomic groups of a culture. The hierarchical organization of society based on caste or ‘varna’ – the caste system (‘varna vyavastha’) ascribed a rank to the person that marked virtually every aspect of Hindu social life – was one way in which this inequality manifested itself in ancient society. The caste status of a person dictated their privileges (or lack thereof). Many social, religious, and economic advantages were conferred on the upper-caste ‘brahmins,’ including education, while the lower castes were denied entry. The government of the post-colonial Indian state attempted to resolve and abolish such disparities by enacting the Right to Education Act, which required all children under the age of 14 to attend school, as well as the Reservation Policy. In today’s coronavirus-shaped world, inequality is once again exposed: access to the internet and mobile devices, rather than one’s social status, has become the deciding factor.
The repercussions for the general population were immediate and serious when the Indian government declared a full lockdown on the 24th of March 2020 in the hopes of controlling a COVID-19 outbreak. The lockdown, in addition to triggering its own set of issues, revealed the education system’s existing flaws and deteriorating structure. This population did not include families living in poverty who could barely afford regular meals, let alone technological devices, emphasizing the ever-widening divide between the wealthy and the poor.
Online learning has had a positive effect on the education sector; it has sparked a desire for Open and Distance Learning (ODL), as the curriculum promotes self-learning and customization of the syllabus to the students’ needs. However, since the latter is only reaped by a small percentage of the population, the negative consequences greatly outweigh the positive.
Another effect of the curfew on Indian education has been a dramatic rise in the number of students dropping out. For most poor families, the economic fallout from the lockdown resulted in unemployment and a decline in earning power. Children were forced to drop out of school as a result, forcing them into the job market.
The Mid-Day Meal (MDM) programme, which aimed to provide food for students in government schools, was also lost as a result of the lockdown and subsequent school closure.
Ramesh Nishank, the Union Minister of Human Resource Development, announced an increased allocation of funds of Rs. 1700 crores to ensure the provision of MDMs to students even during the lockdown. During the lockout, however, it was discovered that 40% of the qualifying children did not receive MDMs. On the 1st of February 2021, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced the Union Budget 2021, which outlined the allocation of funds to various sectors. The budgetary allocation for the government’s flagship education programme, Samagra Shiksha Abhyaan, has been reduced from Rs. 38,751 crores to Rs. 31,050 crores for the coming fiscal year. If the government fails to place a high priority on public education, the detrimental consequences will last for generations and decades. Unemployment would eventually rise, affecting almost every part of society and the economy.
Thanks to the lockdown, schooling took on a new structure overnight, requiring students and teachers to navigate a novel system of adjusting to an online education forum. Humans are social animals that rely on face-to-face communication for successful communication, and the educational field is no exception. In the absence of this face-to-face learning, ground-level proficiency is broken, especially for students studying fundamental concepts and skills that they will need during their lives at the elementary level. Furthermore, students’ practical effectiveness in the field of STEM, where conceptual comprehension and practical applications are at the center of learning, has decreased.
The curfew has forever changed the face of Indian education. The advantages of the blended learning system are only available to those in the upper echelons of society, making the rest unprotected. The issue of quality education accessibility has always existed in the Indian system; it is only now that it has been exacerbated in the face of the pandemic and revealed for all to see.
Everything is available online nowadays, be it food, clothes or furniture. Everything is just one click away, even education.
We’ve all wished to gain education from the top universities but were unable to do so for unforeseeable reasons. Some found interest in a subject they were completely unaware of. While others just want to gain some extra skills and learn something new.
With the availability of online education, your dream to acquire a degree from top universities has come true. Thousands of courses are available on these websites to choose from and they have flexible hours. So you can complete the course according to your own pace.
Here’s a list of top 5 websites for online courses:
Started in 2006 by an educator named Salman Khan, Khan Academy is a non-profit academy. It aims to provide free education to everyone and all around the world.
It is free for both teachers and students. It provides education from the root level, i.e., kindergarten to early college level.
All the subjects are available on Khan Academy. Be it maths, grammar, history, science and even SAT exam preparation.
The lectures are not very long and do not make studying boring or monotonous.
It has some of the most famous partners as its founding partner. Namely, Google, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Reed Hastings.
Coursera is one of the most famous and loved websites by students. It has over 35 million learners and has partnered with 150 top universities from around the world. To name some, Yale, Stanford and the University of Michigan. Talking about the courses available, Coursera has 2700 courses, 250 specializations and four degrees. Some courses also provide certificates on completion.
It is the leading provider of massive open online courses. Some of the courses are free and the paid courses mostly range between $29-$99. But the specializations and degrees have high prices.
Udemy has around 30 million students and 100,000 courses for you to choose from. Courses are taught in over 50 languages. It has some of the most expert faculties. With 42,000 instructors and 22 million minutes of video instruction, Udemy is a widely loved website for online education.
Courses on Udemy are not free but don’t cost much. The price ranges between $9 to $500 depending on the type of course.
It does not partner with universities but it allows independent creators and educators to create courses and teach online in the subject of their specialization.
A non-profit education platform, established by Harvard and MIT, edX aims to break the three barriers in education: cost, location and access.
It has 20 million learners from all around the world. And provide 2400 courses, the majority of which are provided by top-ranked universities in the world. Some of the courses are free while you may need to pay for some. One of the best things about using edX is that on completion of your course you are rewarded with an official certificate as proof.
It offers free online as well as professional certificate, advanced degrees and executive education. Currently, Stanford Online is imparting education to millions of teachers and students.
It offers courses from Stanford Law School, Stanford Business School and Stanford medical school and many others.
Many other websites provide online courses that are free or paid. These were some of the most loved and preferred ones.
Education should be accessible to all and everywhere around the world and that’s exactly what these websites aim for.
They are simple to use websites and accessible to people of all ages because learning has no age.
It will not only help you learn something new but will also add skill to your professional career.
The meaning of schools has changed after the COVID-19 outbreak. Classes are being conducted in an online medium. This is the ‘new normal’ for the students of India.
How do the students learn?
When I was in 9th standard, we had a chapter in our English textbook about the education system in future. The students there studied through computers and did not go to school. At that time I often thought that I would never have to study and learn via computers and laptops. It has been almost ten months at home and I guess this has taught me that online education is possible but, I do miss going to school.
Online education is often called – distance learning, distance education, virtual learning, online learning, learning web-based training. Online education is electronically supported learning that relies on the Internet for teacher – student interaction and the distribution of class materials.
Some online educational programs are conducted exclusively through assigned lessons and assessments administered online. Others take the form of remote lectures where students join the class via the cameras on their laptops, and the instructor teaches or lectures from his own computer. Other courses are a combination of the two, requiring students to do a fair amount of independent research.
In my school, the classes are taken through Google Meet. The google meet link is shared in the class Whatsapp group. In my friend’s school the classes are conducted through Zoom. Teachers also present their screens in the meeting so that we can understand the concept clearly. After the class, the teachers assign us different assignments which we have to complete and submit in PDF form in a limited time. We also have exams online. First, the teachers share a Google Form for one mark questions; then they share the descriptive/writing part of the paper in Google Classroom. We are given half an hour to solve the one mark questions on Google Form and two and a half hours to solve and write the descriptive part. We have to write this part in our notebook, scan the pages and submit it in Google Classroom in PDF form within a fixed time period. These modern day learning applications are compatible with desktops/laptops as well as any smartphone.
Pros of online education
Study from anywhere. There is no need to go to a particular place to study. We can study indoors as well as outdoors. Even if you are ill, you can attend the classes easily.
Flexible learning schedule is observed in online education. A lot of time is saved in learning online. You can also do a part time job and learn.
Students can control study time because of the flexibility in the timetable. They also get extra time for sports and hobbies.
There is no transportation fee to reach the school that lowers the overall cost. (There is no need to buy shoes and socks!)
The minimum infrastructure required for online learning is a smartphone and internet connection. As the country is witnessing a digital boom, it is expected that the poor people can also afford and access these classes easily.
Improves the student’s technical skills. To join the classes, a student needs to learn to operate computers and various other apps.
There is no bullying or ragging involved in this method of education. The students are also free from stress and anxiety. Hence, each student is physically and mentally healthy.
Teachers can also share subject related videos to students to make the learning fun and interesting. In a traditional classroom environment, this would require projector and sound system setup.
Due to the following reasons, many people choose online education over the traditional classroom interactional education.
The Majestic year 2020 is marked by two major events.One is the Onset of the worst pandemic that the entire world is reeling under and the other as the title suggests is Online learning!
The Use of Online Learning or E Learning has skyrocketed in the recent times as the only mode of education in a social distancing setup.Indeed it is a necessity as education cannot be put to rest halting the progress of millions of students.As a coin has two sides,similarly online form of education has it’s own perks and drawbacks.So lets find out more!
Online schooling is a popular alternative to attending a brick-and-mortar college or university. Though online students don’t get the face-to-face experiences of a typical on-campus student, there are many benefits and advantages to online learning, also known as distance learning or e-learning.
While not every program or school imaginable has an online option, a large number of them do, and many programs are nationally or regionally accredited. Students can learn through online lectures, projects and discussions. Online degree programs are available at every level, from certificates to doctorates.
Owing to the Covid situation,organisations that used to vouch for traditional methods of education are now radically shifting towards online education because there is no other alternative.Earlier online education used to be an alternative, now it is the only choice for those who want to desperately continue their education.
When Online Education is the new reality,it is very essential to keep in mind it’s advantages and disadvantages to take maximum benefits out of it and also minimize stress levels.
-Convenient Learning:It can be undertaken anywhere ranging from a tiny corner in the living room to a study table in the bedroom and without a particular dress code(still modest dressing is expected).
-No Infrastructure:No physical infrastructure such as building,classrooms and benches are required for online education.
-Less Travelling: In Online classes there is no need to undertake strenuous travelling routines as students can attend the classes from the comfort of their homes.
-Recordings:Unlike the Traditional Systems,Online Education system provides an option of class recording and hence students can re watch the class recordings to make concepts clear.
-Virtual Reality(VR):Teachers in the online mode can make use of Virtual Reality Techniques to make students understand complex topics in an interesting way.
-Motivation:The laid back nature of the online classes do not provide much motivation to the students.Students do not take online classes to be as serious as classroom and thus do not pay attention.
-Lack of Concrete Assessments:Online mode of education has so far not been promising for people with theoretical subjects as it is difficult to conduct heavy exams here.
-No practicals:People Who study medicine,chemistry and physics an understand how bad this can be!There are certain subjects which cannot be simply taught,practicals and experiments have to be performed to further the understanding.Online education does not support this.
-Stress on health:The negative impacts of online mode of education on the health of the students is indisputable!Several students have complained of migraines,back aches,eye pain and so forth.Students psychologically too have not been able to cope up with the sudden shift and are suffering.
Thus,Online mode of education is a tricky one and should be suitable for certain conditions,Since it is the only alternative now, educationists and policy makers should study the pros and cons to make amends in the present online education structure to suit the demands of students.We have to always remember that Education is fruitful only when it reaches learners effectively!
With the growing global pandemic, the trend of online learning has surged significantly, as people are looking for ways to be productive while staying at home. There was already strong global growth in top-ranking professional skills such as languages, designing, IT and software, marketing, and much more, but with the COVID pandemic, online learning becomes an important part of our day to day life. Classroom learning got restricted to e-learning.
Now, many see online classes as an alternative to classroom learning and there of course are many pros that come with it whereas some see online classes as a hassle and nothing less.
Online classes give the student the flexibility to be present in a class from the comfort of their homes, the students have the freedom to be anywhere and just log in for their classes as per their convenience. There is no hassle of getting ready to go to school or college, which takes up a considerable amount of time.
Not only does online classes minimize being exposed to people and the flexibility of learning, online classes gives students access to recorded database of the material which they can go back to anytime for revision.
But with all the advantages come the disadvantages, the biggest one being the lack of one-to-one interaction. Traditional, classroom learning gives students access to their tutor in a physical form, and asking questions, clearing out the queries becomes much easier.
Online learning does provide comfort learning but takes a lot of self-discipline too, but slowly and steadily e-learning could become the new face of learning and education.
A lot of us, without even realising, engage in toxic and unhealthy behaviours online. I’ll shares some tips that I follow for avoiding getting sucked into such behaviours.
RECOGNISING TOXIC BEHAVIOUR ONLINE
People today are always on some form of social media all the time, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, the list is never ending. Though using social media has its own benefits, I feel as though a lot of people get trapped in unhealthy behaviour patterns online without even knowing, as it isn’t something we talk about often.
step 1: Unfollow the ones you compare yourself to
It is a drastic step, but I really do believe that this helps you to stop comparing yourself to others online. If you compare yourself to people online and if you’ve been doing for a while, then it will be natural for you to compare yourself to the ones that you deem perfect. The best way to stop doing this, is to unfollow such accounts and fill your feed with accounts that are raw and make you feel good and real about yourself. After you have completed this step, you will begin to feel positive about yourself when you scroll your feed.
step 2: Make yourself Realise that it’s just one photo not their whole life
When you post a picture on any social media platform, do you tend to post when you’re having a bad day, or do you post it when you know you look your best? It’s more likely that you post a picture when you feel good about yourself, when you’re enjoying yourself, when you’re having fun and you then post the highlight of your day. When we look a someone’s picture, we automatically assume that you know everything about their lives, and that everything in their life is as perfect at their post. When you realise that every single person tends to post only the bits of the day that they love or enjoy, the sooner you’ll be able to ditch the unhealthy pattern and it will instantly make you feel good and much happierWhen you realise that every single person tends to post only those bits of their day that they love or enjoy, the sooner you’ll be able to ditch this unhealthy pattern and it will instantly make you feel good and much happier about where you are in life.
step 3: Set aside time to scroll
But I seem to have even 5 free minutes to myself I will pick up my phone and scrolled through my social media feed as if it is my daily newspaper. But this is something that I am working on and that something that you should aim to change too. The more you endlessly scroll through your social media feed, be it any platform, the more you will be out of touch with reality. That is why it is important to set aside some time for scrolling. In a long run this would allow you to focus throughout the day on things that you actually need to do as you know whenThat is why it is important to set aside some time for scrolling. In a long run this would allow you to focus throughout the day on things that you actually need to do as you know when you have allotted time to scroll.
Social Media can be a positive and an empowering place, but when/if it starts to have a negative impact on your mental health then something needs to change. Start making these small CHANGES today – you can do it
Learn about the impact on children due to COVID-19 that has forced the schools to adapt with online education.
Imparting online education to children amid the COVID-19 crises has emerged as the go-to solution for schools looking to resume the classes amid the need to continue social distancing till a vaccine for the pandemic is found. Conducting online classes is helping education institutions across the world to beat the coronavirus lockdown and push ahead with the academic calendar.
However, this trend has raised numerous concerns among the educational experts, at the United Nations Children’s Emergency Funds (UNICEF) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). While some of them have expressed alarm about the potential dangers of internet exposure for young kids, others say they are scared that this digital shift may alienate the economically disadvantaged students who lack access to the technology needed to attend the digitally conducted classes.
The internet exposure puts children at high risk of online sexual exploitation and grooming, as predators look to exploit the coronavirus pandemic. Online grooming is a worrying product of the internet and social media age, in which predatory adults builds online relationships with gullible children and trick or pressure them into sexual behaviour.
Moreover, under the shadow of COVID-19, millions of children’s lives have temporarily shrunk to just their homes and screens of devices. It is high time we should adapt ourselves with the current situation and help our children to navigate this new reality.
According to a report issued by the UNESCO, ‘Half of the total number of learners, about 826 million students kept out of the classroom by the pandemic, don’t have access to a household computer or a smartphone device. While 43 percent have no internet at home when the online based distance education is being opted by the schools and educational institutions to ensure continuity of academic year for students in different countries of the world.’
Challenges of Online Education
There are many challenges when it comes to imparting the online education:
Students who reside in small towns and villages struggle to get a good internet connection speed and mostly are unable to attend the online classes. This will especially prove disadvantage during the exam time as half the students will fail for sure because they will not to connect due to bad internet connection.
Many of the students don’t have the devices, smartphones and laptops or money to keep the internet connection while also paying the school fees. These are the real challenges which hinder the process of the online learning.
Not just students, some school teachers and educators are also struggling to get a hang of the technology. The school wants them to make PowerPoint Presentations (PPTs), record the video lectures, and take online classes through different apps and online platforms, but they aren’t instructed clearly as to how this should be done. This is more common among adults of 60 years and above who find the online medium to impart education quite challenging due to lack of hands-on experience with the latest technology.
The lack of real-world interaction among the students and teachers is another challenging factor that could have a negative impact on their relationships compared to regular classes.
A New Reality
As the security concerns of the video conferencing apps such as Zoom emerged in the early days of lockdown with regards to conducting online lessons, meetings and private appointments, most schools have started searching for alternatives to keep the academic year 2020-21 going and not suffer much with disruption owing to coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 has spawned up an unprecedented dependence on technology that keep up the operations running across different sectors and its potential long-term impact on the economy and lives of people across the world. Studies are been conducted on the increasing dependency on the gadgets among the children and adults to monitor its impact on mental health.
Now it is more vital to provide child protection services to ensure they remain open and active throughout the pandemic, by ensuring that the devices they use have the latest software updates and antivirus programs for precautions against cyber attacks and threats.
Additionally, UNESCO has advised the use of television and radio broadcasts as an alternative to reduce the already existing inequalities among students seeking to continue their education with the online classes.
The theory of procuring online education for school children does not seem favourable to the eminent scientist K Kasturirangan, who says that candid physical and cognitive association is essential to bring out the meaningful characteristics such as playfulness and ideation.
The National Education Policy, 2019, draft committee chairperson intensified the necessity for face-to-face communications, interactions, exchange of ideas and beliefs as he braced the traditional mode, amid a debate on online classes for children due to COVID-19 resulted in the closure of schools.
“Fundamentally, the physical and mental connection with children directly is extremely important. Playfulness, creativity and many other aspects can never be transferred through online learning”, Kasturirangan, who was Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation between 1994 and 2003, told news agency PTI.
He stated 86 percent of the brain develops by the age of eight, expanding that issues associated with the initial stage of children need to be scrutinized and evaluated carefully and any sort of new strategy prefers a scientific footing.
Development of a brain is a continuous process within these eight years, and if you don’t stimulate the brain properly by continuous interactions, then obviously you are missing a chance of really getting the best out of youngsters in terms of brain boat and performance, the recipient of Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan said.
There are issues of these which need to be analysed very carefully. Just the kind of solutions that we talk of for higher education like online and so on may not be the way to deal when it comes to dealing with the early phase of children, the former Rajya Sabha member said.
The issue of online education for school children needs to be looked into very carefully and one should not jump into any kind of approach without any scientific basis.
“There is much to be evaluated, and it has to be assessed”, underlined Kasturirangan, who had also served as a Member of the now-defunct Planning Commission of India.
Another renowned scientist, Prof. C N RRao, who was awarded ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 2014, also spoke out lately against inducting online classes for children, giving prominence to the importance of human interface for useful communication and motivating young minds.
The Honorary President of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research and the Linus Pauling Research Professor said online classes for young children such as KG, first and second grade should be terminated.
I am not an enthusiast about online teaching. We need a human interface with students for good communication. That is how young minds can be inspired, Prof. Rao, who was Chairman of the Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister from 1985-1989, and from 2004-2014, told PTI.
I always start my classes with some form of emotional check-in regardless of age or grade level. I do so in my college classes as well as in my elementary gifted classes. I think this is even more imperative given the stress students are experiencing due to COVID19. The 10 to 15 minutes it takes is so worth the class time.
Students know that every voice matters: The emotional check-in gets every student’s voice into the room at the start of each class. Although students can always say “pass” instead of sharing, each student has the opportunity to be heard every class session. The check-in is also a great opportunity to practice active listening, turn-taking, and following group norms.
Students develop awareness of others’ emotions—and how to respond to them: When students share their emotions during the check-in, they give their classmates a snapshot of their emotional state. And if I hear a student say that “I didn’t sleep much last night” or “I feel like I can’t focus today,” I can adjust my interactions with that person accordingly.
The check-ins also acknowledge that how students are feeling is important to the educator, that they matter as human beings who have feelings and emotions.
One of my college classes moved from face-to-face to Zoom this semester. What follows are some of the check-in activities I have done with them.
Using a Feeling Chart
Students use a feeling chart to describe how they are feeling. A side benefit of using feeling charts is that they help students increase their feelings vocabulary.
Share a Rose; Share a Thorn
Each student shares a Rose, something good or positive, from the day or week; and a Thorn, something not-so-good or positive, from the day or week.
Four Types of Care
Students, during the check-in, take turns using the four types of self care graphic to describe strategies they are doing or would like to do to be physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually healthy.
Ask the question. Use the simple question, “How am I feeling?” Make it even more specific by tacking on the phrase “right now” or “in this moment.”
Use descriptive words to capture how you feel.
Brainstorm what might be contributing to those emotions.
Then each student is given an opportunity to share what came up for them during the exercise.
Pear Decks are very similar to a PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation. But instead of simply static, informational slides, you get to create Interactive Slides that let every student respond to your questions or prompts. Once PearDeck is activated, through the Google Slides add-on, students are given a code to access the Pear Deck. There they interact with each slide through typing, drawing, and using a draggable icon depending how the teacher set up the slide. What follows is the Pear Deck I used for a check-in at the start of one of my classes.
Create an Image Based Timeline of Feelings
Students create a timeline of images that represent: how you felt last week; how you feel today; how you want to feel this coming week; and finally, what strategies you can use to get to how you want to feel this coming week. Students then share their images via their webinar cameras and discuss their meaning with the rest of the class. What follows are (1) the prompt for this activity, and (2) sample student pictures:
Using Giphy students do a search for different feelings and emotions they are currently experiencing, and then select one or more Gifs that represent those feelings. They then take turns to do a screenshare of their selected Giphy and explain why they selected it.
Padlet is an application to create an online bulletin board that you can use to display information for any topic. You can add images, links, videos, text, and drawings. Below is a Padlet I created for an emotional check-in.
Menitmeter allows teachers to engage and interact with students in real-time. It is a polling tool wherein teachers can set the questions and your students can give their input using a mobile phone or any other device connected to the Internet. Their input is displayed on a slide in a selected format: Word Cloud, Speech Bubbles, One-By-One, and Flowchart. In the case of check-ins, it can be used to have students put in responses to a question related to how they feeling at the start of class and their responses then are shown to the class via a slide. The example below shows a slide with a Word Cloud of emotional check-in responses.
Flipgrid is a website that allows teachers to create “grids” to facilitate video discussions. Each grid is like a message board where teachers can pose questions, called “topics,” and their students can post video responses. For an emotional check-in, students record a short video about how they are feeling.
Due to Coronavirus, many schools are moving online, and teaching through Zoom meetings. If it is only being used to present content to students, then why not just record videos and have students watch them on their own? The value of Zoom meetings is that the educator can create synchronous interactive conversations and activities. My goal is to have all my students actively engaged throughout the meeting. Below are some the activities I have used during my. teacher education Zoom meetings although they can be adapted for any age group and age level (3rd grade and up), and in training professionals. Along with the tools that come with Zoom, I also use online web tools and applications to increase interactivity and engagement. All tools I describe below are free and work on any device, any browser.
Whole Group Discussions
Whole group discussions should be just that – discussions. I believe that the teacher can use this forum for short lectures but, again, they should be short as the power of synchronous Zoom meetings is that it permits interactivity and active learning. Questions about class content can be posed with student responses elicited through verbal responses and/or through the Zoom group chat.
A favorite whole group activity I do is to have a group video viewing party. For this activity, I begin with a short overview of the video and a question of what they should look for during the video. Student responses are put in the chat during and/or after the video.
Whole group activities and discussions can also be used for Breakout Groups follow-up to share what they discussed and did. In this case, I inform the Breakout Groups to decide on a spokesperson or two to report to the whole group.
One of the best tools in Zoom is the ability to put students into smaller, self-contained breakout groups. Some ways to use the Breakout Rooms include:
To discuss a prompt or questions provided by the teacher or another student.
To do online research about a given topic.
To discuss a real life scenario or case study. This can be done in a jigsaw strategy whereby different groups are given different case studies. When they are brought back into the whole group, each Breakout Group shares their thoughts and conclusions.
To create projects using some of the web tools such as Google Slides, webbing tools, or comics that I discuss later. Time is then given to each group to share what they produced with the rest of the class in a whole group setting.
My students of all ages, kids and adults, absolutely love the competitive, real time quizzes – Kahoot and Quizziz. Both of these online tools – applications have huge archives of teacher created quizzes. They also let teachers create their own and remix the quizzes other teachers have created.
Kahoot! is a game-based learning platform, used as educational technology in schools and other educational institutions. Its learning games, “Kahoots”, are multiple-choice quizzes that allow user responses.
Mentioned Kahoot and any student who has played it just lights up. I like using it at the beginning of a session prime students about what they will be exploring during the session or in the middle to re-energize them.
Quizziz offers self-paced quizzes to students. During my Zoom sessions, I do live Quizziz quizzes where the students answer quiz questions on their own yet compete with one another. It is similar to Kahoot but Kahoot is teacher directed, it displays the questions and answers on the teacher’s device; whereas Quizizz is student directed, it displays all the information on the student’s device.
Polling web tools can get real time information about students’ opinions, thoughts, and ideas which can be shared with them immediately.
Google Forms can be used for student surveys and polling. More information about how to do this can be found at How to Make a Survey With Google Docs Forms. What I really love about using Google Forms for surveys and polls is that immediate feedback can be presented to the students through the response tab.
I like using Google Forms to check in with students and to inquire about what topics they would like to discuss.
An example I did recently was polling the student teachers with who I work about special education services at their respective schools (see screenshots below).
There are lots of free, relatively easy-to-use web tools that students can use in Breakout Groups to create products about a class topic. The benefits of doing so include:
Students get to be creative during the synchronous meeting.
Creating products with visual elements helps deepen the learning.
Students have fun during the synchronous meeting.
Community is built as students work together on such tasks.
Before I give them their task and send them into their Breakout Groups, I give a screen share tutorial on how to use the tool. There are also lots of online video tutorials that can be shared with students.
As mentioned above, the smaller Breakout Groups share what they did with the whole group. To insure that the others pay attention, I ask them to share in the chat the favorite thing or what they learned from the smaller group presentations.
Shared Google Slides and Docs
Having students help create a shared Google slide show is one of my favorite activities. Individual or small groups are asked to take a slide of a shared Google Slide presentation to report on a given topic. I give some broad guidelines including finding and adding both content and images. The following video explains this process.
Below is an example that focuses on classroom management. In Breakout Groups, they were give a topic. Breakout groups 1 and 2 were given the topic. , groups 3 and 4 Classroom Environment, and 5 and 6 Instructional Strategies. They were given several online articles as references and also encouraged to use their own experiences.
Padlet – A Collaborative Sticky Note Board
Padlet is a website and app that allows kids to curate information onto virtual bulletin boards using a simple drag-and-drop system. Students, alone or in groups, can start with a template or a blank page and add videos, text, links, documents, images — basically anything — to the wall and organize it, like a page full of Post-it notes (https://www.commonsense.org/education/website/padlet).
I typically use Padlet as a whole group activity. What I like about it is that the students can easily see the responses, images, links that their classmates have posted.
For example, I love starting my first Zoom meeting with the Padlet: Time to Take a Selfie Icebreaker developed by Catlin Tucker. Below is one I did with a group of teachers with whom I worked.
I have also created and used Padlets for partner interviews, where they posted the results of their partner interviews, SEL strategies, technology in the classroom, classroom management, and collaborating with the community.
Collaborative Webbing – Mind Mapping
“A mind map is a diagram for representing tasks, words, concepts, or items linked to and arranged around a central concept or subject using a non-linear graphical layout that allows the user to build an intuitive framework around a central concept (https://www.mindmapping.com/mind-map.php).
I like to use Coggle in Zoom Breakout Groups. Coggle is an online tool for creating and sharing mind maps and flow charts. It works online in your browser. It is easy to use and permits real time collaborative.
To collaborate, one of the group members starts a Coggle and then invites others by clicking on the + sign in the upper right hand corner and sends email invites.
Below is an example the student teachers did in a breakout about SEL strategies for the classroom.
Students can be asked to create a comic strip in their Breakout Groups to depict a given topic. My favorite is comic creator is Storyboard That but it has a bit of a learning curve for those who are less technology savvy. Although Make Belief Comix lacks some of the tools and options that Storyboard That has, it is much easier for students to use, so I have moved to using Make Belief Comix in my Zoom meetings. For more technology savvy groups, though, I recommend Storyboard That.
Once back in the whole group. students do a screen share of their product and explain it’s content to the rest of the group. For example, a here is a comic about differentiating instruction using Storyboard That.
As mentioned earlier, Breakout Groups then do a show and tell of their mind maps, comics. The following video shows how to do a screen share. The teacher needs to make sure they have “All Participants” enabled under the sharing settings.
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