This school year will be very different for the many young minds who will resume their academic studies in the coming weeks. They will be learning within the confines of their homes as the regular classes are shelved at the moment as the government has not deemed it safe to open up the classes.
The pandemic has caused a great disruption on how schools will and must operate as we move society despite the looming threat of infectious diseases. Essentially, Learning at home presents a safe environment where students can progress with their studies.
Through the use of the internet, students will be able to access their school’s portal as academic faculties conduct distance learning programs through a system based on modular progression. In the portal, education administrators will make resources such as files, reference links and multimedia content as supplements to the learning materials.
This is conducive to how project leaders and system administrators orchestrate projects that are composed of workgroups and collaborators. In fact, you can view each class under this distance learning setup as a community project where project leaders — in this case, the professors must help his or her team (the class) to a track completion.
Technology has impacted productivity under work from home conditions and technology will make home-based learning more productive too.
Bridging the Digital Divide
The most pressing challenge on internet-enabled distance learning is that many students don’t have access to a reliable internet connection and don’t have the peripherals such as laptops or computer tablets to access these resources. In North America, public schools liquidated their disaster funding and used state grants to procure chromebooks to give out to students who can’t afford these devices.
In the Philippines, the Department of Education (DepEd) have consistently purchased laptops and tablet devices to distribute to public school students who can not afford these requirements. The local telecoms such as PLDT, Globe and SMART have also introduced low-cost Wi-Fi connections at home using portable routers in providing a starter home internet to students that provide a stable internet connection to start online learning.
Educators as Content Creators
In the news, we’ve seen academe turn to platforms such as Youtube to broadcast educational content. Today, generation Z are exposed to these platforms as early as the age of 5. Kids mostly use Youtube for entertainment purposes and as educators are realizing the demographic reach of Youtube’s platform, content creation of educational videos in the platform is a productive endeavor. Whether it is English, Math, Science and History, academe can easily self-record and organize their video series based on topics and sub-topics. For parents, using Youtube’s curation features such as playlist and schedule can help improve the learning experience of children online.
Educational institutions whether local or abroad must learn and incorporate online video production as a teaching medium to complement a professor’s screen time through production of infographics and dynamic visual slides.
Live Streaming Lessons
Fast forward in the coming weeks, professors will be conducting lectures online across dozens of screens across cities. While online lessons have been a small fixture of some universities in the 2000s, the scale and requirement of the times makes it a mandatory medium as students are confined at home. Online learning for courses and degrees have also been around since the internet boom but the pandemic has made learning institutions rethink the balance of classroom and virtual classroom as an education continuity measure in the future.
Interactive User-Interfaces are making online learning to be more accessible as subtitles, captions and higher quality audio are designed to help students with sensory impairments to be on the same page with the rest of the class.
The future of online learning will incorporate audio – visual effects and dynamic infographics into live lectures. Educational institutions will invest more into digital content production as a way to make learning more immersive and exciting. This is a response to generation Z being more responsive to the elements of gamification and SFX as the brain is scientifically proven to be more responsive to memory retention through the stimuli of engaging the sense of sight, hearing and sensation.
Forward Into the Future of Distance Learning
Technology will improve the quality and delivery of education online as the world has rediscovered that it must scale with the volatile environment conditions.
Educational Platform as a Service: Because overnight digitalization is almost impossible for any educational organization, expect hosted services such as education platforms to be business service where educators can signup and get access to tools and functionalities that are required to run a virtual semester: from enrollment, grading, modular learning, online lectures and online quizzes.
With the improvement of ICT across the country, it will have a profound boost to the quality of online education. Having a formal education is a recognized rights for children. Then no child must be left behind as educational technology pushes the envelope of online learning.