Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. - Nelson Mandela.
While we fight the Corona pandemic, the education system is at the forefront. The schools are shouldering the responsibility of using education as a weapon to change the world and take us to new normal post COVID-19. Shock was the prevalent feeling in the initial few days of the lockdown where everyone was trying to figuring out what next including looking at Govt. directives. As picture became clearer, most schools started adopting the best practices in learning-at-home. More than thirty days in lockdown in India, I have observed a few good practices in remote teaching being adopted. Here is my take on what can work better in a large country like India where education is considered sacred, a must-have and the biggest weapon to change the world.
Three key challenges in implementing learning through virtual platforms
- Digital consumption is still not fully feasible for everyone.
- Content is not completely ready.
- Behavioral change management during this forced transformation.
Even in urban areas of the country, there are no independent devices for children; and parents' work laptop/desktop are the primary consumption devices. Network and bandwidth is not sufficient and consistent for interactive sessions. Teachers have huge learning curve while going remote and delivering the contents. To plan and make the learning from work in India:
- Plan what you want to deliver in shortest window - Create small capsule of concepts of less than 5-6 minutes.
- Make arrangement for hard copies of books/worksheet/handouts if possible and deliver it to students well in advance.
- Request parents to procure a printer if possible, which will take away the anxiety about too much screen time.
- Restrict digital content to less than 2-3 hours of learning screen time daily.
- Create communication and engagement plan to maximize the time value.
- Try to deliver the contents of 45-min session (in physical classroom) in less than 15 mins while adopting interactive channel.
- Leverage any offline delivery mechanism like a simple school app that allows sharing of media. This ensures that the chosen app is dedicated for the kids.
- Avoid social media apps like WhatsApp and facebook; which exposes the child to other contents not necessarily appropriate for them.
- Use video conferencing tools for the shortest time possible.
- Start small and plan for marathon of consistent engagement and personal connect.