Born out of compulsion during Covid pandemic, online classes have expanded the teaching horizon of schools, giving them much flexibility
An online session at Rustomjee Cambridge International School & Junior College
Owing to heavy rain, the school has declared a holiday on…” Parents would receive such messages every monsoon before 2020. Torrential downpour in Mumbai? No, problem, say schools now. Their message in 2022 reads: “Due to heavy rain in Mumbai, the school will have online classes.”
As it made the world a grimmer place, confining people to their homes, the Covid pandemic also created a few shiny spots. It helped schools evolve with online learning. With formidable experience with e-classes, schools can now effortlessly switch to it on days when they do not want their kids to face flooded and unsafe streets.
Dr Hanif Kanjer, founder director–Rustomjee Cambridge International School & Junior College, said that hybrid or online classrooms have taught schools to look beyond chalk and board method teaching even for language subjects. “Teachers are using more and more virtual tools to teach in classrooms, not just science, computers and coding but also for language and social science subjects. Another advantage of this is that teachers adapted to the virtual model of teaching during the pandemic, wherein they taught various topics using PowerPoint presentations, this continues every now post-pandemic in offline classrooms,” Kanjer said.
Anuja Mane, centre head, with children at EuroKids Pre-School, Lokhandwala, Kandivli. Pics/Anurag Ahire
When the state government directed them to stay shut amid heavy downpours, Kanjer said, their international and state board schools and junior college held online classes. Anuja Mane, centre head, EuroKids Pre-School, Lokhandwala, Kandivli, said the pandemic brought about changes in the education system where technology helped to bridge the gap. “We at EuroKids introduced HomeBuddy App during the pandemic for our young children. The HomeBuddy App brought great relief for us in providing uninterrupted learning and also developing an interactive and engaging classroom online. So be it a lockdown or holiday due to heavy rain, our young children will always have a continuous learning process as we also have the hybrid class model in our preschool. The app has helped not just the teachers, but also children to complete their academic portion at the given time without any interruption.”
They may not have access to sophisticated tools available to their peers in private schools, but government teachers are also making the best of technology. They share revision topics on class WhatsApp groups that were created during the pandemic. It helps the students revise the syllabus on off days.
Some schools have adopted virtual classrooms as their new normal. Mahim’s Bombay Scottish school switches to the online classroom once every week. “Virtual mode of teaching and learning which became popular during pandemic has now opened up a new avenue for everyone, and we have embraced it as our new normal. So starting this academic year, that is from June we conduct classes online once a week for students of class VII to Class XII. We have a specially designed timetable and lesson plans for that day. On the day of virtual classrooms, teachers simulate experiments and presentations and it serves as a useful study aid. Not only this but even for a day, it saves travel time of our Class XI and XII students,” said principal Sunita Georga.
Mansi Zaveri, a parent and founder and CEO of Kidsstoppress, shared more insights. “Remember as kids how we would pray for a school holiday on rainy days! But within hours, I would get so bored and want to run back to school, to meet my friends. Thankfully my daughters today have it a lot better with the hybrid mode of education. It has become a blessing in disguise for the children to meet their friends on days they can’t attend school as well as keep pace with their learning. This way there is no disruption to their school lives. There is no more learning loss, just a short yet useful break. It is super convenient for today’s hardworking teachers too. Today’s schools and parents have both adapted to the hybrid mode well, thanks to all that we learned in the past two years.”