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The Pandemic & Academics: Turning Adversity Into An Opportunity

Academics Amidst The Pandemic

 

Due to the unprecedented and sudden lockdown of schools, we were staring at the possibility of having to shut down teaching as well initially. But this would not only have an adverse long-term effect on the teaching-learning process but also leave the students and teachers to deal with myriad issues when the schools would ultimately reopen.

Hence, we devised a three-pronged plan to address the above issues. 

Bringing the whole school on one platform

When we were faced with the challenge of going beyond the traditional brick and mortar classroom paradigm, our journey started by searching for an appropriate tool to engage students. Although a lot of tools were available, but every tool had one or more disadvantage. We wanted our students to continue online learning in a safe environment.

Keeping in mind the security and safety of schools’ and students’ data, we devised a  plan to bring the entire school on the Office 365 portal. Being a Microsoft school, we have A1 licenses for O365. We started with making O365 accounts for students and teachers.

TTT- Train the Teachers

We trained all our teachers to create virtual classrooms using Teams. The training included various methods like video conferencing and YouTube tutorials. We helped our admin staff to onboard by creating virtual meeting rooms, devising a timetable, and conducting online classes.

Setting up Interactive Virtual Classrooms

Interactive classroom not only helps educators to gauge the mood of the students but also plan the teaching and learning accordingly. We devised ways to engage students, including creating quizzes and online content in addition to interacting with them in real-time. All our lectures are recorded on Teams and stored there so that if students weren’t able to attend the class or wish to revise after the class, they can view the lecture later. This was also extended to other teachers and ultimately, the whole school was involved.

Online Learning Assessment

Assessment is an important part of learning. Therefore, using the online assessment tool MS Forms, we helped teachers create e-tests that constituted our first assessment of the year. Thus, our first-ever online  UT was successfully conducted. Since we have all our students on O-365, MS Forms enabled us to create time and day based, cheat-proof closed quizzes which were available for students of our school. Using these alongside Teams, we could conduct the tests in exactly the same manner as in school, only on a virtual platform.

To appraise the students and staff, in fact, the whole teaching fraternity of Cyber ethics, our Cybersecurity warriors, students of out IT club created a movie on Cyber Scams in India During Pandemic under our mentorship.

 Engaging students in innovative ways 

Turning adversity into an opportunity, we decided to engage our students in more meaningful ways during this pandemic. Thus, we conducted online Intra School IT competition-Wartex, our annual endeavour, online this year. This has helped in engaging the students creatively by using free online tools to create apps, educational movies, e-posters, games and e-innovations.

Coding is a basic skill recognised by the Niti Ayog and it has also found a place in our NEP draft policy. So, in order to empower every student with coding skills, we have launched an online course on Python coding. We have created a website for the same. This is a self-paced course filled with fun and challenges. We have received an overwhelming response and students are utilising this lockdown period to enhance their coding skills.

Link to Website: https://letsdocoding2.wixsite.com/codechamps

We also decided to have a virtual world educational tour with our students and classrooms around the world. Calling it “Unfurling Happiness around the World,”  we have already had sessions with teachers from Egypt and Russia on STEM-related topics such as AR/VR and immersive technologies. This has helped us engage our students meaningfully bringing in some fun along with studies, thus making students emotionally sound to handle their stress.  We have scheduled the whole of June for our students using Skype.

Link to Website: https://unfurlinghappiness.wixsite.com/globetrotters

 

Imparting knowledge and handholding

In order to empower the teaching fraternity with the latest tools to conduct online classes, we have taken training sessions of teachers on a number of platforms like CBSE, NCERT, DIET and some international platforms like Empatico. We have conducted sessions on how to embed technology tools in classroom teaching, pedagogical applications of various life skills, subject enhancement and how to manage stress-free classrooms.

The audience includes the teaching community at the state, national and international levels. From training teacher educators to the teaching staff of our school, we have not only helped them embrace technology in classroom teaching but have also been doing handholding by creating various resources.

Conclusion

We feel that online learning has acted as a catalyst to drive home the need to overhaul our education systems to meet the needs of today’s learners. So, we plan to make the e-learning part of our ‘new normal’ after experiencing the benefits first-hand.

Read more articles of the same authors

Igniting STEM and Robotics for Quality Education

Socio-Emotional Learning, 10 Tips to Make Your Classroom a Happy Place!

The Guru

Written by Team Cambridge

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