ONLINE EDUCATION: The Concept of future or the Future itself?

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By Bilwa Sarkar (M.Com, B.Ed, PGDM)
PRINCIPAL
Aastha Public School, Beparda, Bolangir Email : [email protected]

Sudden closure of schools and other educational institutions by the centre for the pandemic had brought most of the educators out of their comfort zone. It became a question of delivery of their services as usual, in a changing environment. For some, it became the question of existence. Overnight there was an urgent need of change in the pattern of teaching-learning activity and while doing so the online mode was thought to be the best available option. Necessity is always the mother of invention as most of the teachers started mastering the skills at their earliest. The switching was not as easy as the thought of because the Online mode could satisfy neither the teachers nor the students due to lack of experience. Deliberations and gossips went through in the air but the new-normal found its way through the crowd.

The case was not uniform in all the locations. The urbanites were the blessed ones with tech-savvy teachers and better available networks. Still, then there was a vacuum. Going online overnight perhaps ignored the methodologies which the online teaching demands. Most of the teachers just tried to translate it in their own way but with unsatisfactory results. The cases in the rural segment were more pathetic. Media showed clips of children going up the hills, climbing trees or water tanks which became best of the memes for social networking sites. Hence teaching-learning activity underwent a major change. The early birds got the first movers advantage but there is a bottom line always. Some schools and teachers struggled throughout but couldnt standardize their services. But later with time, they achieved a feel-good performance. Thats how schooling continued and all the stakeholders accepted the Hobsons choice.

Now when the Post-Covid era can at least be thought of, there is a huge demand for the off-line format of classroom teaching. So, will there be a paradigm shift from on-line to the off-line mode or will the flood of on-line activities during this period leave the silt on our existing classroom teaching-learning activities?

It is expected that these online classes will remain parallel to normal schooling. Benefits once enjoyed by students, especially the freedom of learning or accessibility will force us for its implementation in Post-Covid era. Students may feel at home when the physical classes resume but the feeling will be short-lived. There will certainly be a demand for these ongoing online activities. We should not say that these practices were never before but now the growth will be exponential. The concepts like online-tutorials, learn-at-your-own-pace, Concept mapping, virtual classroom etc. will be a common phenomenon around. Our country has a good playing field for implementation of technology in education. Will it be ignored by the Ed-tech players for a long? So it will be an open-ended option for all the stakeholders.

Finally, Will, we be strong enough to stop this hurricane or be titled as an Orthodox Methodist? Perhaps the generation to come will also feel astonished by knowing the fact that A man could be a Teacher. Probably two centuries ago, the Core Education System of this land had been moulded, fabricated and made confined within four walls by an alien culture which broke the connection of education with nature. Will it be again made to fit within a palm-held screen? The answer is pretty predictable.

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