WANG Wei – Head of TAL’s Smart Education Group in conversation with Brainfeed discusses about how TAL’s online education system is lighting hope within thousands of academics amidst shutdown of classes in China.
Currently, what packages by TAL Education are kept free of cost in context of the endemic? Have you customized any of your products to meet deal with digital expertise and indefinite suspension of classroom learning?
After the outbreak, TAL issued an announcement as soon as possible. It announced the establishment of a 100 million yuan special fund to fight the epidemic, and donated 20 million yuan to Wuhan Charity Federation. As of January 26, 20 million yuan in cash had been donated. 80 million yuan is used for special education projects to help children all over the country and“stop school, but don’t stop studying”.
Education programs are mainly used in three aspects:
First, providing live broadcasting platforms and technical support for primary and secondary schools in Hubei Province and other epidemic affected areas nationwide free of charge. The main measures are to provide live cloud platform help to teachers and students, and to establish online professional classrooms.
It includes: providing an 1-to-X (variable, however many)online live platform system, helping public school teachers to set up online live teaching classroom according to the original amount of students per class; providing overall online solution (fast training and learning.), through which self-help system deployment can be achieved; providing detailed user manual and allowing designated administrators, teachers and students complete software and hardware settings tolisten online according to the steps. The online learning system process includes pre-class preparation, teaching videos, how to create course videos, client installation, and detailed introductions of each link and product functions. It is convenient for public school administrators and teachers to quickly and deeply understand the online platform system; the technology and operation give 24-hoursof uninterrupted online support, quickly solving problems.
Second, provide online live teaching solutions for online training institutions in Hubei Province and other epidemic areas in China. Before the end of the epidemic, all teaching and training institutions in the country could and still can take advantage of the online teaching system of TAL’s Live Cloud (直播云) free of charge. At the same time, partners of TAL’s open platform can also enjoy free support of different types of course content, operation escort, etc.
Third, we will launch free live synchronous classes for students who are unable to start normal school in Hubei Province and other epidemic areas across the country.
TAL’s XRS Online School provides free live classes to users nationwide from Monday to Friday, which are synchronized with the school’s operating time. The courses cover all subjects from 1st to 11th grade. Since February 1st (the eighth day of the first month), XRS online school has begun to conduct all-day trial operation teaching. Primary and secondary school students with preview and review needs, and can start to listen to it [classes online]. From February 10, it officially starts, the free live class will continue until the end of the epidemic. Since its launch, free live classes have been seen by children from Xinjiang in the north, to Hainan Island in the south, Henan in the middle to Yungui in the west, especially those in remote areas (all over China).
TAL’s off-line courses (face-to-face and double teacher courses) are all transformed into on-line courses. After class services remains unchanged, and the content is consistent with off-line courses, so as to ensure the original teachers, time, and content. During the winter vacation timeline, offline-courses were all switched to online courses, mainly adopting the teaching mode of “online small class”; under the winter vacation line, the dual-teacher online courses model will be adopted. Since February 9, many company branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Wuxi, Dongguan and other places have joined hands with XRS online school to provide local primary and secondary school students with free real-time live classes. The course is developed by the local teaching and research teams and designed according to the local learning situation.
XRS iZhikang, a subsidiary of Tal, has suspended all offline (in-person) teaching and classes over the winter vacation term. Since January 25 (face-to-face 1-1, face-to-face 8-person class, 1-to-2), and the winter vacation courses started on January 26 have been changed to online courses. XRS iZhikang promises that the original teachers, original content and original time period is guaranteed. The learning progress and results of the students are to be complete at the greatest extent.
On January 31, XRS iZhikang started its first online teaching class during the epidemic. In order to prepare forthe transition (online teaching), in a few days, thousands of teachers from 18 iZhikang campuses have completed over 100,000 hours of online preparation. They polish and updated the courseware repeatedly, prepare the handout in advance and upload it to the cloud so the students can access it simultaneously. In addition, teachers also sort out and share their teaching and operation problems in the classroom with other teachers, to present the best classroom results (optimization).
TAL’s First Leap English, First Leap Enlightenment and Mobi thinking, together with the leader of children’s physical training industry Heshi (children’s physical fitness), aha school and hualala, collaboratively built the “First Leap Enlightenment Literacy Camp”, which provides a one-stop literacy English course in areas such as reasoning, sports, science, music, art and other aspects required by preschool children, so as to help children spend this “special holiday” in a relaxed and interesting atmosphere. First Leap English also launched a 100 day public welfare learning program, which focuses on English learning, general knowledge and logical thinking courses. An overall solution to parents’ and children’s learning needs.
The 100 day course includes 5 sections a week, and the 14 week courses covers 78 English words, 4 cognitive themes and 8 mathematical concepts essential for kindergarteners. Users can review the course permanently after completing them successfully. After selecting the right qualified partners, we will distribute the free courses to the families of school-age children.
TAL’s Xueersi (XRS)Lite course will present English and mathematics course in the next spring semester 2020, involving language department editions.Users can watch until June 30, 2020 after receiving it.
Mathematics: Human Education Edition, Beishi edition, Jiangsu Education Edition, General edition. English: General Edition, human education PEP (three starting points) and other versions.
XRS light class also donated 30 days to XRS literacy members. The literacy courseincludes four content directions: Chinese, mathematics, English, and general knowledge. It covers cultural heritage, natural humanities, artistic literacy, growth and health, and other rich curriculum scopes. It is committed to expanding the basic cognition of young people, broadening vision, building a complete comprehension system, and stimulating the interest of independent learning.
As of February 15, XRS has provided synchronized course pre-review and literacy course services for 5 million (pending; bandwidth to be determined) users nationwide during the epidemic period, and free simultaneous learning services for 76,000 students affected by the epidemic in 17 cities in Hubei Province
TAL Hope will open all video learning resources on the PC until the end of the epidemic. Among them, there are not only humanities literacy courses, but also rich and colorful enlightenment courses, as well as science and technology support, along with interesting subject courses.
Dr. Panda is free, offering 120 encyclopedic knowledge courses (original price of 388 RMB) to all children in the country. The novel coronavirus series,a popular science animation, has been launched to help children develop awareness of prevention and health.
From January 26, KMF is providing online courses and preparation services free of charge to candidates in Hubei and all over the country, as well as TOEFL, IELTS, GRE and GMAT online preparation courses over the winter vacation, so that candidates can study efficiently at home.
iQidao, inclusive pricing Weiqi (Go game) course, is free for Hubei students. After the registration deadline on February 1st, 50% of the course fees will be donated to the epidemic area.
TAL’s JZB Parent Help group and XRS Peiyou jointly launched a free app paid course for parents’ group, with 2000 free audio courses, to help Chinese families under the epidemic to fully spend a special period.
Approximately how many schools, colleges and universities TAL is catering to? Is it expected to rise in the upcoming days irrespective of the challenges faced by some educators in dealing with cloud based curriculum?
On January 26, TAL announced to provide live teaching system for primary and secondary schools nationwide free of charge. After a few days (from January 30), TAL has received the needs of nearly 200 schools across the country (including the overall needs of districts and counties). As of February 12, TAL’s Smart Education has completed the deployment of its online live teaching system and teaching training services in 508 public schools in 32 provinces and municipalities directly under the central government, providing free online live teaching and live course services for 244 schools in Hubei Province. Schools are in remote and poverty-stricken areas account for 70%, with more than 30,000 teachers. At its peak, students logging into the system have reached 350,000 people online.
At the same time, TAL Education Open Platform launched the “safe harbor plan”, hoping to build a safe harbor for education with science and technology, and to help institutions in Wuhan and surrounding areas “suspend school but don’t stop learning”. With the change of the epidemic situation, the “safe harbor plan” is also constantly improving. First, it provides online live teaching solution support to the nation-wide in-person training institutions and centers for free; second, it provides live system, course content, operation aid, and other support to the open platform cooperation institutions for free.
Since its opening, the Safe Haven program has supported more than 40,000 educational institutions, nearly 2 million class hours for free, and nearly 20 million students, covering 31 provinces and 310 prefecture level administrative regions. Nearly 2,000 educational institutions come from Hubei and other heavily affected areas. During this period, TAL’s overall stability of live cloud exceeded 99.5%, shouldering the pressure of 2 million students simultaneously online. In order to ensure the continuous stability of the system, TAL has deployed a large number of resource reserves, such as more than 3,000 servers, 1,000g bandwidth reserves, etc.
Teachers are concerned about dwindling student motivation and attention span over the digital platform. How do you think this could be addressed?
First of all, the online classroom should be arranged according to the teaching plan and be at a stipulated teaching time, scheduled for the whole school. Teachers should adjust the conditions, ensuring the teaching state and teaching quality. Cooperate well with parents and pay attention to the students’ learning results and teaching feedback (provided within the software). Adjust your teaching style in real-time. For example, in the live-learning class of Xueersi.com, we can attract children to stay focused through well-designed teaching connections, colorful and interesting courseware designs, and the teacher will control the teaching rhythm as a whole.
Second, technology can be used to create a more effective learning experience online. To this end, TAL has launched an AI live lesson solution to cultivate students “learning habits and thinking abilities, while stimulating students” in an online classroom, through expression and participation. For example, the “Chinese-English Spoken Evaluation” technology allows students to practice learned sentences, words, and other knowledge acquired online and get instant feedback. Teachers can make targeted summaries and comments based on the scored results. Another example is the “note scoring” function in the solution, which can comprehensively grade students’ class notes. From an added dimension of content neatness, completeness, and relevance to knowledge points, helping teachers quickly understand the mastery of each child’s knowledge points. This cultivates Students’ diligence and willingness to express their learning habits and methods.
Finally, we recommend that parents create a quiet and comfortable learning environment for their children as much as possible, and set strict schedules. In addition, qualified parents can take the time to accompany their children to study together, while helping to improve the parent-child relationships. They are essential in helping their children stay focused.
Any suggestion to schools and educators to successfully launch the cloud classroom as a future initiative?
Education is an industry that needs long-term accumulation of knowledge. The most important thing is to strengthen internal skills.
On the one hand, educational enterprises (private companies) need to constantly improve their teaching and research capabilities. For schools or educational institutions, whether online or offline, teaching and research is the ultimate core and soul, which is the key to teaching quality. At the beginning of its establishment, Xueersi established the mode of small front-end and large backend (programming), established a strong teaching and research team and standardized teaching and research system. After nearly 20 years of experience, it has accumulated a large number of high-quality content resources, and is constantly enriching its innovations. In addition, TAL has a team of high-quality teachers, which can guarantee the best teaching results to the greatest extent.
On the other hand, we need to constantly improve our own technology and service capabilities. Technology and services can guarantee the stability of an online education system and the experience of online learning for children to the greatest extent. Through long-term technology investment, TAL has mastered key technologies in all aspects of online education. While ensuring its online education business to the greatest extent, TAL also serves public education, helps private education, and constantly explores new models of future education.
- “Safe harbor plan” generates live system, course content, operation aid, and other support to the open platform cooperation institutions for free.
- All teaching and training institutions in the country can take advantage of the online teaching system of TAL’s Live Cloud (直播云) free of charge.
- TAL’s XRS Online School is accessed by children all over China including the remotest regions
- TAL’s “First Leap Enlightenment Literacy Camp” provides a one-stop literacy English course in areas such as reasoning, sports, science, music, art and other aspects required by preschool children.
- TAL has launched the novel coronavirus series, a popular science animation, has been launched to help children develop awareness of prevention and health.
- XRS, TAL, has provided free learning services for 76,000 students in 17 cities in Hubei Province affected by the epidemic during the endemic
- TAL has 3,000 servers, 1,000g bandwidth reserves, etc to deal with nationwide school shutdown