Humans are in lockdown, streets are empty and schools have shutdown. This pandemic has brought a new age. An age where people are coming back to their roots, to their home country, to their family. An age where citizens who were taken for granted are worshiped and applauded. An age where school buildings are locked, classrooms are empty and teachers are away from their students. This is the time when both teachers and students are “transitioning from in-person to remote learning,” says Dimple Puri, Head of School, DLF World School, Greater Noida.
In the wake of COVID-19 Pandemic, we are working from home, to keep ourselves safe and to contribute our part in keeping the country safe too. There is a need for the educational community to plan for quality, flexible and sustainable learning options.
Schools are readying to bring academics online via virtual platforms to experience learning continuity, support students’ progress and development.Teachers are working hard to put the collaborative classrooms in place to deliver high-quality, engaging learning experiences for all our students.Parents are playing a very supportive role in it.
The steps given below are helpful for school leaders:
Auditing of the available online resources
This is a whole school collaborative effort. School leaders can share the workload amongst the faculty members and gather the information about
- The technologies the schools already possess.
- Technology, the students, have access to through an online parental survey.
- How prepared the staff and students are to use online tools?
- Visit free educational technology tools, e.g. Google classrooms, Google Hangouts, Dropbox, Skype, Slack, Zoom.They are all mostly free. The faculty should examine these tools, check the security and privacy issues before deployment.
- Ensure all your teachers have online teaching skills to deliver high-quality, engaging learning experiences to the students. Though it takes time, with encouragement and support, teachers will upskill and build capacity.
- Build expertise in online learning design by accessing external knowledge and professional learning opportunities for teachers. Microsoft Education has been extensively training teachers worldwide in this regard. Make peer mentors within the group where the technologically proficient team members can help the struggling teachers.
- Provide opportunities for teachers to share and showcase their best online practices.
Making a blueprint
- Create a weekly learning schedule for students divided into morning and evening cycle. Morning cycle must focus on developing cognitive abilities for a stipulated period. Evening cycle must allow the child to explore co-curricular activities like reading activities, utilization of online newspaper as a resource, Art integration/value education/life skills.Parents can include them in household chores spread over the weekdays.
Indoor sports activities such as board games/ludo/snakes and ladders with siblings or parents, which promotes bonding within the family.
Communication to parents
Plan an orientation session apprising them of the vision of the school during these times.
- Handing over the weekly time table and the resources to the parents.
- Parents’ technological skills may or may not be adequate in supporting student skill levels. Communicate to parents how they can help their students in using technology
- Parental feedback upon the student’s achievements, progress, teachers involvement must be sought from time to time.
- Teachers must submit an End of Day report to the school leader stating the students/ parents response, challenges and unique experiences of the day.
- Subject teachers must record daily attendance, which is indicative of student engagement and progress.
- The subject teachers must write the profile of each class/group/child they teach, which includes the attitude towards the school programme and the submission of the assignments in a weekly checklist.
Making this lockdown period constructive by undertaking different activities with the best possible use of technology is a challenge. However, a digitally smart school leader with kindness and empathy at the heart can make this transition smooth and purposeful.