Roadmap to Effective Learning & Community Building for new normal of digital age

By Chandani Goyal

During this crucial time, the world has made a remarkable entry to cyberspace, and the schools too are following the norm. The entire teaching-learning process has seen a huge evolution, but approaches continue to be the same. The most common mistake being observed is the belief that a teacher good in the traditional model of teaching, can easily embark on the new digital journey.

The digital world is an evolving enterprise and online learning and schooling are one of the newest feathers to its wings. New platforms for teaching-learning seem to take birth each day, but the teaching fraternity continues to be submerged into the older ways. The new normal requires new vision and new approaches to be unearthed.

While being digitally literate and competent is the heart to online teaching, but what requires a sincere reflection is to plan the lesson that is adaptive to the distance with the ability to truly engage the cognitive and emotional ability of the learners. Having spent some time with this new form of teaching, it is time for educators to reflect and outline the facet of challenges popping up and lay a road map to achieve the objective effectively and efficiently.

With new hurdles being notified every day, the passion to jump through those too keeps growing. Though the digital era has left us with lemons, we should strive hard to squeeze them into refreshing lemonade. It is time to delineate strategies that would assist the teachers through this new journey.

  1. ASSURANCE TO INSURE
  2. To begin with the schools should seek parental consent to have their child’s registration on varied school approved online platforms.
  3. Do not miss out on informing about the frequent need to have them record their audio & visual clip for the assessments; alongside the assurance to use it for school-related projects only. 
  4. It would be highly recommended if schools could list out in advance different platforms that they would be exploring, for the parents to visit and learn about.
  • PLANNING FOR THE UNKNOWN
  • While planning the synchronous classroom, we also need to take into consideration the possibilities of students’ absenteeism owing to varied factors like shared device, poor connectivity, and so on. 
  • Thus, in such a scenario the teachers should understand the need for asynchronous settings and record their live sessions.
  • These recordings can later be shared with the students along with the supporting files for the students to use as per the availability of time and device.
  • Platforms that allow live recording of the meetings are: Zoom, Google Hangout, Microsoft Team, and so on.
  • COMMUNITY BUILDING
  • Building small group based tasks and assigning roles and criteria will not widen the scope of interaction and communication, but also house creativity.
  • Creating groups basis the understanding of learners’ ability and friendship will help break through the chilling isolation.

TOOLS TO ENSURE COMMUNICATION, COLLABORATION & COMMUNITY BUILDING

  • PARTNERING WITH PARENTS
  • Involve parents not just for feedback, but weave assignments ensuring collaboration between parents and the child, for a congenial and happy learning environment at home.
  • Layout guidelines for parents so that they don’t end up doing the assignment while intending to assist.
  • Partner with them to add more value to the new experience by enabling them to create a focused and self directed study environment; and the need to time the assignments/ assessments.
  • Foster in parents the need to meditate/ play/ exercise together, to ensure calm and composed demeanor of the child.

Embracing the new challenge and planning effectively would not only enable our learners in smooth sailing, but also help to fight through the feeling of being desolate, to building the sense of belonged and a part of a community. Such tough times require stronger you, thereby enhancing productivity and inculcating the zeal to be a change adaptor and change maker.

Author is a TGT English