May 28, 2020

Remote Learning Has Worked Beautifully For Some

Imagine:

Jack is a bright grade 4 student, but his performance at school doesn’t reflect anywhere near his true potential. Alas, the pandemic happened. Educational technology is once again called upon to provide solutions. Learners and educators alike were forced to engage more in elearning sessions. Surprisingly, Olivia, Jack’s’ teacher, notes that the boy’s performance has gone up significantly. Let us take a look at the hows and whys.

It’s past 8 in the morning and Jack is still on his way to school. As expected, he once again comes in late, to the jeers of his classmates. Teacher Olivia tactfully reprimands the class to stop the commotion and return their focus to the task at hand: a surprise long quiz. Jack, blushing as usual, takes his seat and hurriedly tries to catch up with the exam. The bell rings, and Jack submits his half-finished examination papers.

And then the pandemic.

It’s past 8 in the morning, and Jack is still at bed. Roused by the wonderful smell of breakfast coming from their kitchen, he wakes up a few minutes later, smiling- it was such a good sleep. Before turning in last night he finished reading some required readings set by Teacher Olivia. Jack liked the readings so much he decided to surf the internet and read some more on the subject matter.

Now with his belly filled with a hearty breakfast, Jack decides to continue browsing the internet to better understand his lessons. At 10 a.m. sharp, he joins the scheduled class Zoom conference and participates in the discussion, much to his classmates surprise. He explains points that were deemed hard by many. Olivia beams an approving smile, Jacks’ classmates claps in admiration. As usual, Jack blushes, but this time because of joy and not of humiliation.

Our imagined scenario is a simplified illustration of the situation experienced by many of our learners pre- and during the pandemic. Some thrive in the stay at home learn at home setup simply because they are not pressured to wake up early and go physically in school. Small thing in the surface but upon closer scrutiny it leads to other discomforts that learners could experience. With self-pacing, learners who are guided effectively by their parents and educators with the help of teacher tools could understand and take to heart lessons that would be otherwise hard if given at the traditional school setup.

With distant learning, the chances of bullying is minimized- but it is still there. Internet safety should never be ignored. Anything that distracts and harms our learners should be monitored and taken care of. A happy and safe learner is a successful learner.