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Online learning experience leaves educators richer

By Our Correspondent Updated: Feb 11, 2021 12:27 am
A file photo of students writing online examination in the forest of Thsürühu village during the lockdown period last year.

Our Correspondent
Kohima, Feb. 9 (EMN):
Nagaland, like the rest of the world, had to switch to virtual learning last year, as in-person teaching became a risk for students as well as public in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yet, online classes were not without hitches as poor internet connectivity played spoilsport in the state despite all efforts made by the implementing agencies to make education reach the students.

Upon resuming of physical classes on February 8 in the state, officials and educators shared about online class experiences and how it uncovered learning gaps in students and ways to address the issue.

Principal Director of School Education, Shanavas C admitted that online class was ‘not hundred percent successful’ but what mattered was making the effort to help students through all means available.

Last year, the department of School Education had tried “every method”, unsure of whether it would be successful.

‘In some schools, method-A worked while method-B worked in the other. We had to try everything,’ he said.

When online classes started, there were instances of students climbing all the way to hilltops, to church towers, and even forest in order to access internet. Some students from Thsürühu village in Zunheboto district, for instance, had to appear online examinations at a dense forest due to lack of internet connection in the village.

Online classes were faced with the challenge of poor internet connectivity, which is “very obvious” in the state. Many places across the state lacked connectivity and students were not able to access benefits that the department intended for them to get, Shanavas said.

“I cannot say that we were 100% successful (online class) but we’ve tried a lot,” the officer added.

From the experience, the official pointed out ways to resolve the issue in the days to come.

‘Teachers should be well equipped; places must be well connected with internet connectivity, and students should be well aware to grasp new things that are coming up,’ he said.

‘Along with this conventional mode of education (classroom teaching), we will keep encouraging other methods of education as well. Wherever there is gap and lack of connectivity, the department will do whatever it can to extent help,’ he added.

Senti Makritsuh, who teaches English at a private school in Kohima, recalled online classes as “little challenging” because of internet glitches. She said that internet network was not friendly most of the time but learned a lot while conducting online classes during the pandemic, like using different kinds of mobile applications and technologies.

Along with the students, teachers too learned how to use the new mode of communication through internet, she added.

Principal of Mount Sinai Higher Secondary School, Kohima, PJ Nathan said he noticed learning gap in students during the pandemic-induced online classes and pointed out some of the reasons that had contributed to learning deficiency in students.

‘The online activities and classes were not “very productive”. Even though many videos and materials on lessons were sent, students were not able to download them or they had mistakenly deleted them. In order to address the learning gap, the school is now trying to revise some of the important lessons for at least a few days before they start the new sessions, he said.

‘Teachers will be initially revising lessons that are directly connected to the higher class. Only then will they get into the new academic session. That is how the school will be able to recover for some of the lost thing,’ the principal added.

On internet connection issue, he said that it is a problem that everyone faced across the state. ‘Literally, there were students who were not able to log in for online classes and even when they did, it was on-and-off,’ he said.

‘When teachers took classes, there was so much of interruption. Initially, they had three periods of one hour each in a day. Time to log in for online class took about 15 to 20 minutes, which means the teacher would get about 30 to 40 minutes for a class,’ the principal pointed out.

He said that they were able to do many things via online class. There were a few students who made the best use of it. Even teachers were able to conduct some lessons although it might not be up to their expectations, he said.

‘However, it was not satisfactory because in spite of the effort, something went wrong somewhere due to poor internet connectivity. If connectivity was good, online teaching would have been more successful,’ he added.

He went on to say that some students honestly appeared for online examination while some resorted to malpractices, but “what mattered was the learning experience”.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Feb 11, 2021 12:27:42 am