Online Education is not Cool- Says Survey!!

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The global pandemic has forced the world to hit the pause button its ever-flowing life and energy. Many crucial activities had to be hard-stopped, and the world was forced into the boundaries of their homes. The old life diminished, and today’s world is forced to adjust to the ‘new normal’ way of living. Although some essential old arrangements are still prevalent in this era like food and medicines, other aspects of life like education, entertainment, employment, etc., came to a standstill and could not continue in the old ways. These circumstances have given birth to the ‘virtual’ ways to conduct our social and professional engagements. The education space has also considered this medium to be the most effective way of conducting its activities. Millions of children who met at a common area with their school-mates, studying together, playing sports, having a laugh, and creating precious school memories have to now stare at a video screen in their homes and receive an education. Is it the most effective way of learning, though? From an Indian perspective, one of the teachers at Delhi University recently said that students who live in villages and small towns struggle with internet speed and are mostly unable to attend. Such students are also not able to give online exams and usually fail. One of the essential requirements of education is physical presence, attention, thought-process, and emotions. These ingredients have to be tailored and provided in different doses, as no student is the same.

Many students and teachers agree that online education is not as effective as learning in school. The essence of education is sorely ignored when it comes to learning online. The primary issue is that not all people have access to computers, laptops, cellphones, and the internet. Even if they do, it doesn’t always assure seamless connectivity, which can hamper online learning. This fact was very well proven in a global report published by UNESCO, where 82.6 crore students do not have access to a household computer, and 70.6 crore students do not have the internet at home.

Education required intense verbal interactions with fellow students and teachers alike, and non-verbal interactions, which is only possible inside a classroom. Such interactions help develop the personality of students apart from giving education to them. From the educator’s perspective, online education makes it impossible to maintain an emotional connection with children, which is the basis of quality education. A meaningful assessment of student’s learning was not possible during online education. In many cases, it was observed that teachers were also not able to adapt to this new style of teaching. They struggled to get the hang of technology and were expected to prepare PowerPoint presentations, record video lectures, take classes through various apps, but without receiving clear instructions. Tenured teachers who were aged could not adapt to this sudden change in teaching methods and were only comfortable in the old ways. Online education propels young children to more online exposure, which puts them at risk of becoming victims of sexual exploitation and grooming. Many online predators have been seeking such children, especially during this pandemic and since it’s a very new concept, many parents are not even aware of such threats of the unsupervised screen and online time that their kids have been spending. Other issues that have cropped up with online education is that it has made kids more conditioned to doing things virtually rather than actually. E.g., they become more involved in online gaming rather than playing physical sports, which can boost quality like teamwork and health, when online gaming can just put a strain on their eyes. With the country and essential activities opening up, it is widely expected that traditional education will come back to the forefront again and all children would be able to reap its benefits. With the unprecedented advancement of technology during this lockdown, we indeed might be happy that obtaining essentials is now at our fingertips, but this is one essential activity that we would instead do the old-fashioned way!

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