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The COVID-19 pandemic drastically affected people across the globe. Yet, it also brought about many changes to people’s lifestyles that are likely to outlast it. The rise in remote work and online education are some major examples. As schools and colleges across the world shut down to curb the spread of the virus, students of all ages moved to online classrooms.
According to UNESCO, up to 1.37 billion students across the world had to stay at home in March 2020, which was only the start of the pandemic. Since then, many others have had to experience this. Whether it’s children who started their early schooling during the lockdown, or incoming batches to colleges, a lot of students had to accept online classrooms as their only option. Even now, students continue studying from their homes. Instead of travelling to their campuses or buying new school supplies, they now make do with an internet connection like Optimum internet and a laptop.
Innovations In Edtech sector
So, even if online classrooms have been around for many years, they have never been as commonplace as they are now. Therefore, there are many ways in which the online schooling experience has refined itself according to the needs of the time. Naturally, technological innovation has aided this process and the world witnessed numerous edtech startups coming into existence. Here are some of the many ways in which it has done so, and will likely do in the future.
1. Virtual Classrooms
“I’m in my class.” If a student sends you this text message now, it is likely that they’re attending an online class, and not texting under their desk in a physical classroom. While this seems quite obvious now, you would have never imagined it before the pandemic.
So, the virtual classroom experience has now become a norm for all kinds of students. In these, the classroom environment is simulated through active participation. Also, platforms like Zoom and Google Classroom are keeping up to date with all the latest requirements. For example, the option to create breakout rooms in a Zoom class is similar to creating class discussion groups. Moreover, features such as screen-sharing and annotating allow teachers and students to actively engage with each other.
2. Online Education Platforms
Colleges and universities across the world have often offered online samplers of their courses on education platforms. For example, Coursera and Udemy host many different courses. Yet, most people used to consider such courses secondary to the “real” deal. However, online education platforms are now experiencing a boom in usage.
This is because not only have students been using them in place of physical classes, even professionals are trying them out. Ever since remote work became a norm, many workers and homemakers suddenly got the time to explore new topics or hone their existing skills. So, it seems like online education platforms are not nearly as important as physical educational institutes.
3. Augmented and Virtual Reality
If you can’t actually experience the physical parts of being in an educational institute, what’s the next best thing? AR and VR technology! After making waves in the entertainment industry through gaming, this technology can also transform the educational experience of students.
By making use of augmented and virtual reality, students can have an immersive learning experience. Also, in some ways, they can learn more than in physical classes. This is because AR and VR tech does not have the limitations of the physical experience. For example, students can learn about different geographies by visiting them through AR and VR.
4. Learning Analysis
This is one feature of online learning that trumps even offline learning. By teaching and studying virtually, learning experiences can be recorded and saved. For example, teachers can keep track of attendance and participation very easily online. Also, even online assignment submissions help students and teachers maintain a track record.
Because of this, teachers and students can analyze their progress, learning outcomes, and weaknesses. Therefore, they can keep tweaking their educational experience to make it better.
5. Gamified Learning
This form of learning may be unconventional, but it is more effective than traditional methods. The gamification of learning refers to interactive online games and tasks that help students learn lessons and put them into practice. Also, gamified learning is especially useful for younger children via online education games. This is because gaming can help them understand concepts more easily than through theories.
For example, number games can help students train their minds to solve math problems. Similarly, quiz games can help children learn about word spelling and grammar rules. Moreover, the visual aspect of gaming makes students remember their lessons much quicker than through books or lectures. A great example of gamified learning comes from India – a country that faced stiff recurring tranches of Covid-19 lockdowns. Many celebrities promoted online education during lockdowns and online education in India is evidently still booming.
What’s your view on online education?
I tried weaving this article in the form of an online education essay and how technology tools backed the adoption of online classrooms. Out of all the readers, there might be many who consider online education ineffective but I certainly believe that the benefits of online education always surpasses the disadvantages of online education being the only boon for students all across the globe during the pandemic. I welcome you to share your thoughts about online education in the comments below.