ISRA 2020
ISRA 2020

Covid-19: Challenge & response

EducationWorld May 2020 | Education Briefs

The silver lining of the Covid-19 crisis and the susbequent lockdown of all education institutions from KG to Ph D is that it has stimulated innovative ICT solutions to ensure continuity of teaching-learning. Here’s how several randomly selected institutional managements are responding to the Covid-19 challenge.

Anchorwala Education Academy, Mumbai

Among the first schools in Mumbai to introduce virtual learning solutions following outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Anchorwala Education Academy (AEA) has drawn upon the expertise of its faculty in leveraging digital technologies to deliver quality online learning in several innovative ways.

Staff orientation and training. AEA managers and teachers were familiarised with online pedagogies through an intensive one-week workshop. In particular, teachers were trained to use Zoom for conducting online classes and creating digital resources. An orientation session on using Zoom was conducted also for parents.

Online classes. Daily online classes are being conducted according to time-tables and attendance musters are being marked. A one-point contact for resolving technical glitches and communication issues was shared with parents and teachers. Virtual classes went live in end-March after digital resources, including class and practice work and projects, were posted online.

“We have received positive feedback from students and parents for our online classes. There is growing appreciation among all stakeholders that AEA staff and management have quickly introduced a smooth switch to online learning in these challenging times,” says Shilpa Kenia, secretary, AEA.

Mount Litera Zee School, Amritsar

Mount Litera Zee School, Amritsar (MLZSA) has steadily introduced new technologies in teaching learning over the past decade. After the nationwide lockdown was announced on March 24, the management and staff have smoothly transformed MLZSA into an engaging virtual school.

Innovative initiatives taken by the management to ensure teaching learning continuity include utilisation of e-learning tools such as Skype, Google Meet and Google Classroom specifically designed for teachers and students, and teachers’ training in e-tools usage. The school’s in-house IT specialists and Microsoft Google master trainers have formulated e-learning schedules for each class, allotment and submission of assignments and disbursal of students’ work completed through Google Classroom and other e-learning resources installed in every classroom.

“Our parents and students have been very supportive. None of our students has missed even one online virtual class. All of them are very enthusiastic about online learning and regular about completing their assignments. Our switch to online learning has been quick and successful,” says Manjot Dhillon, director, MLZSA.

Sat Paul Mittal School, Ludhiana

The management of Sat Paul Mittal School, Ludhiana (SPMS) — a Microsoft Showcase school — is committed to providing all students virtual learning amid the ongoing nationwide lockdown through its Remote Learning Work Plan (RLWP). The plan is being implemented through:

Student orientation. A detailed roadmap outlining RLWP and expected outcomes has been sent to all students.

Virtual classrooms. SPMS teachers are leveraging MS Teams, Flipgrid, Wakelet, OneNote and Office 365 programmes to create and share e-learning resources with students. Software suites used include Presenter, eWhite Board, Screencast-o-Matic, and Wondershare Filmora to enrich teaching-learning experiences. The online curriculum also includes physical education, dance, music and art.

Collaboration and review. SPMS management and staff are leveraging MS Teams among other digital platforms for enabling teacher-teacher and teacher-student interaction. “It’s heartening to see our collaboration initiatives bearing fruit so quickly with parents and students enthused with our online teaching learning initiatives,” says Bhupinder Gogia, principal, SPMS.

Pardada Pardadi Education Society

The management and staff of Anoopshahr (Uttar Pradesh)-based Pardada Pardadi Education Society (PPES, estb.2000) — a non-profit organisation founded by Virendra (‘Sam’) Singh, former president and managing director of DuPont South Asia Ltd — has pulled out all stops to ensure continuous learning for its 1,613 girl children in its three schools in the under-served Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh.

Customised learning via multiple digital platforms. PPES teachers post daily learning content through the WhatsApp platform. Simultaneously teachers are conducting online classes for students with access to the Zoom app. For those unable to access WhatsApp or Zoom, PPES teachers are providing learning instructions through cell phones.

Community engagement initiatives. The PPES management is mobilising school and local communities to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic through several initiatives. Among them: PPES school buildings have been transformed into quarantine centres; it has installed a toll-free hotline number; provision of food, hygiene and other essential rations to PPES families who have lost their livelihoods; and the economic empowerment wing of PPES has enabled self-help women’s groups to produce protective face masks.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has posed disproportionate challenges for the country’s rural populace. In these testing times, the PPES staff has demonstrated excellent collaboration and team work to ensure uninterrupted learning for our children while providing humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable households of our communities,” says Renuka Gupta, CEO of PPES.

Royal Global School, Guwahati

Ranked Assam’s #1 day-cum-boarding school in the EducationWorld India School Rankings 201920, Royal Global School, Guwahati (RGS) has taken speedy action to ensure learning continuity in the wake of the national Covid-19 lockdown. Since late March, online classes for class XII students followed by online lessons for preschool to class XI students were quickly introduced. Current initiatives include:

Teacher training. RGS teachers are receiving continuous training to conduct virtual classes through digital and e-learning media including the Diksha, E Pathsala and Swayam platforms of the Union ministry of human resource development.

Student orientation. Senior students are being provided guidance for learning online while junior school students are being encouraged to seek parental support to do the same.

Co-curricular education. Given RGS’ strong focus on co-curricular education, music, yoga, aerobics classes and games are also being conducted on a regular basis.

“We have left no stone unturned to shower our children with the extra attention they need during these troubled times. We are always planning, strategising and preparing to forge ahead with renewed zeal,” says Anubha Goyal, principal of RGS.

Jammu Sanskriti School, Jammu

The CBSE-affiliated Jammu Sanskriti School (JSS) has made a swift transition to digital learning in the wake of the ongoing nationwide lockdown following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Teacher training. Teachers are being provided continuous training to develop ICT skills — screen-sharing, video-recording, answering student queries online by leveraging Google Classroom and Zoom among other digital learning tools.

Co-curricular education. Online lessons in physical education, art, music and dance are also being conducted by subject teachers. Moreover, students are encouraged to write stories, poetry, songs, design activities and games.

Online classes for special needs children. Special educators are providing online classes for children with special needs to make them more independent, acquire self-confidence and collaborate with classmates and teachers.

“The lockdown has enthused our teachers to not only present academic content in innovative ways, but also to focus on developing ethics, emotional intelligence and acquaint students with the concept of sustainable development,” says Rohini Aima, principal and vice-chairperson, Jammu Sanskriti School.

Purv International School, Durgapur

Sited in Durgapur Steel City (West Bengal), Purv International School (PIS) has squarely confronted the challenges of preparing its students — most of them children of coal miners residing in neighbouring villages — for the world of online learning in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent nationwide lockdown.

Robust IT infrastructure. Students are given access to software links on the school website to download the popular Zoom app on their phones, laptops or desktops for logging into online classes, completing homework and accessing study material.

Teacher training. Continuous teacher training programmes are conducted through Zoom and other e-learning platforms for screen sharing, posting assignments and making PowerPoint presentations.

Co-curricular education. Online aerobics, arts and crafts and yoga classes are being conducted on weekends for class I-XII students.

“It is heartening that despite initial problems, our e-learning classes have clocked 90 percent attendance. We are thankful to our students and all parents who have contributed to the success of this initiative,” says Subrata Chattopadhyay, director and founder-principal, PIS.

Rajmata Krishna Kumari Girls Public School, Jodhpur

The management and staff of the Jodhpur-based Rajmata Krishna Kumari Girls Public School (RKKGPS) have successfully launched online classes for nursery to class XII students. Among this high-ranked day-cum-boarding school’s initiatives post Covid-19:

Online study material. Primary students are given access to informative digital content including animated videos. Senior students access a repository of curriculum-mapped content including notes, practice questions and answers, projects, question bank, homework, test series for all subjects.

Counseling. Students, parents and staff are provided guidance and counselling on ways and means to manage challenging situations, cultivate positivity and follow a balanced routine while children learn from home.

“Virtual learning has transformed the bedrooms of our girls into classrooms. Most of them have become proficient in the 4C’s of 21st century learning — communication, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. We extend our gratitude to parents who have been active partners in this transformative journey,” says Neera  Singh, principal of RKKGPS.

Nalapad Academy, Bangalore

Nalapad Academy (NA) has smoothly transitioned to providing its students virtual learning in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis and nationwide lockdown. Among its several initiatives:

Virtual classrooms. Online classes of 30 minutes each are being conducted with a ten-minute break in between to ensure balanced screen time. For pre-primary children, interactive storytelling sessions and video lessons are being conducted to ensure students engagement.

Online exams. Online examinations with creative audio and video content designed by the school’s teachers are also being conducted by leveraging Google tools for online invigilation.

“The commitment and passion of our teachers has made the switch to online teaching seamless. The school’s students and parents communities have greatly appreciated the creatively designed online curriculum and classes,” says Kavita Sinha, principal, Nalapad Academy.

St. Mary’s School, Mazgaon

The CISCE-affiliated all-boys St. Mary’s School, Mazgaon (SMS, estb.1964)) has ensured learning continuity for all students amid the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown, by leveraging digital technologies to develop innovative content and learning programmes.

E-learning & online classes. SMS teachers are conducting live lectures for all students according to time tables using PowerPoint presentations, study material, voice recordings and animation videos. Pre-primary teachers conduct stories-based classes to teach phonetics and cursive writing to tiny tots.

Non-academic virtual classes. SMS teachers are also conducting cocurricular education classes to engage students in interactive games, music and dance.

“Students and parents are relieved that syllabus compilation will not suffer because of the pandemic. Moreover, students are excited by the novelty of digital learning and have demonstrated a high level of engagement in online classes,” says Fr. (Dr.) Francis Swamy S.J, principal of St. Mary’s School, Mazgaon.

Billabong High International School, Noida

In the midst of the ongoing nationwide Covid-19 lockdown, teachers of the CBSE-affiliated Billabong High International School (BHIS), Noida, have devised innovative and engaging virtual learning solutions for the school’s students.

Online teacher training. Teacher training workshops for enhancing teachers’ ICT skills are being conducted.

Virtual classrooms. Teachers and students are using video conferencing to log into online classrooms conducted according to fixed time-tables shared with students two-three days in advance. After class, teachers share their presentations and YouTube links via WhatsApp broadcast groups.

Creating digital content. Digital learning resources are being shared on WhatsApp groups while notes, PowerPoint presentations, worksheets, assignments and learning links are uploaded on the school’s website prior to online classes.

Co-curricular education. BHIS has also introduced online classes for robotics, yoga, physical education, music, dance and art to enable holistic development of students.

“We are in constant touch with parents for feedback to continuously improve the quality of our online teaching-learning processes. Moreover, the school counsellor advises parents on how to cope with Covid-19 lockdown situations at home,” says Sharmila Chatterjee, principal, BHIS.

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