Friday, March 24

‘Home school’ starts as kids log on to online classes

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Class-X students Arkadeep Bakshi, Sahil Agarwal and Kunal Surana no longer have to wake up at 6am, have a hurried breakfast, get ready and wait for schoolbuses to rush to school. But that doesn’t mean they are on a holiday during the nationwide lockdown imposed to minimise novel coronavirus spread. Accepting that the break shutdown might be long, many schools in the city have started online classes.

At home, students have to still wear their uniforms and sit down with a smartphone, tablet or computer to attend “school”. They have to log on to this virtual classroom at the time slotted and follow a routine that schools have started following, under the changed circumstances. The idea is not to waste valuable study time during this stay-at-home phase .

While some teachers admitted they were just about getting used to speaking before a camera, most students are loving the novel experience. La Martiniere for Girls, DPS Ruby Park, South City International and The Heritage are some of the schools that already started teaching and assessing students online this week. The Newtown School is also set to start virtual classes soon.

La Martiniere for Girls held its first online class on Wednesday. “We are glad the school started online classes. The Covid-19 crisis is not likely to end any time soon and we don’t want to lose out on lessons indefinitely,” said Anoushka Sen, a student of Class XI of the humanities stream. Classmate Sampriya Banik said, “I was missing school. At least, now we can look forward to being connected virtually. It felt as if we were back in classroom.”

Teachers said the Plus-2 syllabus was huge and would become unmanageable unless continuous teaching was carried out. Hence, the decision to start online classes instead of to wait for the lockdown to end.

At The Heritage, it’s a study package of four-and-a-half hours that students have to sit through daily, divided over several subjects. A temporary routine has been drawn up. Students have been given links, which they can use to log on to the virtual classroom at 9am. The academic co-ordinator, Soubhik Jati, is setting it all up from his residence; his work starts at 7:30am and goes on till 8 at night so that lectures can be held smoothly and assignments can be submitted.

Jati said virtual classes were close to real classrooms. “The routine was prepared on March 20 itself and shared with heads of subjects who prepared the content. We are using a learning app for the platform for 75 days and students have been given free access,” he said.

Most students seem glad to be “back in class”. “We had maths on Wednesday. It was great speaking to my friends and teacher after so many days,” said DPS Ruby Park Class-VI student Ayan Mitra.

In the absence of smartboards, teachers used a big exercise book to write as they taught. “Apart from online teaching via a video-call app, we are uploading chapter-wise assignments of different subjects. Flip Learn and our school’s own app are also being used for online lessons,” said a teacher at DPS Ruby Park.

Source: The Telegraph

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