As the COVID-19 pandemic reaches its 5th month, many countries have begun relaxing their restrictions that were enforced to combat the coronavirus transmission. Australia is one of the countries to start reopening its public schools after being in lockdown for several weeks. Students of all levels have been allowed to go to school and continue their classes.
However, social distancing measures are still being implemented within the school premises. Strict monitoring of student interactions such as the borrowing of school supplies from others will not be allowed to prevent further spread of the infection.
However, there is still a debate on whether it is safe to allow students to continue with schooling in a classroom setting since there is still a chance of getting infected with the virus. Several parents and health workers are urging classes to go online, with some Australian private schools taking the initiative to offer their classes using distance online learning.
What is online learning in the COVID-19 context?
Distance online learning is a teaching modality where students learn in the comforts of their own home and are not allowed to go out in public to avoid getting infected by the virus. In this teaching modality, the teacher will conduct lessons online through the available gadgets at their disposal. In the meantime, students will also be able to attend classes using technological devices.
How should students and teachers prepare for distance online learning?
In developing countries that will implement distance online learning for the first time, both teachers and students are excited about learning. However, it should be clear that although distance online learning involves the use of computers and the internet, both the teacher and student should still have the standard school supplies.
A Good Computer with Stable Internet Access
First and foremost, distance online learning will need the right equipment and infrastructure. Students and teachers will need a good computer and stable internet access. The computer does not need to be the latest model; however, if your computer takes forever to load an application, you must upgrade it. If you are a teacher, then it is necessary to invest in a powerful computer with high memory and storage space so that you can easily load pages and save your lessons.
If you are a student, it is important to coordinate with your school’s IT department to know the minimum requirements that your computer should meet to be compatible with your school’s online program.
Basic Software (Advanced Software, if possible)
Different schools will have their software or online programs to use for online learning. Schools will be providing you with this software as part of the tuition you pay. However, some software that you might need, such as word processing applications are not provided by your school. It is important to find out which word processing software is recommended by your school before you purchase one.
Although most textbooks used in schools already have their digital versions, physical textbooks with paper pages are still in-demand even during online learning classes. Students and teachers have their way of learning. Some students may find it easier to read eBooks from their monitor screens, while others may find it more appealing to have a physical book that they can highlight and write notes on.
Student Diary or Planner
Since distance online learning means that both teachers and students will no longer have to go to school physically, they can have a hard time switching from home mode to class mode, especially if they are just at home. Having a student diary or planner can help students and teachers to block out their time for lessons. Although you can download apps that can remind you when a lesson is scheduled, writing it down on a diary or planner can help you utilise your time more effectively.
Notebooks, Pens, Markers, and Highlighters
Online lessons, especially for mathematics, will still require students to work out problems on paper. Notebooks are also necessary for taking down notes while you are taking part in online classes. While there are students that may be adept at being able to multitask with a single monitor screen, there are still several more comfortable writing on paper while attending online lessons.
It is a misconception that distance online learning during this pandemic time will only take place within the computer. Like any other educational approach, online learning will involve a lot of note-taking processes, requiring students and teachers to have the necessary school supplies handy.
Interesting related article: “What is e-Learning?“