New lessons as classrooms go virtual – Times of India

Chennai News

CHENNAI: From kindergartens to universities, traditional classrooms have made way for digital learning. Changes that would have taken five to ten years happened in months.
Students stayed home but attended classes, completed assignments and wrote tests: unthinkable at the beginning of the year.
Now, the question is: What will happen to physical classrooms after the Covid-19 pandemic ends? Will students go to school or college as usual in 2021?
Education experts say hybrid learning — a mix of online and traditional — will be the way going forward for all educational institutions. There are huge gains from the pandemic experience as institutions start producing video content for students. So, a student need not depend on classroom coaching alone. He or she can watch a video lecture on a particular topic anytime online and get doubts clarified. Teachers also will be forced to innovate in classrooms as students will expect more than what was taught inside the classrooms in pre-Covid days.
Students took to new technology like fish to water. For example, 93% of engineering students have successfully completed the proctored online test. So AI-monitored exams could be the reality for college students, including those studying in distance mode from 2021. Some colleges also introduced online lab experiments using virtual reality technology.
On the flip side, online classes have limitations; students can attend only three or four a day against seven periods in the physical classroom. There is also wide disparity in accessing digital devices and connectivity between rural and urban students. The divide between the rich and the poor has also deepened. Experts suggest that offering free data for educational purpose may bridge the digital divide to an extent.
With the disparity in access to digital devices and connectivity in mind, the Tamil Nadu school education department aired video lessons on Kalvi TV from July. For classes XI and XII, the school education department uploaded video lessons children can access on their laptops. They have issued a time-table of telecasting the lessons. Many video lessons produced by experts were an instant hit among children from all types of schools.
The state government also shifted its NEET training online and ran a test series with video lectures to prepare government school students for the medical entrance test. The state government also introduced 7.5% special reservation for government school students in MBBS/BDS courses. More than 300 poor students have joined medical colleges under this quota.
The number of students enrolled for NEET coaching has doubled this year to 16,000. The state government also entered into an MoU to provide JEE coaching for government and government-aided school students.
The central government has launched the National Education Policy in July. Many proposals in it, including common entrance exam for arts and science colleges and three-language formula faced opposition in the state. The state government has planned to reopen colleges and schools in a phased manner from January 2021. Colleges have already reopened for UG, PG final year students and research scholars from December first week. But, due to the Covid cluster at IIT Madras, the state government may decide to go slow.
However, parents of students who are going to write board exams want schools to reopen in January. The exams of all boards are likely to be delayed by at least one or two months, though.
All in all, 2020 has brought big change to the education sector, some good, some bad.