In the wake of the pandemic, all of us have been asked to sit at our homes and maintain social distancing. Therefore, everything has stopped functioning the way it used to before. Similarly, students are expected to attend their classes through an online screen. Who would have thought that online teaching could one day actually be used worldwide?
Now, digitalization of classrooms encountered many criticisms and appraisal from various people. There has been debates going around about the effectiveness of a digital classroom. Some argue that digitalization of classrooms is beneficial and perhaps the only option left for us to provide education to students. Today, we are going to look at different arguments about digitalization of classrooms and can an online class can be a suitable alternative to a face-to-face class.
We are all trying to adjust with the new system and function of education that has been offered to us. It is definitely different from the previous traditional methods of teaching that has been followed by various different educational institutions for centuries. According to popular opinion, a teacher has to be present with their students in order to have that flow of information and conversation. An online method, on the other hand, is isolated and do not gives us an opportunity to have a direct discussion with our teachers and professors. In order to make online classes more engaging, professors are coming up with new techniques to deliver knowledge across different screens.
Traditional methods of just delivering lectures and dictations to the students are failing in this current situation. Teachers are using different tools and are designing different methods to test the abilities of their students. Online education has completely failed the entire system of taking examinations, we cannot possibly call an ‘online-exam’ a legitimate way to conducting examinations. Therefore, educational institutions are coming up with innovative ways to conduct these exams, they are assigning the students to invest their time in making various assignments. These assignments are not entirely based on textual knowledge, and students are being asked to mention their individual understanding about the particular topic. This method is being appreciated by many students because up until now examinations were very inflexible and highly text-book oriented, the opportunity to apply your own opinions and thoughts to make your work unique and different is something new. This method is also encouraging the students to participate in classroom discussion more, as the assignments won’t be entirely textbook oriented.
Before diving into this question, we must think about our idea of a classroom. We are pretty sure that this thought would make us think about many things at the same time; our idea of an ideal classroom is not just attending regular lectures of our teachers, but also having fun with our friends in our classroom and campus. A classroom is not just four walls for us, it is more than that- our day to day experiences, our canteen gossips, the events and debates we participate in and even bunking classes with our friends are all a part of classroom experiences.
Now, everything has been reduced to a screen, to be honest, it is hard to accept this new method of teaching. It is not just difficult for the students, but also for the teachers. Students who are attending their online classes have the privilege to shut their video cameras, but teachers are expected to show their face every day to a blank screen. They cannot see our faces and that results in excessive insecurity. The amount of job satisfaction they would get from a face-to-face class was different, now they are not even sure if the students are paying attention to what they have say and offer. This also results are less enthusiasm and even lesser contribution given from the end of the teachers. For a class to keep going, the flow of conversation must be maintained.
The teachers must understand that what they are trying to teach is being understood by their students, and this current scenario cancels the chances to know if their students are understanding them or even listening to what they have to say. We have heard incidents of many teachers quitting their jobs and having a breakdown in front of the whole class while delivering a lecture on an online class. Students, on the other hand, are equally not being satisfied by this medium of teaching. Many, cannot even attend classes because they don’t have the technology or proper network connection, therefore, these students are excessively missing out on a lot of things. Many students are just not ready to accept their classroom experiences cut down to a laptop or a phone screen.
Digitalization of classrooms might be a beneficial requirement right now, because face-to-face classes are not possible to be conducted. But they can never be a suitable alternative of a real classroom.