It is a tough time for the students to stay focused as they used to be in a traditional classroom in the online class setup from home. In this entire situation, parents similar to the teachers were at a dichotomy. On the one hand, parents had to be the understanding ward. On the other hand, they also had to be the strict teacher to help kids focus on learning the same way they had been doing in the physical classroom.
The situation was particularly tough for working parents as they saw time flying each day in the blink of an eye. The unclear instructions from the schools and the teacher created an unwanted chaotic situation with a little bit of cooperation from the teachers and school administrators.
It is a crisis for all education stakeholders. But the adjustments on many occasions seemed to be inclining more on the parents. As was pointed out by Shiney Singh a resident of New Delhi, for a particular assignment his kid had to complete project work with the help of printouts. To this, she said, “I do not have a printer at home and all the shops are closed. So, my son, wife, and I had to write everything out on paper, click photographs, and sent them to the school.”
Keeping children focused on schoolwork
The schoolwork in the Covid-19 was no longer schoolwork but family work. In the initial stage, parents had a tough time keeping their children focused on online class sessions. The situation is yet to be better. With WhatsApp/Google hangouts being the medium to stay in contact with the teacher and the peers, the urge to engage in conversation with friends in between the classes was a natural phenomenon. Parents on the other side had to ensure their kids weren’t doing the same and focusing on school work. To cut down the attention problems and focus on learning; parents had to also attend some classes along with the students. For the working professional especially this meant juggling between important office calls and their child’s studies.
Sharing devices with children
The financial conditions of kids are not the same. Not every student in the same class has their iPad or laptop and to attend the classes had to rely on their parent’s mobile device or laptop. Again, this resulted in parents keeping their work on hold for a specific time and wait till their kids are done with the online classes/homeschooling. These led parents to stay at work late at night due to the delayed working hours in the daytime.
Balancing household responsibilities and teaching
In many households in India, parents saw an upside-down in their routine with home converting into office, school, and personal space all in one. Add on the pressure to perform household chores, office work, and check kids and their studies. The pressure is not just about kids attending the online classes attentively from home. Post the classes, what about supporting kids to complete their assignments or prepare for the tests?
Irregularities with class-time schedule
In the lockdown period, practically all schools; whether it is of the Urban India or Rural were just running online classes without any schedule or system. The administration had gone for a toss. The lack of preparedness for such a worse situation was visible at every stage. Irregularities with class timings led to a huge distraction among the students. Say, where one class session was stretched beyond a set time, the next class was just a summary session. The sudden switch of time, as well as the varying instructional strategy, worked at best as a distraction for them rather than keeping them engaged in the class.
Unfamiliarity with classroom management tools
Some schools did not host online classes on either zoom or via WhatsApp video call. They had their work done with CRM tools that did not pose an attendance tracking issue or erratic live classes. But what it instead posed is unfamiliarity with the use of classroom management tools. There was practically no session before on how to use the various features of the tool for different tasks. Teachers too seemed perplexed using edtech tools. How do they, therefore, pass their knowledge to the students or parents using the same tool?
Thus, schools cannot promise the parents to bring all the advantages of a physical classroom environment in the online class setup. For example, in most urban cities, both parents and teachers have space issues to conduct classes. Again, can teachers promise to convert their casual home environment with the look and feel of the classroom or cut down completely any background noise while they are teaching the students?
However, having said so, many of the challenges listed down by us in this piece such as- the irregularities with class schedule and time management, or unfamiliarity with CRM having complicated features or focus issue of students can be tackled by eduTinker-an online school management app. The developers of this user-friendly application have spoken with administrators, teachers, and parents facing invariable challenges with online classes due to Covid-19. Based on the challenges pointed out by them, the application was developed during the lockdown period.
The use of eduTinker will help in fixing challenges and provide a systematic approach to online class management. Teachers can focus on teaching and the app will handle most of their other tasks. Similarly, students too can focus on their learning better and develop collaborative skills with the application of the app. As far as the parents are concerned, they can receive a notification on class schedule, project work, and performance report of their kid and connect with the teacher and school administrators at any point of time via chat and video conference feature of the application.
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