Coronavirus effect: Virtual learning is here to stay

Updated: May 24, 2020 1:49:07 AM

With the development of more and more ed-tech apps, classroom learning has taken a new meaning altogether. One thing is clear: virtual learning is here to stay and may very well be the future

These apps are also aiding students to learn, think and question critically, and teachers to educate with a difference.

By Shriya Roy

With most schools and colleges closed across the world due to the Covid-19 outbreak, education websites and apps have come to the rescue of students and educators. Ed-tech apps especially are bringing forth the learning experience of the classroom at just a click. Not surprisingly, the ed-tech industry has witnessed a 50% increase in consumers. Some apps are even offering free content to quarantined students, providing them a break from the conventional learning pattern.

Ed-tech giant Byju’s offers highly adaptive, engaging and effective learning programmes for students and helps them in preparation for competitive exams like JEE, NEET, CAT, IAS, GRE and GMAT.

For those planning to sit for public service examinations in India, Unacademy is the app to download. It combines classes for UPSC, CSE, SSC, UGC and Navy and Air Force examinations, offering 20,000 free live classes to students to help them prepare better.

These apps are also aiding students to learn, think and question critically, and teachers to educate with a difference. EdX, for instance, is managed by MIT and Harvard, and offers online courses from more than 140 institutions. Most of them are free. EdX specialises in Massive Open Online Courses, which aim to democratise knowledge by supplementing college and other forms of continuing education.

Edmodo is another digital portal through which teachers can take attendance, read written assignments and auto-grade quizzes just like they do in classrooms. The physical presence is, therefore, not required. This can be the future of school learning, given the current scenario. It’s customisable interface has a networking component that lets students, parents and teachers connect and communicate securely.

Then there is Kahoot, a game-based learning platform used in schools and other educational institutions. Its learning games, ‘Kahoots’, are user-generated multiple-choice quizzes that can be accessed via the app. Kahoot can be used to review students’ knowledge for formative assessment, a break from traditional classroom activities.

Another virtual application which is making life a little easier for teachers is Padlet, an online virtual bulletin board, where students and teachers can collaborate, reflect, share links and pictures in a secure location. Padlet allows users to create a hidden wall and has a digital canvas to create beautiful projects that are easy to share and collaborate on.

Canva is another online platform that aids in designing, design learning and making infographics and block graphics. The platform also has a wide variety of lesson plans and ideas to help users get the best out of it. It also allows users to create social media graphics, presentations, posters and other visual content, integrating millions of images, fonts, templates and illustrations into its user interface.

ClassDojo, on the other hand, is an educational technology communication app that connects primary school teachers, students and families. It enables teachers to note feedback on students’ skills and creates a portfolio for them, so that families can be aware of school activities outside of meetings with teachers.

The GradeUp app helps those preparing for examinations by providing free live learning classes, mock test papers, daily current affairs and daily quizzes, previous years’ solved papers, unlimited practise questions, recorded video classes, exam test series, online coaching and much more.

The Khan Academy app also provides students and educators with a set of online tools to better the learning process. Owned by an American NGO, the app provides short lessons in the form of videos and has supplementary practise exercises and materials for educators. All resources are available for free to users on the app. Although the basic content is in English, it is also available in other languages, including Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese, Danish, among others. It provides online courses for preparing for standardised tests, including the SAT, MCAT and LSAT.
With the development of more and more ed-tech apps, classroom learning has taken a new meaning altogether. One thing is clear: virtual leaning is here to stay and may very well be the future.

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