It’s 5.15 pm and Sukhda Khosla, who teaches mathematics at Vasant Valley School in Delhi, is at home waiting for her Class 12 students to come online for their class. Soon, on the screen of her MacBook Air, students join in and in about five minutes the batch of 30 is set for their e-class.
In times of COVID-19, when shutdowns have become the order of the day and life all around us seems to have come to a standstill, this is a novel idea that the school has adopted to continue with classes. At Vasant Valley, students of class 6 and above have been attending virtual classes. To enable this, teachers were trained by the school by their respective department heads on how to conduct e-classes, with mock sessions to check for preparedness and possible technical glitches.
Virtual reality: Jai kapoor engaged in an e-class. Photo by: Hardik Chhabra
Starting March 16, Khosla has been taking her 40-minute mathematics class from her home. In fact, she has got a white board from school and converted one of the bedrooms of her Kalkaji home into a small classroom. All she needs to do is send an invite to all her students to join in the class. Working on Zoom, the software, I am able to take my virtual classes from home itself, and not fall behind in the syllabus, she says.
How does it feel though to be studying online? Is it different from distant learning? According to Jai Kapoor, one of Khosla’s class 12 students, It’s like attending a class in school. In fact, sitting in an e-class has its advantages in terms of time saved. The learning is more focused and to-the-point, he says, adding that technology is helping students go about their studies as normal and stay in the loop. Though Kapoor admits missing face-to-face time with his teachers and seeing his batch mates, he feels it’s not very different from a physical class. Just like a normal class, if we have doubts, we raise our hands so that the teacher can help. Similarly, in an e-class, thanks to Zoom, there is a setting for raise a hand’ and the teacher can see that immediately on her screen, he says.
On Khosla’s part, in order to avoid distraction and maintain discipline in her e-class, she keeps all her students on mute, both on video and audio. If a student has any doubts or questions during the class, he or she can send her a message via the private chat setting at which point she unmutes that particular student. Technology’s role in educational spaces is changing and this is just one example of how it can come in handy.