Most parents and teachers breathe a sigh of relief that students taking their public examination aren’t short changed being away from school this year. However, even if MCO is lifted by 28th April 2020, there is no guarantee that schools can return to normalcy immediately. So, here exists the billion dollar question.
How can e-learning help students continue to receive their education this year?
1. Ideas for parents: the power of play
A common issue parents face is keeping their child focused and engaged throughout the MCO. Being stuck at home without being able to see their friends has repercussions towards their emotional wellbeing and parents are running out of activities to keep their child entertained.
A. Set aside a “special workspace” and an accompanying break time
This is important because it gives a child structure to their day and the mindset to keep them occupied and responsible. We also advise parents to include short breaks to give the child free time to play as well.
B. Be flexible with the setup at home
Emulating school at home is a challenge because a child may take some time to adjust to the idea of learning from home. Please be patient with yourselves and your family as it will take time for things to run smoothly. For example, if your child has difficulty learning within their designated space, assign them multiple areas to work from to keep them moving but with a sense of purpose. Role play could help as they will need to ‘travel’ to different parts of the house for certain lessons.
C. Get creative with the lessons at home
Play is an important part of learning. Research shows that life lessons stay with children for a longer time when it is memorable. A great example shown by Puan Nadzirah Razali who creates a mini tuck shop for her children to ‘purchase’ snacks - as you would at the school canteen. To earn ‘money’ (fake bills were used), children will need to complete tasks around the house. This teaches children about mathematics, responsibility, hygiene and the value of money. Genius!
2. Ideas for teachers: the power of purpose in your teaching activities
For some, lesson plans have completely been derailed. We empathise how stressful it is to be expected to shift learning online especially when your lessons need to ensure that no child is left behind. We recommend teachers make a list of the strength and weaknesses of these essentials in your student’s home before forming your SOP.
A. Decide how students will have access to learning devices & data
The great thing about 21st century teaching and learning is that it is mobile. Students can use computers, laptops, mobile phones and tablets as their learning medium and the data can provide them access to the internet to get learning content and access to you. For low income households with accessibility issues, you can nominate a child to receive free learning devices and data (click here).
Also, try your best to mix digital and physical activities together to create a more elaborate structure for learning. For example, you can conduct a lesson involving drawing a family portrait accompanied by a short paragraph of their family history. This allows parents to be involved and your students using their creativity and communication skills to complete this task. This lesson is flexible across multiple subjects such as history, art and language.
B. Decide how students will have access to learning content
There are many free resources online which includes videos on youtube and mobile apps you can download (FrogPlay mobile is available on Google Play and Apple Store).
The important thing is to ensure that these resources allow students with different learning aptitudes to participate. Through FrogPlay, teachers can build various quizzes and to suit different subjects, classes and learning aptitudes. Keeping track of their progress is easy by monitoring through student results as FrogPlay marks their work automatically. This is a great way to assign homework and minimise the need for paperwork during the MCO!
C. Decide the level of your presence in their learning
Video calling or live streaming lessons is a front runner in conducting lessons from your home. However for students with poor internet connection and speeds, real-time lessons can be a challenge. A way around this is to record a video or audio that can be downloaded ahead of time.
It would also be best practice to prepare a transcript or subtitles for videos. These allow students to revisit lessons without needing to spend additional data. You can also use and customise Boost Sites and Sites within Frog as well as supplementary notes to textbooks. If videos are not feasible, you can take a screenshot of learning materials and share these via telegram, whatsapp, email or social media.
D. Decide how you can collaborate with parents involved to help manage lessons from home
Get in touch with parents as much as possible so that they’re able to help you keep an eye on your students while they are at home. The collaboration between teachers and parents can make or break the ability for students to learn from home. Brief parents as much as they can and offer your support where possible if they are working parents. For parents that may need extra help, you can encourage them to get the support they need by adding them into a classroom chat group on Telegram or Whatsapp. Alternatively, encourage parents to join our Learn from Home Community on Facebook here.
With close collaboration between parents and teachers to ensure that these activities are carried out during the MCO, utilising all these ideas can help a child minimise their disappointment of being cooped up at home 24/7 because these activities engage them to interact with the outside world and stimulate their minds to keep occupied - all while practising social distancing at home.
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