Sezel Lalwani is the co-founder at fire.fly where they work with early stage entrepreneurs through courses, mentorship & funding. She has led 150+ courses across product, marketing & design thinking skills. Prior to this she was a product manager at Deloitte Digital & an advertising professional at LinkedIn & HCL. She comes with 8years of experience and is also a gold medallist in Radio & Television Journalism from IIMC, New Delhi. She loves reading and watching thriller shows & cooking is her new pandemic-skill!
“Students, can you hear me?” “Switch on your cameras please!”
“Ma’am, your screen is not sharing anymore” “Sir, I can’t understand this topic.”
The unexpecting, unassuming lives of teachers and students today are in the reigns of the online world. This unplanned shift has shaken long drawn foundations of education in the world.
According to a recent survey conducted by ed-tech firm Schoolguru Eduserve, more than 50 percent teachers are unhappy with online education.
With the given circumstances where lives are at risk, making the best of what we have and rising up and embracing the virtual world is something we can all work towards.
We at fire.fly have a sure shot formula that works for us every time we work with students or professionals, basically for everyone who wants to ‘learn’. Teachers, you can up your ante with our 4 Ps:
Projects: Prioritize the ‘doing’ way of learning. Giving your students the chance to lead on projects and student driven assignments are one of the best ways to get them to feel involved. Group assignments where students can engage on a video/audio platform without a teacher can uplift their interest and some side banter will feel like ‘school’ again! Ensure that these projects are presented in the online class so participation can increase. Projects can provide a digital detox as well so students don’t have to be on the screen always but are learning otherwise too.
Passion: Let’s lead with imagination, encouraging students to discover their own passion projects and unleashing their creativity without boundaries can really make a difference. Be open, accepting, and excited to see what students come up with! Have more open communication with students and be vulnerable so they can relate to you as a person also. Scheduling 1-on-1 sessions with some students can really benefit. You can understand their learning patterns and include their passions as you teach to be more inclusive.
Peers: Learning from peers is so underrated! In school, so much learning happens at lunch breaks, before & after school hours. Encourage students to participate, make teams and use the chat feature. The chat option on most online platforms helps engage students to interact with you and with each other. Encourage them to keep the conversation going on chats. Well, some side chats always liven the class!
Play: Play is all about having fun! Introduce gaming techniques to teach and embrace online tools to act as your assistants. Ice breakers, chit chats, quizzes, watching movies together, etc. can really help you connect with your students and ensure everyone has fun!
Teachers are surely trying their best, but students can be equally responsible too for their own growth. Well, what can they do?
Show up, Show Interest! Yes, sometimes classes can be monotonous but take notes, listen, engage. Teachers are really putting in effort; it’s time for students to pull up their socks as well!
Ask Questions: One of the best things about online learning is that you can refer to similar concepts on the internet alongside, learning manifold and asking questions or sharing knowledge. This can make the entire process so wholesome.
Be Creative in Assignments: Ditch the age old methods, get creative, explore and present out of the box assignments! Challenge your teachers and peers. Show them your creative confidence.
Engage in Classes: Use the chat option to talk to your peers, discuss topics, ask questions, and share your views and more. This will make it easier to be engaged and focused.
Uplift your environment: Mental focus will also be determined by your physical posture, surrounding, light and more. Sit in a well lit area, and definitely not on your bed or sofa! Dining table also works. Sit upright and also stand sometimes. You can place a few books or boxes under your laptop so it’s like an elevated stand and you can stand and listen/work. This will make you active. Add some indoor plants to your desk and sometimes change the space you study in too. You can sometimes sit in the balcony or in a different room to refresh your mind.
We all are trying to make the online experience richer, but we could definitely use assistance. Here are some tools that can help teachers & students create magical experiences in class:
Kahoot: This quiz app has so many feature that teachers can use to liven up classes and assignments. From in-class quizzes to student paced challenges, kahoots are displayed on a shared screen and students can easily answer via their devices. Students can add these as a fun element in their assignments too.
Padlet: Padlet works like a bulletin board. Teachers and students can organize classwork, assignments, home work and project submissions. It’s an all-in-one space and great for organization and collaboration.
Ziteboard: This is a lightweight whiteboard website which works on any device and is a powerful tool for distance education. Real time tutoring, brainstorming, sharing images, and more are all possible here!
Miro: Miro is another whiteboard tool that helps to brainstorm with virtual sticky notes, writings, and more. These can make it so easy for teachers to explain concepts & also to invite students to collaborate in a live session.