In the Philippines, there are many questions now about the continuity of the opening of schools.
So far, DepEd has opted in for doing online classes as an alternative for continuing courses during this crisis.
This coming August schools can resume, and students can go to school despite the threat of the pandemic and there's still an ongoing debate about this matter.
Meanwhile, Asian countries like Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have already opened schools. The question is, should we follow suit?
One of the main reasons why these countries can resume their education system is because of their excellent contact tracing methods and functional technologies, programs that they have which are appropriately funded and manned. Which no doubt contributed to beating the pandemic in their country, which makes it easier for them to resume classes.
According to UNESCO recently noted that school closures in Asia due to Coronavirus have put millions of children falling behind in education as classes shift online.
Now the next question that is on everybody's minds, not just parents, teachers but also students is that does our country the Philippines should open? And even if we can resume, are we ready for it? Not to mention, there's also high risk for the students going out of their homes.
As the country grapples with the virus, online education continues and the question of extending the traditional method of learning and attending physical classes is still uncertain.
We come up with the top 5 solutions for online learning in response to the pandemic. We want to share with you these solutions, not just for digital enterprises but also for educators who are using digital tools in their workplace.
5. Use of Big Data Analytics to Improve Outcomes
Most schools don't use big data to improve student outcomes, and it is an opportunity that many have not been taking advantage of. Today the education system is outcome-based or OBE, and if educators are not analyzing data or collecting it, then students are not getting this kind of opportunity.
Four areas of improvement using big data:
Big data has been done elsewhere in the world, and here are the four areas that it can impact on.
1. Improve student results
2. Reduce Dropout rates
3. Customize programs
4. targeted international recruiting
Here are the two best examples of schools or colleges using big data to improve the quality of education.
University of Central Florida administrators collaborated with Microsoft to use predictive data analytics to understand trends in students' and faculty's success. While Dartmouth College uses reel time data to help write instructional design and they study the metrics to do so. Unfortunately, Big data is not widely adapted given the benefits because people are not fully aware and also the challenges that come with collecting the data.
4. Interactivity and Ratings
There are a lot of software available that teachers or schools can find and utilize online to help teachers measure the comprehension of students through the use of gamification.
These software's or tools are also one way to stimulate students in the virtual world that can usually be experienced in a classroom, trying to make it interesting and exciting for students to interact with the teachers with software and technologies.
They can also be done in and out of the classroom. The software is created to be able to harvest the answers of the students that are good for harvesting for analytics data. Using these tools can help generate those data or information.
3. Improving Connectivity
Internet connectivity is essential for online education to be successful, especially here in the Philippines. There large populations of schools or students are in locations that have significant distance from cell sites such as Mindanao, parts of Palawan, Samar, and Mountain provinces.
According to a published article by Yiwei Jin, he stated that " In China, only 39.9 percent of rural households have internet access through a computer. Officials have reported buying televisions with internet connectivity for some underprivileged families, though detailed statistics about coverage are unavailable. In South Korea, the Ministry of Education has made it clear that it has enough tablets and laptops in its possession to lend to the more than 220,000 students who lack them."
These statistics show that Asian countries such as South Korea and China have been exerting efforts to beat the digital divide and to close the gap in online education during the pandemic.
For rural places that have no internet connectivity, there are new devices now such as Huawei b315 and 310 that have internal antennas to their wifis and lt3 4g modem, and it's a great tool or option to get connectivity.
The specs also allow at least 30 people or a community to have access to the internet. Families who can afford to buy the gadget can use this as an alternative for their online education.
2. Homeschooling and Alternative Learning Systems
Homeschooling is not a new concept; even before the pandemic, this learning method is the norm for countries abroad. While 4 percent of Filipino students are homeschooled while elsewhere have a large population of homeschooling. You can check The Filipino Homeschooler website for homeschooling education and resources.
1. Online Education
Online education is a different approach to learning, and it is more than virtualizing the classroom experience. It is usually based on self-paced and outcome-based classes.
The difference between physical and online education is that for physical training or learning, the teachers drive the pace while online, it's the student's pace. Some organizations and schools are doing online education long before the pandemic hit such as Abba's Orchard and UP Open University.
The good thing is that about 36 percent of DepEd total teaching force has gone through training on digital technology which means that we have teachers or educators that are competent enough to teach digitally.
It is essential to take note that it is the responsibility of the school to provide materials for their students from physical DepEd to have modules to digital courses that they can deliver.
Here is the list of software that schools can use to do online education like Moodle, Google Classroom, Blackboard, Schoology. The courses or materials can come from Youtube. Khan academy, CODE, Udemy, and Coursera.
There's also Deped commons which is an online platform that public schools can use to do distance learning, and it is free.
There are also other online platforms that schools can use like:
2. Webex meetings
3. Microsoft teams
4. The newcomer, LARK from SERVIO
The bottom line is that digital tools are essential for students and teachers can continue education online.
It is the best method to do during the pandemic despite the challenges it brings it also ushers in the importance of digital systems, data and flexible learning methods in the education sector not just in our country but worldwide.
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