With suspended schools in Oman, online classes and exams to the rescue

As measures to combat the threat of coronavirus become drastic including suspension of schools for a month, school and class teachers had to think out of the box to ensure the educational growth of the students. On Sunday, at least one private-sector school opted to go ahead with online examination for their class students.

The online option, for several of the educators, seemed to be one of the most logical choices with many schools not only in Oman opting for this method. The virtual classroom is being studied left and right and it might just be the way to go.

Abdullah al Bahrani, an IT expert, agreed that given the conditions and limitations of the present situation, it is the most appropriate course of action.

“There are many applications and tools for e-learning. Some of them are free and others have low subscription fee. However many schools shy away from these helpful technologies thinking it requires heavy investment,” Al Bahraini said.

Instead of using these friendly systems,  the schools are planning to send the content by email.

“There is, for instance, Google Classroom and other platforms for e-learning. If the school wants to use it, the service is available for low subscription and can easily connect with their children. So the classes can continue and the teachers will be able to provide the slides online. With this, students can attend and the teacher can see the students who are online with him/her. The students can also interact with the teacher and ask their doubts. Unfortunately not all schools are using such facilities. But the reality is it does not require large infrastructure,” he pointed out.

There are free tools too he explained, “Even Google would provide it free but there could be pop up advertisements. Teachers can send notifications when he/she wants to start lessons so that students can join the class on time.”

For the method to work, however, there should be a clear-cut communication between the teachers, parents and the students. While the educators look at how to conduct the classes, the parents can make sure that their children have the right atmosphere for learning in their home.

“The students would require a quiet room or space where they can interact with the online class. Some schools can do it offline where they can send the content and slides for students to go through and get back to teacher with their queries. And teacher can come back maybe after one hour or two hours,” Al Bahrani said.

The option to go online would require all students to have access to online facilities from wifi services to computers and families should be able to provide technical support for the young students.

The suspension of schools has thrown a lot of parents off balance. Parents now have to think of ways how to keep their children occupied at home but ensuring their safety at the same time.

Father of two boys Nasser Al Yahyai said, “I took one of my sons out with me so that they will not get bored or fight at home while playing. We have ensured our workplace is safe.”

Yet another father opted to take his daughter to the Shopping Mall but made sure that she followed all precautions of hand hygiene while being out.

 

 

Oman Observer

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