On July 28th, 2021, ClassIn was honored to present three distinguished guests for the webinar “Achieve Learning Continuity during the Pandemic: Schoolwide EdTech Solutions”.
The event was hosted by ClassIn’s Katherine Zhou, featuring Thanbeer Kaur, Lecturer at International Languages Teacher Training Institute, Godwin Bahangondi, CEO of Global Virtual School and Director of Eduln Technologies Limited, and Aaron Lennon, Co-Principal of Yew Wah International Education School. As uncertainties cloud school reopening plans, our honorable speakers dove into a discussion on learning continuity and EdTech solutions.
The Importance of Learning Continuity and The Challenges Encountered
“Achieving learning continuity during the pandemic is of course crucial because it creates a sense of belonging when students got to meet their friends and teachers virtually. When they feel they are making progress and not digressing in the learning despite the challenges, it motivates them to keep going.” As the first speaker, Ms. Thanbeer began by highlighting the importance of learning continuity.
Mr. Bahangondi, on the other hand, emphasized the significance of learning continuity in the context of personal and professional development of students and teachers. From his point of view, learning continuity lightens the pressure to work, marry and start families among students, reduces the chances of suffering from mental health issues, as well as maintains employment opportunities for teachers.
The new teaching environment also brought new challenges that educators cannot ignore. Ms. Thanbeer raised concerns in regards to how to motivate learners, create engaging and meaningful learning experiences online, and personalize the online learning experience. She also identified network connectivity and technical support as a major issue: “In Malaysia, we have companies helping out by giving free gadgets and free plans, but those who have no connectivity and EdTech solution must be put in place to have all students continue the education.”
“Already we know that there are existing inequalities in education opportunities even without the pandemic. And now the web and technology even widened the inequalities in education,” Mr. Bahangondi also expressed his concerns. In remote and underserved regions, it is hard to ensure learning continuity during the pandemic because of limited access to technology-supported learning opportunities, low motivation among learners and parents to use online learning platforms, and the lack of high-quality digital resources for learning outside of school.
Achieving Learning Continuity through EdTech Tools
Prior to the pandemic, Thanbeer and her students facilitated learning with a range of activities: they would design posters, engage with the public and companies, and take part in talk shows. But the epidemic outbreak forced them to shift these activities online.
Thanbeer had tried all kinds of software to assist her teaching, but the result did not meet her expectation. She felt that the students were not engaged enough. “But after a while, I noticed that my students and myself missed the connection that face-to-face learning brings that online learning lacked… In online classes, some students do not want to switch on their cameras or even do not have one. So that became my challenge to continue creating real-life engaging activities online; therefore, I created opportunities for students to interact for a real purpose.”
“So that became my challenge to continue creating real-life engaging activities online; therefore, I created opportunities for students to interact for a real purpose.” -- Ms. Thanbeer Kaur, Lecturer at International Languages Teacher Training Institute
She started to have her students interview with HR experts online and to receive online public speaking training, which gave them a real purpose to communicate online. In addition to branching out of the classroom, she also asked students to work collaboratively on projects such as video production. Through these activities, students switched their cameras on as they became more engaged in taking an active role in the learning process.
“I would say that having technology at our disposal isn’t enough, but it’s using it to suit our learners’ needs, using it for creating meaningful interaction, and truly understanding its affordances makes a difference,” Thanbeer concluded.
The three guests then answered two prepared questions and two questions from the audience. As to the first question “What are the key considerations of Learning Continuity with respect to EdTech?”, Mr. Lennon thought that the key considerations for educators are designing programs for different age groups and using EdTech tools appropriately. He also believed that it is important to support teachers with trainings accordingly, especially when teachers are new to applying learning materials on virtual platforms such as ClassIn. Moreover, Ms. Thanbeer explained the importance of sanitization, engagement, age-appropriateness, and keeping track of student progress.
In the remaining time, the three speakers spoke about the support that EdTech could bring to institutions during the pandemic, the ways in which educators can involve students and other stakeholders in the development of the continuity plan, and how educators could motivate students to encourage participation.
Webinar Recording: Achieve Learning Continuity during the Pandemic: Schoolwide EdTech Solutions
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*ClassIn is a leading edtech company that provides a one-stop solution for digital learning.
ClassIn software enables interactive classrooms, in-school social app, lesson scheduling, homework management, and school management dashboard, which start free and scale up to meet our customers' needs at any stage of teaching. Today, thousands of schools and institutions around the world benefit from ClassIn's powerful and easy-to-use tools to teach online and offline.