Natural calamities teach us how to survive. Nature is always powerful. COVID-19 has changed all the dimensions of teaching and learning. The pandemic taught every human being to fight for survival. All went through a difficult period of more than two years. A 360-degree shift was very much cumbersome for everyone in the world, from children to adults.
Children did not understand what was happening around them. Why were schools closed? It was a compulsion to sit at home and learn online. Parents did not recognize how to handle the kids and grandparents for 24 hours in a small flat or house. Everyone has to adjust to the changed scenario. There was no option. Everyone was helpless.
Teaching shifted from chalk and board to PPT. It was a little bit easy for other subjects but a difficult situation for the learners and teachers for the subjects like Maths and Science. How to teach, explain, or elaborate a theorem, sum, concept, or principle in science or Maths?
It’s the impact on the teacher and learner and not on the subjects. Subjects have been there for thousands of years. How the learner is learning that’s matters.
At the start of schooling, children have many questions in their mind, like why to learn? How to learn? So, to explain to them a particular concept at the beginning is a great challenge for a teacher. When your why is clear, things become simple. Understanding is better.
In online education, learning by doing was stopped. The teacher can assess the participation of each student in offline classes was stopped. Contribution and Cooperation were almost zero. One has to understand on their own. Many of the students did not pay attention to online learning.
Teamwork is good for understanding the logic and explaining or knowing the concept thoroughly. The healthy competition makes the class environment more joyous.
An incidence or a certain event related to a learning concept that occurred in the class will remain in the core memory of the learner for lifelong. These advantages do not exist for online learning.
One cannot learn the subjects like maths and science just by hearting them. Students must know why I am learning a particular concept. E.g., Learning a Pythagoras Theorem or trigonometry concept. Figure 1 shows a Do it yourself experiment for learning Pythagoras’ Theorem. It is useful to measure the height of any pole or building. While Figure 2 shows an electromagnetism principle. The application is for Railway signals.
What is the use of this in my daily life? If students understand this by experimenting or using the DIY kit, then they will understand the concept well. Any theorem or principle with proof makes more sense to a learner.
Let’s understand the pros and cons of online learning of subjects like maths and science.
These subjects are to be learned in class with interaction and participation. The three Ps of learning Pen, Pencil, and Paper will help to know better. By hearting, a sum in mathematics may give marks. But the concept will not be clear.
I saw many children who used to byheart the sums. If a teacher asked them for any example other than those sums, then they could not solve it. Online education can complete the syllabus in time for the sake of completion but without understanding.
As an example, to calculate and learn the area and volume of different shapes, one can prepare models of a cube, cuboid, sphere, hemisphere, cylinder, cone, pyramid, and prism from paper or clay. In the online class, understanding these concepts was difficult.
The focusing ability of a human being on a certain topic is just 7 min, as per the data available.
Learning simple physics laws is possible in science by making models and charts. Discussion among teams will help the online session. If all students or learners are on the same page, then it will be a homogenous class. The mentor or teacher can easily point out whether all are understood or not.
In online learning, every learner sits in a different environment. In the background, there may be a noise or distraction, and then he or she will be defocused.
Science is subject to understand and not just by heart. Spring action, velocity, density, weights and units, simple experiments of magnetism, sound waves, motion, electromagnetic force, chemical elements, their weights, molecular weight, valency, solar system, airflow, pressure, etc. all these concepts can be understood in the classroom very well.
Online learning of science may help up to a certain limit. You can watch a video to understand, but to implement; one has to experiment, note the results, and observe. And then monitor the parameters. Find faults and conclusion of the experiment performed.
Every methodology or platform has some pros and cons. We have to keep a balance on how much to use them. When the sea is within its limit, it looks very beautiful. We must understand that every function in the controlled limit works well.
About the Author
Prof. Sanjivani Apte, Managing Director, Pagnism Innovations Pvt. Ltd. Sangli & Ex. Professor, E&C Dept., Sanjay Ghodawat University, Kolhapur.