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Coronavirus lockdown | As schools remain shut, States leverage digital resources

Learning curve: Teachers are also using WhatsApp to communicate with students.

Learning curve: Teachers are also using WhatsApp to communicate with students.   | Photo Credit: PTI

States across the country have been forced to jump onto the digital education bandwagon over the last four months due to the interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the new academic year gets under way with schools still closed across the country, the Human Resource Development Ministry on Tuesday released a State-wise report documenting the spread of digital classrooms, e-textbooks and mobile learning apps.

There are three broad pathways being followed to ensure continuous learning, according to the report, depending on the level of available technology. Where videoconferencing tools are available, live classes are being held with teacher-student interactions. According to the report, digital classrooms are being tried in 25 States and union territories, although it is unclear how extensive the reach of such classes is in each State.

Television classes

Where digital technology is completely absent, States are dependent on broadcast classes via television in at least 25 States and union territories, and radio in 18 States and union territories.

The most common type of distance learning seems to be asynchronous digital education, which does not require the level of connectivity needed for live online classes, but instead uses already prepared digital content hosted on platforms such as the Centre’s DIKSHA. All States are using the platform which has had 200 crore page hits, and 60 lakh course completions since the lockdown, according to the report.

In many States, teachers use WhatsApp to communicate with their students, and point them to the relevant DIKSHA resources for the day. States are also leveraging the platform for teacher training.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic in the country did initially catch the school education system off-guard, resilience of the system kicked in early,” said School Education Secretary Anita Karwal, in a foreword to the report. “As the challenges are humongous and the time available to take these initiatives very less, thus existing digital resources had to be leveraged.”

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2020 8:38:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-lockdown-as-schools-remain-shut-states-leverage-digital-resources/article32215461.ece

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