Tamil Nadu

Schools mull alternative platforms for online classes

With the School Education Department announcing on Monday that all online classes will have to be mandatorily recorded and periodically checked by a member of the Student Safeguarding Advisory Committee, schools are planning to develop additional infrastructure to store lessons and online resources being sent to their students.

Many schools have been using a mix of live classes and recorded videos to take lessons for their students. “We have decided to increase the number of live classes over recorded videos for the students for the 2021-22 academic year. We will have to take a decision on picking a platform for online classes which will ensure ease of recording, and can be accessed through mobile phones, laptops and tablets,”said B. Purushothaman, correspondent, Everwin Group of Schools. This is the case in several schools where not all students and teachers use laptops and that the platform they choose has to work well on all devices. “We will have to think about how to store all the recordings and have to make arrangements with the school’s admin and IT team,” he added.

Apart from live classes, teachers have been sending pre-recorded videos, communicating through WhatsApp for additional class exercises or worksheets. They also send links to additional resource material. Schools now plan to streamline and keep a record of all this.

With a single class having a minimum of at least 10 live sessions every week, school heads said that they were awaiting clarification on how long they will be expected to store the recordings of live classes. “Our first priority, even as we look for alternative platforms to implement the guidance given by the School Education Department, will be to start recording classes of senior and middle school students. A bulk of the sessions for primary school students are through pre-recorded videos,” said the principal of a school from the city.

Additionally, parents too have to be made aware of the schedules for online classes and the content that students are receiving, said R. Visalakshi, president, Tamil Nadu Private Schools’ Association. “Even if schools chose not to have parents sit through classes with the students, they should regularly talk to them about how the classes are going on and be aware of any concerns the student might have,” she said.

Many schools had, from the previous academic year, engaged their counsellors, principals and vice-principals to monitor online classes. “While this was initiated primarily for reviewing and getting feedback on how teachers and students are adapting to a new medium, it is extremely important for safety as well,” said K.R. Maalathi, founder, Auuro Educational Services. She said that with more clarity on how many days they need to keep a backup of recorded lessons for, smaller schools can decide on what platform they can host classes on.

“Schools should be proactive and implement these measures at the earliest. Safety should take precedence — be it online or on campus and institutions needn’t wait for directions from the government to have some foresight and prioritise student safety,” Ms Maalathi added.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 4:54:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/schools-mull-alternative-platforms-for-online-classes/article34895945.ece

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