Who would have expected that we would all be shoved into Home Based Learning (HBL) within a span of a few months into the new year 2020.
It's not easy for parents, students and educators and as such, we have created a survival guide herein for you not simply to survive, but to thrive!
With home-based learning being something of norm nowadays including parents remotely working from home, it is important to ensure that children are best prepared to excel in their studies and exams (i.e PSLE) in this new environment.
The new digital platform of learning maybe challenging at first, but the ability to adapt and overcome these challenges will be a tremendously fruitful investment in your child’s education and way of learning. Learning English and other subjects will never be the same again!
Many English enrichment and English tuition centres have adapted their lessons to online teaching in this new digital age to make the fullest use of technology to engage, excite and build a passion for learning in students. Good English tutors know how to build into their lessons exciting media presentations, video and graphics to keep students actively engaged.
We believe this digital learning platform is essential for our children based on these keys factors:
1) A fun and exciting way to learn (contrary to people’s apprehension, digital learning done correctly can be very engaging and exciting for the children. Our world is very much a digital world so we are preparing them for the new norm in the 21st century!)
2) Continuity and progression of their studies (With no physical limitations, students can learn anywhere outside the classroom so long as they can receive a digital signal.)
3) Gearing Up for Success (Digital learning platforms allow for other forms of engagement and give students important and critical exposure to real-life digital tools as the future is now, a digital world that connect lives.)
Understanding the Digital Classroom
Digital platforms have the advantage that they allow for remote learning in the comfort of your home; however, it would be good to prepare well to have a good experience.
Online learning on a digital platform is different from actual classrooms. Both have different strengths and weaknesses. In physical classrooms, there is the time factor to get to the class and there are distractions that sometimes abound. A student might be speaking to his friend or getting distracted with noise coming from another class. Getting to the tuition centre sometimes also can be a headache at peak traffic hours and take much precious time.
Digital classrooms have the advantage of being remote and independent of physical location, focussing on the delivery of the lesson content , and equally engaging if done well.
What we are doing on BELOVED’s Live Digital platform is not a student-based learning system (where children are clicking through digital lessons) and neither is it a pre-recorded lesson. It is a dynamic live lesson by a teacher who is engaging the children in real-time.
However, since the digital platform is home-based, we need the co-operation of parents and child to set up the following as best as possible:
Becoming an Online Tech Warrior!
1) It is important to have access to ample internet bandwidth and a good broadband signal at home to avoid having not an optimal video experience or disrupted conversations. This is a critical investment if significant time is going to be spent on online learning.
2) Sometimes there may be many people in your household using the internet at the same time that may result in some lag in your signal. An arrangement could be worked out so that during your online lessons, they could allow you more exclusive access.
3) It is recommended to use either a desktop or a laptop that is not more than 5 years old. Older sets sometimes have compatibility issues with software or might be cluttered with other applications. Furthermore having a good processor and more RAM allows you to open up more applications like Word, PowerPoint, and videos on your computer.
4) It is advised not to use iPads or phones as your main digital platform as that will not give you an optimal experience due to the limited screen size and the ability to respond by typing.
5) It is good to get a noise-cancelling or noise-reduction headphones during the lesson to avoid other distractions. This is better than hearing the voice from the computer speakers which might not be so clear.
6) There are ways to reduce audio feedback which is caused when the sound from your speakers enters your computer microphone. One of the ways is to use headphones. Another way is to make sure your laptop speaker is not turned on too loud. Sometimes, if you use other devices together on the digital platform, this might cause problems if you do not mute one of them.
7) If your laptop or desktop does not have a video camera, you might want to purchase an external video camera. This is important so that the teachers can see the students and have maximum engagement.
Creating the right environment!
a. Find an appropriate space
o Using a location that is private without noise and interruptions is important. So a dedicated room or a room that at least has a door.
o Pick a quiet location in the house that does not have a noise interference (i.e. noise from the traffic or street). The kitchen or the living rooms are always busy and noisy places due to high human traffic. Small distractions can have a big impact on concentration.
o In a sense, you have to recreate the classroom conditions as much as possible to have the best learning experience.
o If you are sharing the space with someone else, be sure to communicate your use of the room during the timings that you will be doing the e-learning.
b. Make it comfortable and conducive (remove distractions!)
- You should ensure that the place where you will do the digital live lesson is comfortable and conducive for learning. Too much clutter will distract. Having a good chair, a neat and tidy environment (just like a classroom!) is optimal for concentration especially for the younger age groups.
- There is no problem having a cup of your favourite drink nearby or some snacks to keep you going through the lesson. (Just make sure you mute when you are eating!)
- Keep everything close at hand and convenient:
· Students notes
· It’s great also to have a small whiteboard (so this helps in the interaction with teacher and students as well)
A Safe and Secure Environment
· In the same way as real life, bad characters are lurking around in the digital space.
· As parents, it is always good to ensure you have antivirus, firewall and parental locks on your child’s access. You do not want them to be going to the wrong webpage or communicating with strangers.
· It is always good to password-protect your access to your online learning which your tuition or enrichment centre should provide for. This allows your account to be protected. This goes the same for any of the other software you or your child might be using.
· It is very important never to give out personal data online unless the sources are accredited and secure. You should also educate your child on these matters as well.
Have an Open Mind!