The year 2020 will be etched in history as the “Online Educational Era”. As idealistic as it sounds, it comes with its own comebacks. It has been a huge change to get used to and we at QuizNext were curious to know how our users were adapting to the present conditions. Chaitanya Naik, Head of Product- QuizNext got into a telephonic conversation with two educators who have used QuizNext and benefited positively. 

Mrs. Sunita Srivastava, Principal of Sahu International School, is a Biology teacher who has over twenty-two years of experience teaching classes nine and ten. 

Our second interviewee was Dr. Amrita Gaur Swaroop from the Chemistry Department in Sushila Birla Girls School, Kolkata who has over fifteen years of experience in her field of education. 

If you look at your 1st day of online classes to today what changes have you seen?

Mrs. Sunita Srivastava: “The first day was quite an anxious day for teachers and students. Web Cameras, screen sharing, managing noises in multiple environments were some of the problems we had initially. Now as time has passed we have gotten in the flow of things. As teachers, we discuss how we can explain things in a better manner and engage children online. Now when we look back, these issues were quite trivial”.

Dr. Amrita Gaur Swaroop: “Initially classes were quite chaotic. Now they are much more organized and settled in. Students also learned to accept the changed way of teaching. They have adopted the new learning processes and now enjoy the class and the different methods used and parents also have opened up for all required help”. 

What are the challenges you uncovered after adopting online classes?

Mrs. Sunita Srivastava: “I personally have almost 22 years experience teaching in a classroom. It was very hard for myself and other faculty members to replicate our classroom teaching. Normally in a classroom, we are able to read the faces and body language of children and figure out if they are paying attention or not. Sometimes in online classes, we may be speaking for 10-15 minutes straight. By the end of the class, we feel alone. In order to make sure students are listening all the way, we conduct a test by the end of the class. In this aspect, QuizNext has helped a lot. The results of online classes were turning up very disappointing. With QuizNext, we were able to get ready-made Quizzes on the topics we just covered and put the student’s knowledge to the test.

Dr. Amrita Gaur Swaroop: “Extensive use of technology, discovering new ways to engage students and maintaining their interest in the topic, managing parents and adopting the changing rules of the board about conducting online classes. These are just a few of the changes we had to come around since online classes began”.

Do you think formative assessment can replace exams this year? 

Mrs. Sunita Srivastava: “I am not certain about it. Teachers like it. Students like it. It gives a clearer image of the student’s knowledge. It took a while though. We started off slow and now we conduct 3-5 quizzes on each chapter with Quiznext. Formative Assessments are reliable for giving students all year round engagement to their studies. Replacing final exams might be too big a change right now. Even NEP 2020 is going for a similar system. So we will have to wait and watch”.

Dr. Amrita Gaur Swaroop: “Maybe. Formative assessments definitely have their own way of testing the talents of children. The future will be bright for those students who can apply their knowledge and not just who gather the information”.

What aspects of online learning will you carry into classrooms once the lockdown ends?

Mrs. Sunita Srivastava: “We started off using technology due to compulsion. There wasn’t any other way. Now we see the benefits of it. The quizzes, videos and content has definitely been beneficial for students after classes. Since children are actively participating in it, we will continue to adopt the benefits of technology further. We will continue using QuizNext even after school is opened for daily formative assessment”.

Dr. Amrita Gaur Swaroop: “Online quizzes, sharing relevant videos, online examination as it is the upcoming trend and of course , the webinars. These are a few of the features we will carry into the offline mode of learning as well”. 

Now that you are not seeing students in person, what has changed for you in terms of bond/connection with students?

Mrs. Sunita Srivastava: “We all teachers share a special bond with our students. To the point where children listen to us more than their parents. Even though we don’t see each other physically, we managed to maintain that bond. We exchange WhatsApp messages. Students ask more questions offline. Being at home, when online classes happen, students treat us teachers like guests in their home. In the first video call with the students, I could see the joy on their face. They were excited to see us after their long break. We are quite excited to see them after the lockdown is lifted. I am sure that day will be emotional for the staff. We miss talking to the parents as well”.

Dr. Amrita Gaur Swaroop: “Nothing in terms of bond has really changed. This generation is more open on an online platform than they are personally. This period gave us an opportunity to come onto the same platform and realise their way of thinking and expressing. It has really brought us closer. In my last 15 years of teaching experience, it was always that I had just one or two students contact number or email id of class 12 for any communication or information sharing. But this year not of only class 12 , I have contact numbers, WhatsApp numbers and email ids of all my students right from class 6 to 12.

While the online era might have its drawbacks, we have to try and make the best out of the present situation and find what is best for the future of the coming generations of children.The pandemic might have been a step back but adapting to the present situation will be taking two steps forward.