Virtual learning: technology should not take precedence over learning

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, various distance learning methods have been introduced in the country. There are two main modes: synchronous virtual learning (live, on-screen) and asynchronous virtual learning (the teacher records his lesson in advance and can be viewed at any time, or it gives homework and homework through the learning platform).

Therefore, teachers had to review their teaching methods and adapt to online teaching in a few days. L ‘Educational Funda fund subsidized by the British Ministry of Education synthesized a meta-analysis (synthesis of experimental research) in order to formulate educational recommendations for distance learning.

It is said, in general, that methods that are effective in face-to-face mode need to be translated into virtual mode. And that teachers do not need to be overloaded with technology.

We are a group of researchers in school education, especially interested in literacy, academic and social adaptation and the dynamics of teaching and learning. Why be interested in this subject when the pandemic is declining and students are learning? Because, in our opinion, it is important to summarize the past two years and document the future.

Manage your class

During synchronous virtual learning, it is very easy to lose control of the classroom if there is no effective behavior management, as in face-to-face mode. Therefore, it is important to determine the expected behavior (turn off the microphone, raise the virtual hand to have a turn to speak, do not interrupt words) and show what is expected of students, which in slang is called “simulation”. .

Students then practice the desired behavior under the supervision of a teacher who is sure to give them feedback. Inappropriate behaviors that jeopardize teaching and learning cannot be tolerated, but some may be illustrated by teacher humor and counterexamples to prevent them from occurring. When students perceive expected behavior and virtual classroom management works well, teaching content becomes possible.

From March 2020, teachers had to reconsider their teaching methods.
(Isabel Carignan), Provided by the author

In the context of online teaching, simulation can take longer. It is not always possible to see what students are writing, so it is important to ask questions to understand how they work and to test their learning. Therefore, it is advisable to explain and explain again.

Inadequate platform

Google Classroom is one of the free learning platforms used by schools to create events in digital format. This platform is interesting for the integration of learning material, but not necessarily for real-time learning, synchronously. Very often training time is spent on logistics, which is a waste of training time.

For example, parents interviewed in a virtual and personal learning study during a pandemic we mentioned to a researcher that a teacher used three 55-minute periods to explain 2 years to children.and initial course how to get a document on classroom. When parents offered to project a document on the screen in presentation mode, instead of each student having their own document on their computer, their response was: “I want children to learn to receive documents from my classroom »…

But what lessons did they learn here? No! At this age, students do not necessarily know how to navigate different platforms. The teacher also does not know which tabs are open on the students’ computer, and each teacher has his own way of using the platform. Also use Google Classroom this is far from intuitive for students and parents.

Back to basics

Just because we teach online doesn’t mean we have to use technology at any cost. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes less. Screen to share videos just dance on YouTube for a physical education lesson, it’s relevant. Children move and have fun, dancing to various songs.

Otherwise, the easiest way to maintain control – or restore it – is to use a erased board, paper workbooks or sheets for printing. Classes with paper and pencil work well with students, parents and teachers. Students already know their notebooks and will have no technical problems.

It is much easier to tell students to take their workbook 1, 2, 3… with Nougat in math than telling them to go Google Classroom to find an XYZ document in a subsection of another subsection that shows several ways to open it. It is also easier for parents – and much less stressful – to answer their children’s questions with a paper notebook. Then they feel more competent and confident to help their children learn. Documents of Google Classroom (which is mostly empty because the teacher creates the platform according to his plan) or any other learning platform, such as Zorbit in mathematics or Bukili in reading, are quite useful for doing homework or reviewing a subject you saw at school during the day.

When students study in a synchronous virtual school, the study time is too valuable to spend on learning the platform. Training and education remain a priority.

The study of any web platform had to be conducted in the classroom with the students in person, so that the teacher could be sure of their understanding before the start of virtual learning. We must at all costs avoid the complications of using technology to minimize lost time and maximize teaching and learning opportunities. To achieve this, the use of simple tools can contribute to the more effective learning that children so desperately need! Why complicate things when it can be easy?