By Dr Abdelrahman Ibrahim
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the whole world has witnessed a shutting down of most fields of life but one of the notable fields that has not stopped completely and goes on smoothly is schooling, with all educational institutes having rushed to e-learning and portal or distance learning after this forced condition. Since that situation, the sights turned towards e-learning and stirred a controversy among the community of teachers, students and even parents.
The heated topic became confusing for many. They were concerned about what they will do, so much so that some people forgot that after the ‘e’ there is learning, which means there is the traditional learning before the electronic. This confusion reveals one fact - the lack of understanding of e-learning.
E-learning is a tool only
A student cannot understand lessons without two crucial elements; first, the creative teacher, and second, the mastery of his field. The secret is in hiring the tools properly by the creative teacher; a skilful teacher will know how to moderate his classroom, the best place and suitable time. That is enough to avoid him coming under psychological pressure. He will deal with the educational process in a fun and resilient way to spread knowledge instead of dealing with it as a heavy burden and keep blaming himself for not completing the task with the students.
In other words, the right use of a variety of technological equipment available in the classroom depends on the teacher. However, people forget that the knife in a child’s hand can hurt him while in a chef’s hand it helps him to create tasty dishes.
The e-learning sea is full; do teachers know when and how to use the tools?
When the Movement Control Order (MCO) was imposed, most of the teachers were confused about what to do and how to use the distance-education system. At that moment, I was searching for a way or a forum to inspire my students to do their homework. I used mobile learning tools. It wasn’t my best time because of the huge amount of delayed assignments that were submitted at the same time. But the bright side was that many students enjoyed doing the tasks with the use of tablets. So, the teacher must choose what he wants to use.
Besides Google Classroom and Google Forms, which are prepared for information generation, Microsoft 365, Zoom, open educational sources such as YouTube, Twitter, interactive forums and enrichment online pages enable the teacher to choose the key tasks through selection of the proper tools or platforms and how to apply them in class time so that nothing has to be created from zero.
So, our happiness would be as great as our repentance over our unnecessary educational journey without the use of such specific outlets.
A distant teacher is dull
Elizabeth Flens (2010) said the average student concentration in class is between 10 and 20 minutes, which means that the teacher has to be creative in his teaching. He makes every 20 minutes like a new class. If he gives his lecture through visual communication (distance-learning platforms), he strains himself doing useless things.
Studies indicate that a student would be occupied with something more enjoyable than the distant teacher’s speech, especially since the teacher has given the student reason to sit with the device in front of his parents.
Questions no longer exist
For a long time, the teacher has been organising his education plan on the scale required by his students, classroom, community or the educational environment. However, in cyberspace or virtual or distance learning, without the need for a specific place or time to teach or learn, the teacher asks how the student will be examined?
The one thing students have to deal with is the academic content and assignments. Considering the personal differences and their educational levels, they will have to decide whether they prefer group learning with the teacher or whether they want to be alone.
Enrichment for the teacher and expansion for the student
In distance education, the roles are distributed equally, unlike in the traditional classes where the teacher may have a preference for preparing the content. In distance learning, the teacher provides the student with the keys or learning steps or what is known as the enrichment activities for the topic under study. The teacher calls for a deep immersion in the subject, so the students engage in thought, research, reading, analyses and conclusions.
All of these steps and skills are enough to move the student from the stage of the receiver to the producer of content so that it’s closer to recall at the time needed.
Dr Abdelrahman Ibrahim is a lecturer at Genius Insan College, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia.
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