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Tale of Teachers in the Digital Age – Dr.Sushyni Kothuri

28 Oct 2023.

It was March, 2020. Does the date matter?? Yes. The reason being we all lived through exceptional moments in time, maintaining social distance. It was the time when most educational institutes witnessed the switch from normal classroom setup to online classrooms. The sudden shift has pushed many teachers to give a trial-and-error run by experimenting, with what we lately learned as ‘online classes’.  Are they well-trained?? Do they have any prior knowledge about conducting classes online?? I believe, No. Not many. Yet, they have taken it as a challenge and pushed themselves through it. Many of us had to quickly accept the transition and learn using various digital platforms not only to deliver the lectures but also to keep the students engaged. As the phases of the lockdown went on, teachers had to become proficient in digital tools. Regardless of whether the teachers were supplied with the appropriate resources and tools or not, they exerted their utmost effort. They were also open to innovative assessment methods. The primary concerns revolved around emotional health, isolation, and stress.

When I posted a question “Can you recall your teaching experience during the pandemic” to a few teachers. Their answers were; “I had to adapt to online platforms. I was working only face-to-face till then. My Zoom skills definitely went up very quickly. Out of all the experiences talked about here, I remember what a colleague friend of mine, Mr. Mark said, He says “I have faced a big-time challenge to focus on a million things; you get mails coming from the administration or messages popping up in the official group. I hated checking my mobile.”  One of my other friends, Ms. Sailu from Hyderabad said, “It appears to me that being a great teacher now requires not only being proficient in teaching but also in technology.” Agreeing to what Ms. Sailu said, Dr.Tychicus added “In the traditional classroom, you have a good understanding of your students, and you can keep track of who attends your sessions. However, in an online class, anyone with the authenticated link can join, sometimes even random individuals. It was a roller coaster ride before I got my hands on the calls completely.”  Teaching has seen a different approach during the first phase of the pandemic. In the outbreak of the Pandemic, we all found ourselves innovative.

Post-COVID, education has transformed, placing increased importance on technology and adaptability. Remote and hybrid learning options continue to be integrated into education, while health and safety measures remain a priority. Teachers are adapting to new teaching methods, digital tools, and personalized approaches to address the diverse needs of students. Collaboration and communication among educators, students, and parents have become even more crucial in this post-pandemic era.

The current paradigm in education has shifted from teaching to learning, where teachers help students find and create knowledge independently through a multi-channel learning environment in the digital era. Teachers are adapting to the digital age, in order to make the learners face the competitive world, in a way, teachers are also getting to taste the competition. In light of the ongoing pandemic, educators have demonstrated a willingness to stay current and adapt to various challenges. They have incorporated a range of digital tools and platforms such as smart boards, Google Classroom, Padlet, digital boards, Canvas, Kahoot for quizzes, simulation learning, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and more into their traditional classrooms, adding a fresh dimension to teaching. This digital transformation has also afforded teachers the freedom to explore their areas of interest. Moreover, this “Digital Era” has ushered in collaboration, flexible learning, innovative content delivery, and enhanced interactivity in the classroom, marking significant advancements in education.

It reminds me of the days when mobiles or any smart device were not allowed in the classroom by any teacher. Now, I see a change where teachers encourage the students to use the devices, as they believe that the digital tools allow them to experience the outside world. The new empowered teacher is the one who is pro at using the technology. So far, no teacher believes that technology or the latest digital tools could supplant the role of a teacher. This is because, when a student faces challenges in understanding or struggles to learn, the teacher serves as a facilitator to provide the necessary assistance. The current “GenZ” likely is accustomed to using electronic devices, and incorporating these devices into the curriculum boosts their interest. However, it’s important to note that there is an age gap between the learners and the teachers. It is obvious that we need to handle them with care, as they are already going through certain stressful situations.

But this is the time to gear up and meet future students with attention spans shorter than the blink of an eye. It’s our job to stay up-to-date on upcoming changes to keep the classroom as lively as cricket.

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