THE new normal for the education sector requires more than transferring lesson plans and readings to the internet.
A teacher cannot simply upload a syllabus to a website and let students access the materials via the internet and call it online education. That would result in ineffective instruction and a disregard for the potential of online teaching.
This is the first rule in adaptive learning. Change instruction to adapt to the platform. Other lessons are on how to make instruction participatory or interactive, the digital tools available to make class material compelling and new ways to measure learning outcomes.
Online learning is about providing instruction to students who are at home and cannot go to the physical school because of the coronavirus disease (Covie-19) pandemic. President Rodrigo Duterte made sure the health of students and faculty are protected when he ordered that no face-to-face classes in public schools will be held until a vaccine for the new coronavirus is found and sold to the market. This moves the opening of schools to a still undetermined date.
As to private schools, some have targeted opening classes in August but there is no definite date set. For now, physical classes will be on hold and learning will be done online. This is the new normal in education.
Instruction will be both synchronous (a regular online chat or class) and asynchronous (self-paced, depends on the student’s own pace). Depending on the nature of the course, it can be conducted in a purely asynchronous manner.
The syllabus is divided into modules with learning outcomes and measurable assessments and in formats that can be varied – video, audio, photo gallery. It allows participation through curation when students interact with the reading or creation of new content or even games.
The limitations to online learning are the lack or absence of power supply, internet connection and devices – phone or computer - to access the class. Then there’s the increase in tuition in private schools that are making parents hesitate to enroll their children. Some parents have decided to let the coming schoolyear pass and do the homeschooling themselves.
The Department of Education (DepEd) said 16.6 million students in public and private schools nationwide have enrolled by telephone or online for schoolyear 2020-2021. Most of them are enrolled in public schools while less than a million registered for private schools. The total number of enrollees last schoolyear was 27 million.
The DepEd developed a learning resource portal at https://lrmds.deped.gov.ph/ to jumpstart efforts at designing adaptive learnings that teachers can use in their online classes. There are tools to create galleries, video and audio presentations but the site is apparently still being developed as the content is limited.
There is little time left to set up the new normal for education if schools open in August and these changes have to happen soon and with the commitment of schools and government.