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Coronavirus Pandemic

Combating coronavirus: Teachers in UAE hone tech skills as they get ready for new term

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on August 23, 2020 | Last updated on August 23, 2020 at 07.15 am
Combating, coronavirus, Teachers, UAE, hone, tech skills, get ready, new term

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In some schools, digital classrooms are being equipped with smart boards and interactive panels to ensure simultaneous communication.

The UAE teaching fraternity is busy fine-tuning their tutoring strategies ahead of the new term. Teachers are focusing on providing creative synchronous learning while managing asynchronous projects.

Additionally, they are collaborating with the school administration to build an in-person plan that keeps safety and student experience at the focal point. In some schools, digital classrooms are being equipped with smart boards and interactive panels to ensure simultaneous communication.

Direct instructions in the class will be streamed live for those students who want to have 100 per cent remote learning, said Deepika Thapar Singh, CEO-Principal of Credence High School. "They can view the instructions virtually through Zoom exactly like those students attending the classes. The same content will be delivered to all children and students at home get the 'feel' of being in class," she said.

'Blended learning' has typically meant combining physical classrooms with online interactive tools. "Our model is based on a master class followed by an asynchronous, self-organised learning session, and face-to-face sessions," said Nargish Khambatta, Principal and CEO of GEMS Modern Academy.

"The time table for children who are in school and at home are exactly the same. But the experiences are obviously not. Fifty per cent of the time, students are here for experiential learning," she said.

Mala Mehra, principal of Central School explains specific cohorts will be divided into 'learning bubbles'. "Stable groups like group A and group B will have blended learning on alternative days. The teacher will be teaching a physical class and simultaneously to the online students."

"Majority of the assignments will be online and wherever students will be using notebooks it will not be shared. Proper sanitising protocols will be followed when touching notebooks," she added.

One of the main issues would be dividing attention between onsite and offsite learners, said Annie Mathew, Principal, Gulf Model School. "Meetings are being held at various levels to discuss anticipated problems and suggest viable solutions," she added.

While the teaching community has so far proved to be resilient and adaptive to the rapidly changing scenarios, they are brainstorming ways to navigate through any possible roadblocks.

Radhika Suresh, Head of PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic), Amled Schools Dubai said that maintaining shared thinking between teachers and students could be a possible impediment. It also entails ensuring complete participation of students while using technology. Looking at "how" to teach and not just "what" to teach is a big concern," she said 

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