Coronavirus in UAE: Online classes begin for some students

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Coronavirus, UAE, Online, classes, begin,

Dubai - Online classes were supposed to start at all schools on March 22, according to a schedule shared by the Ministry of Education earlier.

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Published: Mon 16 Mar 2020, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 17 Mar 2020, 10:39 AM

Some Indian curriculum schools in Dubai have started teaching senior students virtually, Khaleej Times can reveal. Schools following the Indian Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) curriculums have launched e-classes for Grade 10 and 12 students. The senior students typically start their classes early, but since schools have been shut as a precautionary measure against Covid-19 spread, the lessons are being imparted via e-learning.
Online classes were supposed to start at all schools on March 22, according to a schedule shared by the Ministry of Education earlier.
Students are being encouraged to use digital learning resources such as hybrid textbooks (books with access to digital content), a digitised computer science curriculum and digital learning resources for Arabic language development.
How it works
Lalitha Suresh, principal of GEMS Our Own Indian School, confirmed that the school has started online classes. "The bridge classes for Grades 11 students moving to Grade 12 began from March 5. From March 8, all 260 students of the new Grade 12 began their online lessons with teachers."
She explained classes begin at 9am and continue till 2.30pm. "We use a range of technology platforms for curriculum management, lesson planning, access to a virtual learning environment, the ability to conduct live online classes, a communication platform for parents, and the ability to track individual performance students," explained Suresh.
The lessons delivered were a combination of live interactive lessons, notes and presentations. "An inclusive live question and answer session was held, and at the end of the classes, teachers conducted a short online assessment to gauge the learning. We have received positive feedback from students and teachers," said Suresh.
The Indian High School began its e-classes on March 11 for all Grade 10 students and on March 15 for Grade 12 students. Students access their lessons through apps and online lectures and videos.
Punit MK Vasu, CEO of the Indian High School, said: "We were well-prepared to go live with virtual learning this new academic year."
Various technology tools are being used to impart online classes. These include interactive sessions with teachers, links to videos and lessons, assignments and assessments. "Students are expected to log in to Google classrooms and Zoom. We will have student engagement and continuous assessment built into the lessons to ensure effective learning."
42,000 teachers e-trained
More than 42,000 teachers have undergone e-training so they can impart e-lessons, the Ministry of Education has announced. The training was done in cooperation with the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU).
Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, said: "Today, we are better prepared for the future, by creating a comprehensive and integrated electronic learning and training environment."
Schools across the UAE are expected to take virtual classes for students from March 22.
How to help kids adapt to digital classrooms
>Develop a routine
-Agree with the structure for your day. Include 'wake-up' and 'school-finish' times.
-Make sure you are aware of the school's timings for online learning.
-Transfer your school's planner to a home timetable, so you know what is happening when.
-Consider making your calendar visible so that everyone in the house is aware of the agreed routine.
-Schedule breaks for lunch, snacks and physical activity.
>Have a 'classroom'
-Agree a designated workspace that is free from clutter.
-Prepare lesson materials and books the night before.
-Keep distractions to a minimum - turn off the TV and place personal devices out of reach until an agreed time. Using headphones might help if your household is busy.
-Make sure your home Wi-Fi is working and have a plan in place in case this is disrupted.
>Maintain school discipline
-Familiarise yourself with your school's contact procedures.
-Staff should not be using their personal devices to contact families throughout distance learning. Ensure all communications with school personnel are through approved channels.
>Mental well-being
-Be aware of the potential for social isolation. Consider accessing local playdates and activities that could support your child's socialisation.
-If you are concerned about your child's emotional well-being, ask for a virtual appointment with their teacher.
-Be aware of the ability of social media to provoke fear and misinformation. Make good choices about what you engage with online through these channels.
-If you are unsure about any learning arrangements, contact your school.
>Maintain a healthy lifestyle
-Ensure a responsible adult supervises children at all times.
-Talk with your child about safe online behaviours and what to do if they come across something they are uncomfortable with.
-Monitor your child's online usage and use any appropriate parental controls.
-Ensure you know how to raise any concerns with your school.
(Tips shared by Sara Hedger, head of safeguarding, GEMS Education; and Emily Ellington, head of inclusion, GEMS Education)

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