From kindergarten to 12th grade, EdTech has made its presence felt. Online admissions, fee collection software, e-library systems, student information management systems…there is little that K 12 education is not adapting to keep up with modern times. Unfortunately, Covid-19 with its stringent lockdowns has caused upheavals in the education sector at an unimaginable scale, affecting all stakeholders who depend on it for survival and education. The response of educational institutions has been nothing short of heroic. However, it would be unfair to expect teachers and students to communicate, teach, learn, and benefit from online classes in the absence of dedicated systems that ensure a seamless delivery of these lessons.
Covid-19 may be here to stay for a long time, and vaccinations may also take a long time to hit the market. It is therefore imperative that Learning Management Systems become an integral part of all K-12 software. “But the pandemic too shall pass”, you may say. Why waste money on software that may not serve any purpose once the pandemic is over? Here are some sound reasons why the LMS will hold your school in good stead in both the short and the long term and will keep your school children learning and asking for more:
- Easy access to digital learning: When e-learning modules are an integral part of the K12 software that your school is equipped with, you can be sure that your teachers and students will have rapid and easy access to online learning tools. The pandemic has taught a very useful lesson to schools and colleges. When a crisis hits, the schools that already have the means to move to online mode will adjust effortlessly. The rest will be scrambling for answers and may end up purchasing piece-meal software solutions that do not integrate easily with the systems already in place.
- Something in it for everyone: If the thought of kindergarten kids learning online appears ludicrous, think of what happens to these kids when the academic year begins and they find themselves at a loose end because of extended lockdowns. The reality is that e-learning could be a godsend for kids and their parents, provided teachers conceive of a judicious mix of online and offline activities. Children naturally gravitate towards technology, in all its avatars. Gamification, immersive learning, augmented reality can all be implemented to make learning a fun, immersive, flexible, and student-centered experience. Voice recognition makes it easier for special learners, the visually challenged, and the illiterate to access knowledge and master some skills. And e-learning for higher education offers high school students a wealth of tools and online resources such as E-books, virtual conferences, TED talks, white papers, and more.
- Keeps you future-ready: The World Education Forum, held at Dakar in April 2000 emphasized that “Emergency situations, caused by armed conflict, chronic crises or natural disasters, are a major constraint to the achievement of Education for All. Yet children and adolescents in refugee, internal displacement, returnee or other crisis situations have the right to education, and to benefit from the stabilizing and reassuring environment that schools provide”. Click here to read more. While virtual classrooms cannot replace the real classrooms, they succeeded majorly in ensuring that education is no put on the back burner but continues to reassure and stabilize children across the world. By integrating learning management software into your school management system, you are placing your school in a position of strength, in a state of preparedness for future crises where students could be compelled to learn from home.
- Blended learning is the future: Neither all remote, nor all “in class”! Both the traditional and tech-based systems have their strengths. I feel it would be sheer folly to do away with either. From the traditional approach, students learn to value knowledge, to get a good grip on the theories underlying scientific phenomena, to appreciate literature, and to cherish timeless values of patience, respect for teachers, and the warmth, companionship, and understanding that come with direct, face-to-face interactions. From remote learning, children learn to be self-reliant, self-motivated, tech-savvy lifelong learners. They learn to research, collaborate, and create online. We need the best of both systems to achieve the kind of outcomes we wish for our students. Hence the need to preserve or invest in the online systems that have held us in good stead through this horrible crisis.
- Online assessments — a rich source of pedagogical research: Teachers are learning to assess their students differently with online assessment tools. While online tests may seem to be primarily focused on the objective, MCQ type evaluations, the reality is that both objective and descriptive questions can be covered in digital exams. The TOEFL is an excellent example of a comprehensive online assessment test. From MCQs to oral expression to written expression, every format is covered. What one needs to retain from these distance evaluations is the wealth of resources they throw up. Through in-depth study and analysis, the answers could give educators valuable insights into teaching and assessment practices and curriculum. Online answer sheets can be preserved easily, annotated by teachers, and then passed on to those who wish to identify what works and what does not work in teaching and learning.
The benefits of learning management systems are evident. Online teaching-learning is mostly paperless, saves trees, can be repeated or adapted to suit the learner’s needs, is totally scalable, interactive, student-centered, and, most importantly, very cost-effective.
The Persian adage, “this too shall pass” holds true for the Pandemic as it does for every disaster. What should not “pass” us by is the one life-affirming lesson it has taught us — the lesson of self-reliance. So that every school can stand tall through a crisis and ensure that the show goes on thanks to a complete LMS-integrated school ERP.