How to Manage Ongoing Challenges of Online Classes for Students?June 3, 2021
The most oft-used term since the pandemic hit has been “new normal.” There is a new normal with respect to each thing associated with our lives. However, for the kids, the new normal is an extreme stretch from the way they used to learn.
The year 2020 was difficult for everyone, students included. It is now over a year since schools shifted over to the online platform of education in the wake of the pandemic. While most students long to return to the familiar environment of the school, the timeline for them (specifically of primary and middle schools) to return to regular schooling is still unclear. While humanity continues its battle against this virus, our little ones are fighting a battle of their own to remain focused and motivated.
Pros and Cons of Online Learning
As true with most teaching methods, online classes too have their set of positives and negatives. Let us take a look at the advantages of online classes:
Online learning provides teachers with an effective and competent way to give lessons to students.
Accessibility of Time and Place
Online education enables students to attend classes from any location of their choice. It also enables schools to cover a more extensive network of students instead of being restricted by geographical boundaries.
Improved Student Attendance
Since online classes can be taken from home or location of choice, there are fewer chances of students missing out on lessons.
As mentioned, each mode of learning has both pros and cons, so let’s take a look at the cons of online learning:
Inability to Focus on Screens
For many students, one of the biggest challenges of online learning is the struggle with focusing on the screen for long periods of time. Excessive use of different mobile and computer applications is throwing up various other challenges.
Another critical challenge of online classes is internet connectivity. In smaller cities and towns, a consistent connection with decent speed is still a problem.
Sense of Isolation
Students learn a lot from being in the company of their peers. However, with the absence of physical interactions, students end up feeling isolated.
Issues with Screen Time
Children are having to spend so many hours staring at a screen. This increase in screen time is one of the most significant disadvantages and concerns of online learning.
Although businesses have been involved in setting up ergonomically correct workplaces for their employees, students doing online education from home are asked to sit at a regular desk and use devices without thought being given to strain on their necks, shoulders, back and eyes.
The New User-Experience of Attending Classes Online
Because of online classes, students cannot directly access their teachers or peers to discuss and clarify academic matters. This produces a hurdle for effective learning. To make matters worse, there are other challenges that present themselves: technical issues (such as a weak internet connection), having to deal with additional responsibilities in the house, and distractions (such as other people in the house, the ubiquitous mobile phone, or easy access to other Websites). All this makes it hard for students to stay focused. The following suggestions could help them make the most of attending online classes from home:
Arrange a Study Area for your Child
Arrange a proper study area with a proper desk and chair, which enables your child to sit straight with back support. A productive workspace at home can improve motivation and productivity. The study space should have access to a high-speed internet connection. Ensure that all the devices are charged and working efficiently before class time and study time and this can save students from a great deal of frustration.
Be Kind to your Children
Be understanding and gentle with children to adjust to this new learning schedule. It is not always going to go well. At times, the kids are going to need a break. Not everyone learns the same way. By understanding their particular learning style (such as a visual or auditory learning style), students can employ effective study strategies for themselves at home.
Schedules and routines are highly essential for children not only while at school but at home as well. Children will function best if they maintain their routine the way in school. Encourage them to get up and move around in the house, maintain their lunch timings, ask them to exercise in between, so that they are not sedentary the entire day. Tell your child to stand up and stretch every 20 to 45 minutes and also blink intermittently.
Have Open Conversations
Enable your kids to communicate their feelings with you. Be patient and understanding as your child may have diverse reactions to stress.
Don’t try to Recreate School
Do not try to recreate school with six to seven hours of curricular content. Instead, focus on higher-quality, shorter engagement with your kids and make time for fun activities.
Remember to Schedule Time for Fun
While this is most certainly not a vacation, it is important to have some fun with your children while they are at home.
Maintain an Exercise Routine to Help your Child with Neck and Shoulder Strain
Some exercises that can help are:
- Ball throwing and catching
- Neck rotations and stretching
- Chin Tuck: Tuck or slide the chin inward such that it touches the back of the neck. Avoid blocking the chin down towards the chest.
- Shrugging: Raised your shoulder slowly such that it touches the ears. Hold that position for about 15 to 20 seconds. Bring your shoulders down slowly as it relaxes.
- Suryanamaskar: Surya Namaskar is a great warm-up for kids, as it stretches the entire body and helps move every joint and major muscle group present.
Eating nutritious foods, getting enough sleep, and exercising are all essential for good mental health. As your kids experience a detachment from their normal school routines, ensure to personalize your child’s learning experiences to her interests, strengths, and skill level. The best way to teach children these self-care strategies is for parents to follow them too.
Digital Eye Strain
Digital eye strain is the discomfort around and, in the eyes, one might experience from staring at screens for a long period of time. It is caused by prolonged exposure to blue light-emitting devices, such as like desktop computer monitors, tablets, monitors, and smartphones. Blue light is present all around us. Any source of visible light emits blue light waves, be it a light bulb, the sun, or a touchscreen device. A certain amount of blue light is required by the body, as it keeps us alert, helps memory, and elevates our mood.
The most common question is, can I purchase a pair of blue light blocking glasses for my child?
Well, the answer is that there is no proven benefit to purchasing these glasses. However, for parents who are really concerned about blue light coming from the screens, you should know that there are different apps available online which can reduce the amount of blue light the screens emit. These apps are a better option than investing in blue light blocking glasses as they do not stop the natural blue light from entering the eyes.