OVER a million students across all Hong Kong schools and Universities are affected by school closures in the whole territory, following the worsening virus threat.
Schools and universities had to cancel classes as well as all extra curricular activities and after school programs until March 02nd following a directive by the EDB (Education Department Bureau).
Public leisure centers and facilities have also been closed by order of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Sport centers provide a wide range of indoor leisure facilities such as badminton courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, netball courts, tennis as well as swimming.
Such conditions have impacted millions of students and parents nationwide in different ways and cost the entire education sector dearly, with many students needing to sit for final exam papers at the end of the year.
Schools have instructed teachers to provide online lessons to students signalling the growing importance of e-learning in these crucial times.
Digital online learning is useful when students are not able to attend physical classes and teachers can still interact and share learning materials with them. Teachers are also able to assign homework and track each learner’s progress.
Teachers and students can engage with one another in a secure and user-friendly environment offered by for example Google Classroom, where teachers can post contents like educational YouTube videos, animations and quizzes for students to learn from and use.
In terms of learning content, it is of crucial importance to choose to work with learning providers who know the curriculum your school is providing for your child.
The current situation has provided the impetus to providers to offer other innovative e-learning solutions that have also been deployed due to school closures.
There is also a clear issue with static online learning materials which are often not fully utilised by students because of their passive nature. If your child has trouble focusing on pre recorded materials and online published content, it may be worth exploring dynamic interactions via live online classrooms or live 1-1 tutoring.
“Many education technology companies offer live online tutoring models where students can have access to quality teachers and materials without having to leave their homes. Our live tutors ensure that sessions are interesting and highly engaging by retaining the spontaneous human interaction students like to have, ” said Mrs Yasay from Mathemagic online.
While there are options for classroom substitutes in this digital era, students can expect to learn more than just the contents of their lessons.
Online learning develops critical thinking and creativity outside academic disciplines as students explore and synthesise the various content available to digest.
It also promotes communication and collaboration in situations where students work together virtually on tasks and project, befitting the students of today who are digital natives.
Although it has taken unfortunate circumstances like the coronavirus to bring to light the benefits of online learning for schools and students, it is abundantly clear that the government and private sector are inevitably moving towards digital education for the benefit of students and teachers.
About the Author: Karim Arditi is the program director for Mathemagic, a leading online tuition provider based in Hong Kong