Casually I have been discussing with my colleague just a few days prior to the COVID restrictions….now that we have exhausted all teaching tools and students are catching up fast, they themselves presenting seminars with power point presentations like pro…. WHAT NEXT?? Didn’t know that I was prophesying a new era in teaching.
In the wake of COVID pandemic, teaching-learning in all sectors has taken a gigantic leap. Initially, resistance to change was felt. Some were very fast to pick up the new trend and led others from the front.
Few were pretty resistant…”phew…what is this digital teaching learning process?” “Eeow…how to talk to a ghost class!” Where is the charm of ridiculing a guy or a girl for their unmindfulness ..if nothing else, commenting on their dressing sense, playing games on mobiles or making a dosing student alert! Yes, lot of events have been missed during these virtual classes. There is no more uproar of laughter on cutting a joke, no commotion when the classes are stretched beyond time…yet it is all happening, there is no other go. This is the new normal….and till how long, no one knows. Naturally a question pops up in our minds, is this going to be the trend forever? Is digital classroom going to replace the real classroom?
Well, I was asking what’ll be new but nature gave us a big jolt and we all were catapulted to the current scenario and that too when we were so unprepared. And of course, with pride we would say apparently, we have been successful in digital classrooms too, overcoming initial hitches.
Basically, what digital classroom requires is:
Apart from these classroom hacks, we can upload assignments, have a flipped pattern classroom teaching once a while, ask some students to present seminars etc.
Initially to make my BDS students catch up with the MBBS students, I had to release a few PPT with narration and released them as YouTube videos and embedded them on my website.
Coming to evaluation, it was still a greater challenge. The written tests were nothing more than open-book exam systems. The google form subjective question answers were widely plagiarised. Students couldn’t imagine that teachers can be smarter than them to verify it. The only possible way that I could see was to have a direct viva by video calling with rapid fire questions, which will have least cheating possibilities.
But the bottom line is whether we can replace the classroom with digital mode of education…..it is a big NO, for the time being.
For the following reasons it may take another decade before really it is replaced so…
What makes Indian doctors so special across the globe is, their commitment, servitude, adjusting to the Nth extent while working in the pleomorphic country like India with second highest population and most importantly their human touch.
With the concept of digital classroom usurping, the rise for demand of doctors being met with increasing seats in Medical colleges (from 100 to 150 and now 250) a very disturbing question arises…are we going to lose the compassionate Indian doctors? Will machines be treating the patients?? Will human touch be giving way to artificial intelligence??? Are we going to be overpowered by technology like the Bhasmasura??