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Coronavirus: Suspending Schools? Time for Virtual Classrooms!

Suspending schools and universities for two weeks in Egypt and turning to remote learning instead means over 53 thousand and 587 schools shutting their doors to students. No, it’s not a vacation for picnicking and going to malls and spending time at places where you cannot control children physical interaction with others.

It’s a long-waited moment of relief for schools and parents and an excellent opportunity for Egypt to stop coronavirus or at least greatly limit new infected cases, 25%, the percent of students in our country.

This is not a slight, insignificant number, and we haven’t even added the number of teachers, parents, school managers to it (check out our article “Skolera LMS Launches Its Newest Features for V. 6.0” to know more about using LMS in times like this).

It’s time to use digital platforms and remote learning technology in our schools, an official decision made by the Ministry of Education that should considerably reduce the number of new COVID-19 cases, if people stick to the instructions.

 This will allow our heroes working in hospitals—doctors and nurses—to do their jobs without more pressure. So what is the Ministry of Education’s plan to face off COVID-19? How do we use remote learning technology and virtual classrooms?

 

 1. The Ministry of Education’s Plan: 13 Important Decisions

Dr. Tarek Galal Shawki, the Minister of Education in Egypt, announced a series of important decisions as a part of the ministry’s plan against COVID-19, a move that should make all participants in the education process a bit more at ease:

  1. 3rd-8th grade students are to study from home; all their materials are available online.
  2. Digital curriculums for students of 1st grade to secondary grade are added online, to make studying easier.
  3. No exams will be administered to students from KG1 to 2nd grade, applying the no-exams new system.
  4. Teachers are to still come to schools and they have a great part time answering students’ questions by the phone, if needed.
  5. Teachers are to set tests and grade them and also record digital materials for students.
  6. School administrators are to be available at schools in order to manage the educational process and tests.
  7. Egypt’s schools will all be disinfected.
  8. All private tutoring centers are now closed.
  9. There will be no delays for general secondary education exams.
  10. Both first and second secondary grade students will be tested online; they will use tablets to study.
  11. As for other students (3rd primary–2nd preparatory), they are to use digital educational channels, and the ministry will set up a remote learning website for them, in order to help them study their lessons from home.
  12. There are rich online educational materials for preparatory and secondary grade students.
  13. The ministry will soon reach an agreement with 3-mobile phone companies in Egypt to provide free online service for students to access the Egyptian Knowledge Bank, in order to make it easy to access their educational materials.

Read our article “Skolera LMS: A Look Back at 2019 Top Achievements.”

2. Suspending Schools: Virtual Classrooms

So, schools are not suspended, not really! They’ve just turned into remote learning ones, something that many countries around the world have already started doing. In order to limit exposure to COVID-19, many now turned to remote working and online study, the Economist reports.

suspending schools - skolera lms - remote learning

Now, with schools racing to apply virtual classrooms, provide online materials, set up remote learning plans, Skolera schools find they have an edge over any other. In this time of crisis, managers at schools that adopt Skolera, like Modern Cardiff School, Menese Private School Modern Heleoplis, Sun of Glory, Roots, Capital International, and other, are able to benefit from Skolera’ remote learning technology or virtual classrooms and give students the opportunity to continue their education.

What Are Virtual Classrooms?

Virtual classrooms are high-quality educational classes held online through the system. They allow direct interaction between the teacher and students. The teacher explains the lesson exactly as if they were in a real, actual classroom at school at the agreed upon time.

Virtual classrooms provide teachers with the opportunity to share their knowledge with their students, interact and communicate with them, explain ideas and thought, and even work with them.

The only difference between virtual classrooms at Skolera and any other classroom at school is that they are simultaneously held online. Skolera LMS is considered one of the best systems or tools that provide virtual classrooms or remote learning.

virtual classrooms - skolera lms - remote learning

Virtual classrooms at Skolera learning management system

3. Suspending Schools: An Official Decision to Remote Learning

With the Ministry of Education announcing schools will start remote learning, it stated that “As for teachers, every teacher will communicate with their students through one of the communication and remote learning applications, with a technology specialist at school to offer technical support to help the teacher set up groups for students that the teacher teaches as per the official plan, with the school manager and the subject’s supervisor included in these groups.”

But how does remote learning work in Skolera LMS? How can you as a teacher make sure that your students completely understood the lesson to prepare for exams?

First, having more than one online source for education and learning, with other platforms to send assignments, emails, and tests is definitely a distraction for teachers and it also wastes time.

Therefore, Skolera is distinguished from other school management systems: comprehensive LMS. It consists of 3 different systems. So what are these systems?

Remote Learning Platform: 3 in 1 LMS

Skolera comprises 3 systems: LMS, school management system for financial and managerial stuff, and a content management system. Each system has dozens of functions and features to make the educational process better.

suspending schools - skolera lms - remote learning

1. Virtual classrooms in Skolera allow teachers to record live classes and save them on Dropbox and send them to students if needed. This is very important when one of your students contacts you apologizing for missing the lesson, for some reason. In this case you can send the recorded lesson to them to avoid the student missing out on their class.

2. We, in Skolera, added a new button in our Virtual Classrooms, “notify and parents.” This feature allows you to notify parents and students of the next virtual class time and date, in order to coordinate with them so that no class is to be missed.

This feature saves teachers a lot of hassle and time, as we’ve recently noticed that this is something many students attending virtual classes, or online classes, complain from.

3. As a teacher, Skolera provides you with the ability to send educational materials to students for reading or studying, plus the ability to send pictures and videos.

4. You can also create online curriculum, assignments, tests and send them to students effortlessly.

5. Besides, communicating with parents is made much easier using Skolera LMS. This feature is especially important, according to remote learning experts, who recommend communicating with parents to increase student’s academic level; it’s also very helpful to children’s social, cognitive, and emotional development.

6. Motivating students using state of the art technologies through gamification.

Suspending schools and turning to remote learning instead is only temporary due to the COVID-19 situation. But until this is over the main concern is whether children have the capacity to continue their education online with enough focus.

 

Dr. Ahmed El-Hefnawy, an online education expert, assures us on this point in his talk with Sky News. He says we all know that the young deal with technology more than the elders. So there is no fear here.

He continues though saying that children are used to using technology in games.. However, the process of turning using this technology in games to using it in education will require support from parents.

The most important role we can play right now is giving support and comfort to those around us and especially students. They listen to every word we say, so let’s start being selective of what we say or don’t say to avoid spreading fear and anxiety.

Neil McNerney a licensed professional counselor and author of “Homework – A Parent’s Guide To Helping Out Without Freaking Out!” advises us to “Create a standard routine for each day,” since “Kids thrive on routine. And” in times of big changes, this is especially needed. The best thing you can truly give your students is to maintain your role as their teacher, commit to the virtual classrooms time and date, give them assignments and tests, and make them feel your support.

To follow up on the newest trends in education and learning management systems, check our blog on a regular basis. You can also know more about how to help your school through Skolera through our website

About Yasmine Nasr

B.A. degree in English Language, Translation, and Literature, Al-Alsun, Ain Shams University, 2013, and a Certified Literary and Media Translator, American University in Cairo. Content Writer interested in education technology, especially exams autograding, computerizing exams, and LMS in relation to academic accreditation to improve student learning and experience.

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