March 2020 was a month we will all remember forever. Spring entered the northern hemisphere and brought huge differences with it in our everyday lives for all of us regardless of social class, nationality, religion or race. Living changed. Working changed. And learning changed as well.
The world’s overnight switch to online education
Many thousands of schools and learning institutions around the world had to adjust to the new situation and find ways to avoid pausing the education of their students. To accomplish this noble cause, numerous institutions around the world opted for online education and transformed their conventional classes into online classrooms overnight, changing the learning experience that they used to provide to their students in order to adapt to the new circumstances. This was a brave decision and even educational institutions in Greece, a country that up to this point was not known for any sort of experience in online education, did the best they could to adapt and make sure they did not pause education abruptly for students altogether.
Emergency Remote Teaching vs Well-Planned Online Learning
While this decision was brave and the results were surprisingly satisfactory – considering the situation – we should not be fast to equate courses offered online as a response to the Covid-19 crisis or any kind of disaster with well-planned learning experiences. Online education is its own entity in the field of education that comes with careful designing, appropriate teacher training, academic research, constant technological growth and most importantly great interest on the part of the educator for this specific teaching and learning experience.
Tips to ensure a good online learning experience
We asked the experts behind Greek Lessons OnLine about some tips for people who are interested in continuing their education online. Pavlos Xinas, co-founder and CTO of Greek LOL, believes that the first step towards a potentially positive online learning experience is “to look for experienced schools and educators in online education.” “Teachers need to have had the appropriate training and experience to teach online. It cannot simply be done by anyone from one day to the next.” When it comes to situations like the Covid-19 crisis, Mrs Stella Bompotsiari, founder and Director of Studies of Greek LOL, believes that educators who have had to switch to online teaching overnight should try and keep things simple. “For inexperienced teachers and schools in online learning, it would be best if they tried to keep it simple during a time of crisis rather than trying to use advanced online learning systems and platforms that require training and experience,” she underlines.
Increase interest to learn Greek Online
Greek Lessons OnLine has been experiencing a great number of people who want to learn Greek online lately due to the new circumstances of social distancing. Thanks to the School’s great experience in the field of online education as it has been operating since 2012, it is also experiencing great interest from educators who reach out to get advice about how to teach online. The thing, however, that has made the Greek LOL team the happiest and proudest lately, is the messages that come from the parents of Greek LOL young students who are not shy to express their enthusiasm over their children’s quick reflexes when it comes to online education.
Experienced Greek LOL students guiding teachers online
Quite a lot of the Greek LOL young students also had to attend classes online for their regular schools. According to their parents, due to the children’s exposure to online education through their OnLine Greek School, even the youngest ones were quick to adjust to the online experience their regular schools offered. Nothing makes the Greek LOL team happier than finding out that their young students have gained enough confidence and experience through their online learning experience in the School that they could help some of their classmates out or even guide their teachers in the virtual environment of their online classrooms.
Preparing the next generation of students
All these schools, educators and students had to switch to online learning overnight. This change is far from easy for institutions that lack years of experience and training in online education and of course many educators and students were not ready for a huge change like this. Not the Greek LOL students, though, who proved that they were more than ready. This is why, Greek Lessons OnLine is extremely proud to have helped fellow educators with guidance during this time, but it is most importantly extremely proud to see that all these years of hard work and dedication in the field of online education have paid off through the preparation of a new generation of students with quick reflexes and technological wisdom that will equip their experience with the changing nature of education in the years to come.
Everyone hopes schools will open as soon as possible. Online education, however, is here to stay. Let us treat it as the amazing learning experience that it is and not as an improvised and casual response to a crisis.