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What Online Learning Looks Like For Students Under Community Quarantine
  • To stop and slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Philippines is now under Code Red Sub-level 2, and NCR is now under community quarantine.

    Suspension of all classes in Metro Manila has been extended until April 12, 2020. Several provinces, where COVID-19 has been suspected or confirmed, have also suspended school in all levels as a precautionary measure.

    According to Education Secretary Leonor Briones, via an interview on CNN Philippines, most of the students’ learning requirements have been fulfilled, except for the final examinations. DepEd Undersecretary Alain Pascua suggested that schools in NCR have the option to conduct online exams.

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    Schools unable to hold online examinations have the option to conduct exams on a staggered basis to lessen the number of students on school premises. But exams, as wells as graduation ceremonies, should be scheduled after April 12, 2020 or when the community quarantine is lifted.

    The other option is the transmutation of grades. “Iko-compute ‘yung mga grado ng mga bata magmula noong first, second, at saka third quarters at ‘yung remaining standing nila — less at wala don ‘yung fourth quarter — and then we’ll be having their class standing,” Pascua explained. This computation will be released by the DepEd in the coming days.

    How schools are continuing online learning for kids

    Many private schools have already declared the school year over and instructed their students to get their things from school on specific dates to avoid crowding. For schools that decided to let their students fulfill the rest of the school year’s requirements, these would be done online and at home.

    A lot of teachers and learners in Metro Manila are working via smartphones, tablets, and computers. Instructions are being sent to the students via Facebook Groups, Skype, Telegram, Messenger, Viber, or WhatsApp. Tasks and worksheets also reach the students via email. For classes and workshops, these can be done online as well.

    Best digital learning tools

    Pascua suggested that the DepEd may introduce its online learning platform, which will let teachers and students take the online lessons. Some classes already use free and available platforms, such as Genyo, Google Classroom, Zoom, Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment), Edmodo, Schoology, and Turnitin. Google Classroom seems to be the most accessible for many.

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    Ateneo de Manila University is using Moodle, a free and open-sourced learning platform. The University of The Philippines had also made its Open University’s Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) accessible on their website for a smooth transition from face-to-face to online lessons.

    Online learning platforms are only an additional learning venue for younger students. They’re best for college and high school students “dahil sa pagiging tech-savvy nila,” Nathaniel Reyes, an online course creator and founder of Video Editing Essentials, tells SmartParenting.com.ph via Facebook Messenger.

    “Zoom is easiest kasi teacher will just do live video while recording and then may chat and question and answer feature for students,” he explained. “If you can record it, you can do so and use a Learning Management System like Thinkific, Teachabe, or Kajabi,” Reyes suggested.

    Reyes, who is a dad of two and was a high school teacher, added that virtual assistants are also available to help the technically challenged. But he assures that online platforms are easy to learn for parents, too. “Malaki ang maitutulong ng parents when it comes sa education ng mga anak nila,” he added, just like homeschooling.

    These trying times require extraordinary measures to ensure that kids’ learning is not interrupted, and online learning is a viable solution. The teachers and students are already making it work.

    For more COVID-19 updates, click here.

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