Imparting knowledge virtually

Thanks to technology, online teachers are able to do what they love on a flexible schedule.

Using the internet as a virtual classroom may seem very unorthodox to laymen but the tutors choose to term the unconventional mode as enriching and something in line with the developing digital era. The advantages they assert are many – it offers the online tutors the comfort of conducting classes with students across different time zones while sitting in the comfort of their homes. For women tutors with toddlers, it allows them the much needed work-life balance. A search will unearth online tutors for almost every subject like English, Physics, Maths, and Biology to technical ones like Architecture, Business Analysis as well as tailoring, dance and even surprisingly swimming. Leave aside the familiar school subjects, even music classes can be conducted online as classical musician Priya R. Pai says.

Priya conducts regular music classes at her home and her students who left the country enquired if she could conduct online classes; that put Priya on the digital route. Though she had options like Google Duo, WhatsApp or Skype, Priya prefers the video option of Facebook Messenger to conduct her classes wherein she can include a number of students in a group. ”I do not want to waste time taking classes for a single student when I can be teaching more in a group, hence the decision to use the group option of Messenger,” she explains. The advances in technology have to be taken advantage of, although she states there is nothing like a direct teacher-student interaction like the Gurukula system. She explains how she conducts her music classes online.

“I put the group on a video conference call so that all the students can listen to what I teach and participate real time. There are also instances when I include the virtual group in my physical classes so they get the feel of sitting in a live classroom.” Currently, Priya has around six online students though she has enquiries for more, which she does not want to encourage. “The online students I have were a part of my physical classes so they know my teaching methods and are in sync with that, which makes it easy,” she concludes.

The conventional and unconventional is what online tutor Sindhu Menon teaches. From the routine Maths, Science and English, Sindhu is also teaching unconventional subjects like Science and Technology studies to even the History of Painting. She has been conducting online classes for the past six years and teaches students from Australia and the Middle East. She begins, “I started off with homeschooling a grade 8 student from Qatar and from then on there has been no looking back. I now have around 16 students with the vast majority of them from Australia and have continuous classes from 11 am to 4 pm.”

An Engineering and MBA graduate, it was the birth of her child that made her chart the online route. She explains, “I completed my MBA after my child was born and my mother had to look after my baby and I realised that she was adjusting a lot. So I looked for work from home options. Now I can be free in the evenings when my children reach home.” It was her cousin — herself an online tutor — who explained the benefits and gave her the required contacts to capitalize on. The students are taught in real time and she gives assignments, which can be corrected immediately. “Teaching the Australian students gave me a lot of exposure because we analyse movies and books with the same theme and compare them to essays,” she concludes.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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