The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is unimaginable. As a consequence, the education sector has suffered a major jolt impacting 240 million children of the nation.
Though technology has facilitated uninterrupted student learning through digital means, children’s screen time has increased as the pandemic mandated a shift from classroom teaching to online learning.
PRAGYATA guidelines issued by the HRD ministry includes eight steps that educators and school principals can follow to conduct effective online classes and enhance the quality of virtual learning experience.
Section-I Understanding Digital Education
For online learning to be accessible everywhere, availability of digital devices and internet connection are major impediments.
Following modes of online education can help extend our reach:
- Synchronous: real-time teaching through reliable virtual learning platforms.
- Asynchronous: anytime, anywhere learning – emails, SMS, MMS, e-content on DIKSHA, radio, podcasts, watching TV channels, etc.
Section-II PRAGYATA – Steps for Digital Education
PRAGYATA (Plan-Review-Arrange-Guide-Yak(talk)-Assign-Track-Appreciate) guidelines have been developed from the perspective of learners and educators. They have been issued to foster holistic development of the students, with an aim to cut down undue screen time.
Step I: Plan
Meticulous lesson planning reduces the likelihood of runtime failures. The content structure and lesson delivery should be well-planned from end to end. The plan should ensure a seamless knowledge transfer, smoothing the learning curve for students, while making the experience fun-filled and intriguing.
Below mentioned are the core elements of planning that need to be evaluated:
1. Use grade-appropriate tools and resources.
2. Split the class into smaller groups for greater individual attention and active participation.
3. Teachers must respect different learning styles of students
4. Lesson delivery will vary for different subjects due to the nature of pedagogy.
5. Learning materials must be in language/s, students are comfortable with.
6. Children contexts like diverse socio-economic backgrounds and parental support
7. Availability and accessibility of devices with students and teachers
8. Duration of the classes need to be decided in consonance with the age of the children.
9. Assessments need to be carefully designed – fun activities, projects, experiments, creative writing etc. are good options to assess learning
10. Participation of parents to bridge gaps for age groups 3 to 12 years.
11. A list of dos and don’ts for online education
12. Customize lesson plans for children with special needs
The second step is to review the lesson plan thoroughly, on these points:
- Duration of the sessions
- Quality of resources
- Scope of assignments
- Methods of assessment
- Cyber security and safety concerns
Arrange the lesson delivery basis available resources. All the learning materials must be put together and organized well before the session. The learning materials should be arranged in a format easy to understand for children and suitable follow-up activities should also be communicated.
Educators must guide students and parents on technology usage, to maximize learning outcomes. Opportunities for reflection and self-assessment should be provided.
Step-V: Yak (Talk)
Communication is the key to unlock the huge potential of digital education. Sharing of thoughts and ideas, in a group as well as one-o-one interactions must be encouraged and teachers should collect parents’ feedback periodically. Doubt clearing sessions should also happen at regular intervals.
Teachers can formulate creative theme-based assignments or research-based activities like projects. Interesting group activities or individual tasks can be assigned, depending upon the technological tools available to the children.
Teachers should track and monitor students’ progress. Students look forward to teachers’ feedback on completed tasks and feel motivated to perform better.
Teachers should appreciate children, for their smallest of accomplishments. Warm motivating words and appreciation notes can really motivate children and make them feel happy and cared for. Recognition and acknowledgement of students’ responses can promote active participation.
Section- III Guidelines for School Heads, Teachers, Parents and Students
This section emphasizes the responsibility of all the stakeholders – in ensuring sound mental and physical health of students, while pursuing digital education.
3.1. Guidelines for administrators, school heads and teachers
- Facilitate ICT infrastructure for teachers, to harness the potential of digital technology
- Provide digital orientation sessions for teachers, parents and students
- Set learning goals that focus on building concepts/ skills among children
- Involve parents in the process to share feedback about students and class updates
- Plan engaging and meaningful activities to make learning joyful
- Make legible presentations – slides must not have more than 5 bullet points
- Educate students about cyberbullying and netiquettes
- Allow children to express themselves freely
- Plan short sessions with breaks between consecutive sessions
- Encourage peer discussion and interaction during online classes
- Support and include Online Learning of Children With Special Needs (CWSN)
- Recommended Screen Time
|Class||Time duration (in a day)|
|Pre-primary||Not more than 30 minutes|
|I to VIII||Not more than 2 sessions of upto 45 minutes each|
|IX to XII||Not more than 4 sessions of upto 45 minutes each|
3.2. Guidelines for Parents
Parents’ role in a child’s education is amplified, as COVID-19 has brought many new challenges in the learning spectrum. These guidelines for parents help in ensuring physical, mental health and well being along with the cyber safety measures for children – asserting negative consequences due to prolonged use of digital devices.
- must be vigilant about any signs of anxiety, depression /anger in children
- decide rules of online conduct, and set right examples
- discuss the importance of responsible internet usage
- monitor and control device usage and net surfing timings
- encourage free play time and physical activities
- communicate with the school leaders and teachers
- don’t stress or pressurize the child to continuously do online activities
3.3. Guidelines for Students
Students are the primary beneficiaries of school education and must follow these guidelines during remote schooling.
- follow a routine
- explore and experiment
- regulate screen time
- seek parents’ permission before sharing any personal information on the Internet
- be careful about cyber bullying and follow netiquettes
Section-IV Guidelines for Physical Health and Mental Wellness
Poor ergonomic practices, prolonged sitting and exposure to digital devices and lack of physical activities can have a negative impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of a person.
- Maintain good postures and place devices at convenient locations
- Students must be educated on internet misuse
- Safety, security and ethical issues must be reported to adults/teachers
- Support conducive learning environment with minimal noise
Section V : Guidelines for State/UT Administration
In lieu of the geographical, socio-cultural and linguistic disparities, decentralised planning and implementation is advisable for the digital education system to work.
Short-term and long-term learning plans should be developed, considering the ground realities of each State and UT. A combination of technologies and delivery mechanisms can be deployed based on the data of students and their access to digital technologies.
Section-VI National Initiatives
Government’s role in promoting and advocating digital education is crucial.
Some of the supporting national initiatives are:
- DIKSHA – digital platform providing contextualized and engaging digital content
- SWAYAM PRABHA – a group of channels telecasting educational programmes for children of all ages in multiple languages
- SWAYAM – open online courses in MOOCS format for Open school or NIOS
- Shiksha Vaani – CBSE Podcast – providing audio files mapped to NCERT curriculum
- Mukt Vidya Vani (MVV) – open education radio facility
- Special e-content for visually and hearing impaired
- Online Coaching – ITPAL for IITJEE/NEET preparation
- National Test Abhyaas – personalized adaptive learning application for competitive examinations.
In a diverse country like India, with several constraints, switching over to digital modes of education is quite challenging but surely attainable. States and local governments need to join hands, and support relentless efforts from the education fraternity, to bring out substantial and sustainable changes.
The virtual education platforms available in markets like classroom.live, have actualized the dream of online classrooms and can further ease out the adoption of the PRAGYATA protocols.
Hope this blog helped you in getting the essence of the PRAGYATA guidelines.
You can access the complete guidelines here.
Adopt PRAGYATA guidelines!
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