Rashmi Jha, a Delhi government school teacher had a following of nearly 700 on YouTube within 10 days of creating the channel ‘Ganit Pathshala’. For Jha, it was just another way to reach her students who do not have access to smart devices and the internet round the clock. It is her first attempt at a digital class.
“When I started, I used to record videos with my whiteboard. Many students, parents, and other viewers on Youtube gave me feedback. Some found it difficult to note down the pointers, some were not happy with the voice quality. This made me explore more and now, I use video editing software which I found online,” shared Jha, who teaches maths to class 10.
Jha finds this medium useful as it was difficult for her to reach out to all 100 students across three sections of grade 10 in school. The students can watch the videos at their convenience and find assignments in PDF form in the description. She is also receiving requests from viewers to teach the class 9 syllabus online as well.
“It was due to the lockdown that we were pushed to teach online but now I am planning to cover the entire syllabus here. This will act as a repository for students who have missed classes or want to revise the syllabus,” she remarked.
Jha is among the thousands of teachers to have innovated in digital education. YouTube claims that the average daily views of videos with ‘homeschool’ have increased over 120 per cent since March 13 as compared to last year. Since January, the platform has seen a rise of above 50 per cent in ‘Study With Me’ videos. This, however, is not just limited to school teachers. The Madras Bar Association (MBA) is providing a series of lectures through its YouTube channel MBA Academy where reportedly jurists, including judges of the Supreme Court, also feature in the videos.
Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR) are showcasing their education content (which is primarily available on TV and radio) on YouTube as well. Ranga Shanka has moved ‘The little cloud’ – series of live storytelling sessions on the platform as well.
The key, believes Jha, is in learning before teaching. “Many teachers are apprehensive about moving online. We need to push ourselves and be ready to make the shift. We can learn from children at home as well as those we teach. Those few who are coming to learn during these difficult times deserve our effort.”
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Aakash Kadam, founder of Learn English with Let’s Talk, which now has 4.54 million subscribers, runs offline skilling and training centres as well. “It took us around a week to make the trainers comfortable with online teaching, with skills such as how to create a schedule or divide batches online. We had assumed this would not go down well with tier-2 or tier-3 cities, but now from an autorickshaw driver to a domestic help, people from all walks of lives are approaching us and putting in queries,” he informed.
“My advice to people starting to teach online is to stick to their basics. A teacher is loved for his or her way of teaching. One should try to find platforms in which they can expand their own style rather than following a set ‘professional approach’. Content is the key and that should be kept simple and understandable. To make it available for viewers who have poor internet bandwith, one can create a playlist. This will help give a structure to their course and students can download it offline as well.”
Ganesh Pai, the creator of ‘Don’t Memorise’ – a YouTube channel with over 1 million subscriptions suggests, “For YouTube, it is important to have minimalistic content, which is to the point. The theme should be focused and one should be able to explain the concept in a way that anyone can understand.”
He believes that we need to have a mindset shift for online learning. “Digital learning is something that supplements traditional education, however, we have been associating it with screentime and distraction. Look at it as if one has a teacher on call. Most views we get are to understand a topic, to clear concepts and doubts.”
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