In exactly a year ago, we experienced empty streets, closed shops and light traffic in Singapore due to the circuit breaker. And during that time, the educational landscape has been drastically transformed by the systematic adoption of online learning, which has posed many new challenges to not only teachers and students but parents, too.
Parents were expected to take on a new role, to become teachers, as schools were closed and many of them were encouraged to facilitate home-based learning for their children. Learning from that experience, we have found that the success of home-based learning is determined by these four pillars: space, device availability, internet speed, and parental skills.
Let us further explore these pillars that helped in creating a positive and effective learning experience for children:
During the first few attempts of home-based learning, parents may be taken aback by the fact that their homey and comfortable space is abruptly transformed into a strange and altogether misaligned environment that feels inadequate for learning. Well, this is completely normal as your home has always been associated with rest and relaxation. One way to go about this is by creating defined spaces in your home to create healthy boundaries.
You can start by rearranging the space in your home; find a suitable area to set up a home study station for your little one. To aid your child’s concentration, it is crucial to keep the space free from clutter and other distractions. Furthermore, this may be often neglected but adequate lighting is imperative in ensuring effective learning. Perhaps as you construct a learning nook for your kid, you can also take it as an opportunity to declutter things that are collecting dust in your home.
Home-based learning has put a strain on scarce resources in households where multiple members of the family share a laptop or desktop computer. In some cases, parents will have to accommodate their child’s learning schedule and work longer hours to meet their work-related deadlines if they share devices with their children. As much as mobile devices offer connectivity, most educational platforms require the use of laptops or computers. Meaning to say, in order to be fully equipped for home-based learning, your child will need to have the right devices.
As many people have resolved to digital solutions during COVID-19, global internet speeds have slowed down. This was especially challenging for household internet users. When everyone was at home and online at the same time, accessing video and audio while engaging in synchronous live chats, Wi-Fi speeds that used to support the entire family without glitches suddenly crawled.
To avoid compromised internet speeds during your child’s learning hours, consider upgrading your home’s internet speed depending on the number of devices being used every day. For three to five devices in a household, 50 to 100 Mbps is recommended to ensure that the Wi-Fi speed is able to support you and your child’s home-based learning activities.
Admittedly, while Singapore does not have a significant digital access divide due to high Internet penetration rates, a digital skills divide does exist, however. Some parents will find themselves to be more technologically proficient than others but it is important for parents to become digitally literate today. Imagine this: Your child comes to you for help when they encounter digital challenges but you are unsure yourself, what are you going to do? So, consider picking up the basics of digital literacy; it will help to enhance the overall learning-from-home experience for both parents and the child.
Despite these difficulties that inevitably come with home-based learning, there are numerous advantages to home-based learning that parents can and have gained. For starters, parents develop greater gratitude for their children’s educational experiences. Secondly, parents got to spend more quality time with their kids which fostered greater connection, communication, understanding and respect between them. Last but not least, home-based learning encouraged parents and children to learn the ins and outs of technology together, thereby facilitating shared media use and familial bonding.
All in all, the pandemic has shown us just how important it is to go digital, be digitally literate, and equip ourselves with the necessary devices. Studying no longer translates to just needing a book and a pen anymore. Now, although the children are back to school, there is no harm in giving these tips a second look to see what are some of the aspects that you can still improve on because we all know that the pandemic is not going away anytime soon!
If you have any thoughts and experiences to share, submit a comment below!
Source: Channel News Asia