Can Schools use Zoom for Homebase learning?



Can MOE use zoom to teach?



That has been the question on some parents lips since MOE announced homebase learning for once a week.
Source : MOE

If you have enrolled in enrichment classes, chances are you would have experienced the use of Zoom during the lessons.



What is Zoom?

Zoom is a video communication app that you can download on smartphones and computers. It uses cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, webinars. It is the 'in' tech now that is currently used by most enrichment classes for e-learning. You can even conduct a dance class or Tae Kwan Do lesson via the app!

What are schools using now?
Schools are now using Student Learning Space ( SLS). This was developed by MOE with GovTech to conduct lessons online. Unlike Zoom, it does not have video conferencing capabilities. Students are provided lessons decks to read online and may do an assessment thereafter.


Why use Zoom?

Mimics the classroom environment
Zoom literally brings the classroom home. Classes can be conducted by the teacher in a classroom with the necessary teaching tools such as whiteboards and notes. The students could see the teachers as they do in class and vice versa.

Able to track student's attention
Since teachers can 'see' the students, they can check if they are paying attention or not during lessons.

Real-time interactions
With Zoom, teachers can interact with the students on a real-time basis.

Retention of attention
Students will be able to be more attentive if there is a pair of eyes looking at them. This would also remove the need for parents to stay home with the child to ensure e-learning is completed.


Why not Zoom?

Class size is too big to work
Although Zoom can host up to 100 people in a meeting, to host a class of 40 online is demanding and may not be possible for long periods.  Students may get distracted by others during the lesson and watch their friends instead of the teacher. Unlike tuition centres with about 10 per classes, it would be harder to manage video conferencing in a large group of children.

Not every household has access to a computer or internet connections
Using apps such as zooms assumes that everyone in the household has access to a computer at any one time. For parents with more than one child or parents who work from home and need computers, it would mean the need to share resources.

For SLS, the children have the flexibility to log in at a time convenient for them. For the use of video conferencing, it would be that the teaching period is fixed and this might lead to clashes of schedules among members of the household

Need a quiet spot in the house for lessons.
Not every student has a conducive environment at home for e-learning. In a perfect world, there will be a spot at home for children to have their lessons. However, in reality, not all children have this luxury. Some children may be sharing a room with siblings and parents. Given this scenario, it may not be practical to conduct a video conferencing lesson.

5 hours on Zoom is not practical
2 hours for tuition is one thing,  a full 5 hours of lessons on the computer is not ideal. Furthermore, if the child is taking additional tuition, it will mean more than 7 hours on the computer. Even adults have a problem with attention span, much less with children

Not suitable for younger kids
Zoom may not be a practical tool for lower primary students given their attention spans


What could be done?
Provide subsidise rates for the purchase of computers.
There is already a scheme for low-income family for PC-Bundle that includes Laptop / PC and 3 years broadband services.
You can apply here

As for other families, it would be great if subsidies or student rates be provided for the purchase of laptops/computers as some families might be sharing on one PC. Imagine a family with 4 children taking classes at the same time. Purchasing 4 additional hardware would burn a big hole in the pocket!


Conduct staggered classes. 
Instead, of conducting classes of 40, consider conducting smaller classes of 20 per lessons. The teachers would have to do double duties in this case. To lessen the load, compliment video conferencing with SLS e-learning so the load can be managed more efficiently

Is it necessary?
Lastly, we have to ask ourselves if this is necessary.
If we foresee that learning from home may take up to 3 months or so, it might be necessary to consider utilizing this technology. If it is a one day a week affair, it might be an overkill to fully invest in this for the moment.

To us, it is good to have but not a must at this point.





1 comment:

  1. Pls_Choose_Safe_Video_Conferencing_for_Kids8 April 2020 at 19:20

    What about the security and privacy aspects? Taiwan government, many US schools and other businesses have banned Zoom already.

    ReplyDelete