Parents appeal for greater guidance with online learning

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By Machela Osagboro

Parents and teachers are giving mixed reviews regarding online lessons during schools’ forced hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Some mothers have reported that teaching material is yet to appear on the relevant e-learning platforms, more than a week after schools closed.

One told Observer that she had received the password, username and email address on Monday. However, she said she has received sparse guidance thereafter.

“Very little instruction is being given. I received information for four subjects. They said he should study English, Social Studies, Math and Bible studies, but nothing else,” said one mother. She said she is patiently waiting for more instruction and material to be uploaded.

Another mother said she has been trying to access the website to no avail.

“I am very frustrated…. Right now the school is asking me to pay school fees when my child hasn’t been getting any work and I don’t know what to do. We don’t know when school will reopen and what my child is supposed to do,” she chided.

Teachers from various schools spoke with Observer and offered advice for parents.

“They go to the Google Classroom platform, log in with school-issued email and the temporary password and then they would see the classes they have been added to,” explained Kathlyn Cornwall, fifth form level head at Clare Hall secondary school.

“If they are not added to the classroom they can go to the school’s website and locate the code for the particular classes they are in and add themselves to the classrooms.”

Joselyn Christmas, grade six teacher at St John’s Lutheran Primary School, said she has been using the online mode of learning for a while and the students are very adept at accessing information via the platform. She added that they even submit assignments and do video conferencing via Google Hangouts.

Another secondary school teacher, Rosa Ladoo, chief technical officer at Antigua Grammar School, said her students have been using Edmodo for years and are well adapted to it. Therefore, the transition has been a smooth one. 

Kimdale Mackellar, of All Saint’s Secondary School reported that, as of Monday, “we are actually in the process of setting up our Google Platform and we are using the e-books as much as we are able to.” He added that students are now using WhatsApp and podcasting for music classes. 

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