Co-founder and CEO of social learning resource EduFocal Limited, Gordon Swaby, has argued that once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, teaching and learning will look very different to the format with which we have become accustomed.
In a recent interview, the young entrepreneur said a blended approach, coupling face-to-face conatct with online resources will become the new normal.
“The blended approach of online and traditional learning allows us to engage and educate all students, even those who learn differently, through targeted creative social online resources. With the blended approach, I foresee the integration of traditional learning in a classroom setting with students learning online.
“This approach can facilitate distance learning at least two days weekly …Students can forego the commute to school and receive their lessons digitally. This advent will have a positive effect on the environment, lessening traffic and emissions, and ultimately our [Jamaica’s] carbon footprint,” he said.
EduFocal has, since March 13 when schools shifted from traditional modes of teaching as a result of the threat of COVID-19, been offering free access to its resources for students in grades four through six preparing for Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations. Approximately 30,000 students signed up during the initial 14-day government-mandated school closure.
EduFocal has since extended its offering through to the end of April, when schools are expected to reopen. This, with support from corporate partners such as Wisynco Group Limited and its associated brands Tru-Juice and JP St Mary’s as well as Sagicor Foundation and the National Baking Company Foundation.
“Technology can complement traditional methods,” Swaby argued. “For one, it allows for faster assessment of our children. What takes teachers weeks or months to discover about the learning challenges of a child in traditional classrooms can be achieved in a vastly shorter time using technology.
“Traditional classrooms are necessary, but with Gen Z kids having a natural knack for technology, which is the new norm, we have seen a high success rate in the testing of our [EduFocal] children. My suggestion is to test the theory in a practical way through at least one physical learning institution. From there, further assessments, recommendations, and actions can be taken before broader implementation at the national level.”
Swaby said the company has had to hire more teachers to meet the demand for online learning in the face of COVID-19, which has been met with positive feedback from subscribers from rural preparatory and primary schools that now have access to highly trained teachers via the website’s new EduFocal L!VE classes.
“As corporate citizens, we felt it was our duty to provide additional resources to Jamaican students at this critical time. EduFocal L!VE highlights the need for a multifaceted approach in how students are taught to support the traditional approach. The blended approach is the first step to acknowledging our need to incorporate digital resources within our school systems,” said Swaby.
The EduFocal L!VE weekly class schedule may be accessed via www.edufocal.com.
Source: The Jamaica Observer