We celebrated World Teachers’ Day on 05 October 2020 with Globe’s ‘Forefront: The 2020 national conference on digital learning’.
‘Forefront is a platform enabling educators and academic institutions from all over the country to come together to exchange views on a variety of issues pertaining to new modalities of remote teaching and learning,’ said Globe Chief Commercial Officer Albert de Larrazabal. With the rise of discussions on tech integration and learning innovation, de Larrazabal emphasised the role of educators to ‘change the education landscape and prepare the school ecosystem to transform and be introduced to the growing knowledge of digital learning and educational technology in 21st century learning and teaching.’
Graham Stanley, our English for Education Systems Lead for Americas, presented strategies for digital education. He cited the results of global surveys conducted by the British Council in examining what has worked, and what is still needed for effective digital learning and teaching to take place when distance education is the only option. He also presented guidelines for teachers in shifting to remote teaching, integrating technology in the classroom and ensuring safety and security of learners.
Talking about having a human-centred experience in virtual classrooms, he highlighted the importance of using cameras. ‘The more that teachers can encourage students and the more that teachers can use their cameras, the more human the experience is,’ Graham explained. ‘If that is problematic, at least get the students who are speaking to turn the cameras on or [invite them to] turn the cameras on at the beginning and the end of the class.’
Graham also encouraged teachers to consider ‘flipping the classroom’ where students interact with new learning materials independently before coming to class.
‘Some of the things that you would normally do in the face-to-face classroom, rather than try to encourage students to spend a lot of time silently reading things… during synchronous classroom online, there are things that students, such as reading, can do on their own before the class,’ said Graham.
We collaborated again with Globe in a follow-up session on 19 November. Focusing on assessments in the digital classroom, the E-skwela webinar featured two international speakers from the recently concluded ‘New directions in English language assessment conference’.
Cara Phillips from Toyo University, Japan shared the results of her study that examined her students’ progress and performance in the context of group versus individual work. The results from the online delivery of the course in 2020 were compared with the results in the previous years which were taught in traditional classrooms.
Comparing the responses from the 2020 class with those from 2018 and 2019, there are ‘notable differences regarding the perceived difficulty level of the course,’ Cara explained. ‘A lot more of the…[online] class participants [in 2020] said that the course was difficult…more so than the two traditional classes [in 2018 and 2019].’ Nonetheless, Cara saw no major differences in the grades of her students.
Dr Ferit Kılıçkaya from Mehmet Akif Ersoy University in Turkey spoke about opportunities and challenges in assessment activities in digital classrooms. He presented strategies to ensure academic integrity in online exams and assignments, especially now that concerns on academic dishonesty has grown due to more remote and asynchronous activities.
'Asynchronous learning is a student-centered teaching method widely used in online learning. Its basic premise is that learning can occur in different times and spaces particular to each learner, as opposed to synchronous learning at a same time and place with groups of learners and their instructor, or one learner and their instructor. In asynchronous learning, instructors usually set up a learning path, which students engage with at their own pace.'
Bryn Mawr College
In his talk, Dr Ferit shared that ‘despite various precautions, no exam or assignment can be secure forms of assessment.’ To minimise academic misconduct, he raised several suggestions such as being flexible with late submissions, focusing on the process and regular feedback instead of the final output and multiple draft assignments.
This series of virtual conferences is part of Globe myBusiness’s thrust to equip education practitioners and institutions in the Philippines with tools and knowledge to effectively shift to online learning.
Through local and international best practices and case studies, Filipino educators can improve learning delivery, online teaching methodologies and distance education across different disciplines.
The webinar series forms part of the British Council’s initiative to support flexible learning in the Philippines. Earlier this year, we partnered with the Commission on Higher Education for PHL CHED Connect, an online platform of educational resources to support continuous learning of students and teachers.