From the conventional chalk and talk, teachers graduated to KineMaster, a video app, as schools had to switch to online classes due to the Covid-19 lockdown. They also familiarized themselves with other apps and tools like comica, tweenscraft and chatterpix. In the process, they acquired the skills to record video lectures and other forms of online tutorials.
Six months of Covid-19 pandemic saw teachers like Sehba Jamal, 44, an assistant teacher at the primary English medium school at Rajpura block in Meerut, and others embrace technology to continue their work without any physical interaction with students.
“It was like joining the nursery section of basic technical education,” a teacher remarked.
Despite her husband opposing video lectures and online classes, Sehba Jamal, a Hindi teacher, continued to arm herself with new technology. Her daughters came to her rescue and supported her in her quest to becoming ‘technologically literate’.
“My daughters, Muskan (18) and Insha (17), helped me learn how to conduct an online class and various aspects of it. My colleague, Yatika Pundhir, also helped me in designing an online class module,” Sehba said.
With support from her daughters and colleagues, the Hindi teacher now feels confident of conducting online classes and even makes and edits videos on the phone.
Sehba Jamal and other teachers are using apps to make the online sessions enjoyable.
While teachers in rural UP face many problems, the journey was not easy for those in Lucknow and other towns either. They too struggled to come to terms with new technology for classes. Kamal Kumar, who teaches mathematics at St Anjani’s Public School, Rajajipuram, recounts his IT nightmare.
“It was a challenge for me because I am not technology savvy. I had no idea when and how to begin. I had neither studied computers as a subject in school nor at the college level. I started getting panic attacks, lost my appetite and became extremely irritable,” he said.
However, his wife’s sister, an IT professional, made things simpler for him. With renewed confidence, Kumar created a tripod stand with old boxes to hold his cell phone in order to make video tutorials.
Meena Lobo, a teacher with La Martiniere Girls’ College, Lucknow, who kept technology at an arm’s length and used her phone only to make calls in the pre-Covid days, had to suddenly face the challenge of conducting online classes.
“I was not sure how I would even understand technology. Before starting, I would always be very nervous. I was in tears once. But I learnt something new every time and felt very happy. I became a student, asked questions till I would understand and kept learning new things slowly,” she said.
“I felt excited like a nursery child who had learnt to read and write for the first time,” said Lobo, a science teacher. After a few training sessions and some demo classes, she became confident of working on Microsoft Teams.