The current coronavirus pandemic has put the entire Hong Kong Education system online, a move nobody had ever anticipated till now. An unprecedented number of students use online classrooms to learn everyday. Did it work?
Recently, some videos have cropped up on the internet, telling us what it is like to study online at home. With young children at home, it seems to me that the staying-home parent is the key role to make sure that online learning is possible, setting up the network, trouble-shooting, monitoring whether or not students are paying attention, and providing emotional support when children got restless.
There are also videos showing us how teachers use online tools to conduct lessons. Popular online learning platforms are Google Meet and Zoom. I wonder what happened to the good old Skype. I occasionally have Skype Chinese lessons. For me, the limitation, and a huge drawback, of Skype lessons is that it does not allow some highly interactive class activities, such as playing a word-card game. Neither Google Meet or Zoom can work around this limitation.
So far, I have not seen any videos documenting from students’ point of view on how successful their online learning is. But the recent news shed some light.
On March 11, after six weeks of closure, some Hong Kong public libraries finally re-opened, although only partially with limited services and with shortened service hours. Moreover, admissions are controlled. Each session lasts for only one hour, and only a limited number of people are allowed to enter the library. And body temperature is checked upon entry. But all these measures did not stop people from queuing up to get into the library!
From the evening news I watched, the reporter interviewed some people who were waiting to get in the library. One of them was a student. He said that he came to borrow some comic books because he was so bored at home taking online lessons, day after day, week after week.