The teachers adopted KineMaster, a video app, from the traditional chalk and conventional conversation, as schools had to switch to online classes due to the Covid-19 lockdown. They also got familiar with other apps and tools like Comica, Tweenscraft, and Chatterpix. In doing so, they acquired the ability to record video lectures and other forms of online tutorials.
Six months after the Covid-19 pandemic, teachers like Sehba Jamal, 44, an assistant teacher at the elementary school of English on the Rajpura block in Meerut, and others saw the technology to continue their work without physical interaction with students.
“It was like entering kindergarten for basic technical education,” remarked one teacher.
Although her husband spoke out against video lectures and online courses, Sehba Jamal, a Hindi teacher, continued to equip herself with new technologies. Her daughters came to her rescue and supported her in her pursuit of “technological competence”.
“My daughters Muskan (18) and Insha (17) helped me learn how to take an online course and various aspects of it. My colleague Yatika Pundhir also helped me design an online class module, ”said Sehba.
With the support of her daughters and colleagues, the Hindi teacher is now confident of running online courses and even creating and editing videos over the phone.
Sehba Jamal and other teachers use apps to make the online sessions enjoyable.
While teachers in rural UP face many problems, the journey has not been easy for those in Lucknow and other cities either. They too struggled to come to terms with new technologies for teaching. Kamal Kumar, who teaches math at St. Anjani Public School in Rajajipuram, tells of his IT nightmare.
“It was a challenge for me because I’m not tech-savvy. I had no idea when or how to start. I hadn’t studied computers at school or college. I got panic attacks, lost my appetite, and became extremely irritable, ”he said.
However, his wife’s sister, an IT specialist, made it easier for him. With renewed confidence, Kumar created a tripod stand with old boxes to hold his cellphone and make video tutorials.
Meena Lobo, a teacher at La Martiniere Girls’ College in Lucknow who kept technology at bay and only used her phone to make calls in the days before Covid, suddenly faced the challenge of running online courses.
“I wasn’t sure how I would even understand technology. Before I started, I was always very nervous. I was in tears once. But I learned something new every time and was very happy. I became a student, asked questions until I understood them, and slowly learned new things, ”she said.
“I was excited like a kindergarten kid who had first learned to read and write,” said Lobo, a science teacher. After some training and a few demo courses, she felt confident working in Microsoft teams.