Teachers have been known to be problem solvers and, with online learning the method to the continuation of the education of students during the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Augustine’s College information technology (IT) teacher Dauran McNeil said educators make it happen.
“As educators, we are taught to adapt and utilize an array of methods to teach,” said McNeil of the move from in-person teaching to the virtual platform.
He admitted that online teaching has been a “journey” but he views the experience as just another day in the life of a teacher.
“Teachers have been known to be problem solvers and creators of lemonade out of lemons. We make it happen, even though efforts sometimes may go unnoticed,” said McNeil.
Schools suspended face-to-face learning nationwide on March 16, after the first case of coronavirus in-country was confirmed.
With education having to continue, school officials took their student body learning to the internet utilizing various platforms, which McNeil said is amazing, considering it wasn’t an option available to him during his high school years.
“Can you imagine being introduced to online classes in high school as opposed to university? I certainly could not during my high school years. We are living in the online age and such experiences should be embraced, especially by youth. As an IT teacher, it is my personal philosophy to foster and encourage the use of technology in the lives of each student I have the opportunity of teaching.”
The technology teacher who is proficient in the various platforms and applications says he finds using the online platform to educate, exciting.
“As an online student and a background in technology, it forces you to remain current and up-to-date with the trends in technology.”
With his classes moved online, McNeil continues to teach his regular class schedule, which varies from day-to-day across grades nine through 12.
He says attendance for his virtual classes has been really good.
“I’m proud to say, it’s almost the same as the face-to-face classes,” said McNeil.
And that the lessons are going well and his students are learning.
“I teach information technology, therefore, I am propelled to utilize and explore all means of technology and open applications to enhance the pedagogy and make it the best of the online experience.”
While good, he said the online platform also has its challenges.
“Now, I must admit, when you are using technology, you must always have a backup plan, as there will be challenges. As a result, online learning presents challenges such as low bandwidth and weak internet connection, resulting in interruptions during the online classes. The heavy demand on various learning management system (LMS) and video communication tools may also present delays and interruptions. Therefore, it teaches us, as teachers, students, as well as parents, to have patience.”
The one thing the educator was shocked to learn was the number of students without computing devices, but who he says have the latest mobile devices.
“Ironic enough, the majority of our young people can be seen with the latest mobile phone, which could probably buy two Chromebooks,” said McNeil.
He urged parents to prioritize and get serious about their children’s education. He said the coronavirus experience has shown clearly that education and access to computers must become a necessity in homes before purchasing the latest cellphone.
The first cases of coronavirus were detected in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The United States confirmed its first case on January 21. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a pandemic on January 30.
The Bahamas had 92 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 11 deaths, 26 recovered cases, eight hospitalized cases, 55 active cases and completed 1,500 tests as of yesterday. Worldwide, there were 3,732,046 confirmed cases and 261,517 deaths.