Tips for your continuing online education
Historically speaking, the world has entered the digital age back in the latter half of the 20th century, as economies shifted from traditional industries to those based on information technology. Although various e-learning modes have been in use, traditional classroom setups and educational systems have remained all across the globe—that is, until government restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus were put in place.
Whether you’ll be attending asynchronous learning classes on your own or synchronous classes through webinars and video calls with your teachers and school friends, here are six basic things you’ll need for e-learning—based on my personal experiences and insights from friends here and abroad on how they’ve been dealing with online classes.
1. Digital Storage Space (Time to filter out the bad stuff)
Whether you’re on your phone, tablet, or laptop, you’ll definitely want to delete unnecessary files, applications, and games. Applications and games take up a lot of storage on your devices, they slow down your gadgets in video calls, and they also serve as a big distraction while you’re in class.
Getting distracted by a Call of Duty or an Instagram notification is the worst while trying to answer a teacher for a graded recitation.
2. A Dedicated Study Area #DoNotDisturb
Dedicated study areas are very essential in learning online. Based on the experiences of high school and college students abroad who have shifted to e-learning earlier this year, your ability to understand lessons highly depend on the environment you work in. Make sure that the place you choose, whether inside or outside your home, should be conducive to learning.
It’d also be helpful to plan things out with your housemates and family members, to help you dedicate a space of your home for study, so you can strategize on how to manage tasks and be functional without conflicts.
3. Natural light, but a ring light works too...
That’s right. Get the feel of being a YouTube vlogger while on your Zoom classes. It’s not because you’ll be doing mukbangs and makeup tutorials on camera, but because lighting is really important. The natural light seen by our eyes engages a system that affects our body clock, enhances cognitive performance, and promotes the production of cortisol hormones that make us more alert.
Studying next to a window, out in a garden, or maybe on a rooftop would be great. But if it’s too hot or there isn’t much natural light entering your room, an artificial light source would be better, compared to working in a dark place.
4. A mirror, for a professional kind of vanity
Yes. A mirror is essential for e-learning. I’ve had countless experiences shared by foreign friends who have been studying through online classes since last year, where they were made fun of by classmates or had their attention called on by their professors because of how they appeared online. Universities and other educational institutions vary in their strictness toward dress codes and video call guidelines. It’d be really helpful, however, to have a mirror during classes to make sure you always look presentable.
One thing about home-based learning is the lack of human interaction for students (and professionals of all ages) with peers and workmates. This is quite alarming, and countries reverting back to their normal are struggling in this aspect. By making sure you’re presentable, you still simulate the idea of going to an actual office or school, which trains you for the future.
It’s safe to say that being vain by making sure you look presentable doesn’t only save you from looking silly during online class or work, but also trains you to be professional even virtually and can even improve your performance in class.
5. Caffeine—but not too much
Staying up all night for a Netflix binge-watch session with friends and family is way easier than keeping your focus in your bedroom trying to learn a new theory that is usually tackled in an interactive classroom in a regular school setup. A cup of warm coffee to accompany your paperwork would definitely drive you to go that extra distance in e-learning even if the rainy weather outside makes you want to crawl back to bed. Some soft drinks and energy drinks, with moderation, are also recommended to get the most output in a short amount of time.
Caffeine does help in keeping us alert and awake, as long as we take just the right amount of it. Prior to the pandemic, I’ve met people who have suffered severe palpitations due to coffee overdoses just to pull off an all-nighter to complete requirements in the university. We wouldn’t want that to happen.
6. The OG school gadgets—Back2Basics
You can own a CPU with the best processing power, or have the latest iPhone and Android applications to organize everything for you by voice command. It is still important, however, to have a traditional pen or pencil, and a ton of notebooks and scratch paper. Scientists still agree with your lolas when they say, “Writing it down will make you remember things more than just typing it on your cellphone.”
Wouldn’t there be times when you would just wonder why your penmanship sucks, and then you realize you haven’t written anything down for a couple of months because you had a summer vacation? Writing things down improves your muscle memory and also helps you remember the lessons being taught.
Even if we’ve gone all digital in learning, we still need to go back to the OG school gadgets like pens and notebooks, because they still serve as the best learning method to date.
There you have it. Six basic things to get you through online learning. There are probably gajillion more things that can help, but I guess those really depend on your courses, strands, and even year levels.