Fast internet, smart devices, and online meetings and classes now define our notion of “back to school.” This is because the health crisis prompted a sudden paradigm shift to digitization. Further, our sources of knowledge are now mostly online, including updates on COVID-19. For now, highlighted thick textbooks, written notes and assignments, and physical meetings are things of the past. Truly, the educational system here in the Philippines drastically changed, some using the modular scheme while most institutions turning online.
Parents are now more involved, since that is the case. The new learning scheme emphasizes their equal importance in the successful learning of their children. Hence, guardians are keeping closer track of their learning progress, as young learners are bound to stay at home. All the facets of the learning process are another thing to monitor are. These includes technical and quality components. The first three below are the technical ones.
Online classes and the whole learning process in the digital realm will not work without electronic devices. These are the tools or machines used to view, manipulate, analyze, process, download and upload data and information. Nevertheless, it is important for students to have the appropriate devices that will suit their specific school requirements.
Laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones are the most-used devices for online learning. Likewise, they are called smart devices since we can connect them to the internet. These are exactly what are needed, now that learning occurs online.
You cannot expect a child to attend a Zoom or Google Meet meeting if he just has a cellular (i.e. not “smart”) phone. Similarly, he also cannot do research and access online platforms such as the Learning Management System (LMS) using the same device. Guardians should ensure that the right smart devices are available to their children, if they want them to cope up with the new school dynamics.
Likewise, the monitoring process does not end with just having the devices. You should also check if the features of these smart devices are able to meet the needs of your child. For instance, you cannot expect a very low-level processor to handle simultaneous operations of various software and applications. This will be beyond the capacity of such device, causing lags, hanging problems, and even unexpected shutdowns.
Relative to this, the DepEd (Department of Education) issued a memorandum last year, detailing the minimum specs for the smart devices needed for online learning. Some of which are as follows, while the full details can be found at the Teacher PH website:
Laptop for Teachers or Desktop for Students
Processor: 1.6Ghz Based Speed, with Turbo Speed
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Storage: 512 GB HDD SATA
Audio: 6Ω/1W Speaker x 2 Built-in Speakers, 3.5mm standard headphone jack
Camera: Built-in (separate for desktop)
Connectivity: Wireless LAN 802.11 b/g /n/ac, Bluetooth
Power Adapter: Type-C or Standard AC/DC Adapter
HDD Partition: Drive C (system) and Drive D (data)
Processor: Octa-core 2.0 GHz
Memory: 2 GB
Display Size: 6 inches
Type of Display: IPS LCD Display
Display Resolution: 720 x 1520 Pixels
Storage: 32 GB
Camera: Front and Rear
Network: GSM / HSPA / LTE, Wifi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth
SIM: Dual SIM
Interface: Micro USB or Type C, 3.5mm Audio Jack
Operating System: Android 8.1.
Provider of Unlimited and Fast Internet
Fast internet was once considered luxury. But now, it has turned into a need, with almost everything being done online. The same DepEd Memorandum mentioned above sets the minimum internet for online learning. 10 GB bandwidth is the requirement for teachers, while 6 GB bandwidth is for students.
But we and our children do so many more things online, aside from just classes. These can include work, buying and selling, fund management, recreational activities, and so much more. That’s why it has become so easy for us to consume bandwidth–with only our internet speeds becoming the factor determining how fast we are able to do so.
Good news! Now, we have fiber internet connections offering unlimited uploading and downloading. This type of connection will surely meet our regular online-learning and work-from-home requirements such as browsing, videoconferencing, file uploads and downloads, among others. Faster speed is another advantage of fiber internet (compared to the usual broadband that we traditionally have). It allows for faster data transfer. Consequently, our online experience will be more seamless than before with this fast fiber internet.
Streamtech is one of the newest providers of fast internet in the Philippines. It offers affordable fiber internet plans that will meet your home’s needs, including online classes. Its Streamtech Home offers the following:
• fiber internet only, starting from as low as PhP 1,499 for up to 25 Mbps;
• fiber internet plus cable TV, starting from as low as PhP 1,499 for up to 20 Mbps with digital cable bundle; and
• cable TV only, starting from as low as PhP 350 for up to 38 channels (may vary depending on availability on your location).
Other Things Learners Might Do Online because They Have Fast Internet
Nonetheless, success in this new learning scheme does not end with ensuring that our children have the appropriate devices and access to fast internet connection. Most of the time, the many other things done online distract them.
Learners switch tabs to social media.
Social media is the first and foremost distraction of everyone, not only children. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others are just some of the applications easily accessible on all smart devices. Therefore, children can easily switch tabs to check their social media, even if online classes are ongoing. This takes their focus away from the discussions, which may very well lead to less learning, or even none at all. Moreover, there are a lot of bad influences on social media, which your child can adapt if he is always exposed to it.
Hence, checking two things is what parents can do. First, check the contents your children are consuming, commenting on, or sharing. This will give you an idea of the things they see and consume. Second, check the time of their posts or comments. From there, you can track whether they are on social media during online class hours.
Their fast internet can accommodate both gaming and online class at the same time.
A lot of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are now accessible even on smartphones. These games often create in the player a feeling of heightened adrenaline, which is why they can become addicting. Once addiction happens, they might have the tendency to engage in these online games even during online classes. Skipping classes just to play these games is the worst case, as the current online-learning setup cannot compel students to be physically present. More importantly, many adult players who participate in these MMORPGs—and are thus interacting with your children—use foul language. Their exposure to such bad language might lead to them using it as well. Consequently, parents should explain to their children that classes and learning are the priorities over these games, and ensure that this is the case.
World Wide Web, paired with fast internet, enables them to browse endlessly.
The plethora of things that available for browsing online is another distraction, which is possible, given you have fast internet connection. These can include shopping for goods and services, news (both real and fake), and even showbiz rumors and hearsays. A whole lot of them can still be harmful to your child, even if some of them can be factual and informative. Thus, parents should regularly check the browsing history of their children. This is to monitor what they are consuming online, which can be reflective of their interests. These will also give you insights on how to guide your children, if ever they have been browsing unsavory things.
Chatting is their means of connection nowadays.
Evidently, children talk a lot with each other, be it school-related or just sharing stories with each other. Right now, chat is their mode of communication online. That’s why it is also important to check the chat history of your children, just like the browsing history. You will then see who they talk to, what they talk about, and how they talk with others. Parents can also monitor time, to see if they are chit-chatting during class hours.
Quality Components of Online Experience
The quality of online experience of learners is equally important and contributes to the success of his online learning. Hence, it is important to check them as well.
The online community is prone to the use of bad language.
As previously mentioned, bad language is very prominent online, most especially in gaming. Therefore, it significant to ensure that they use appropriate language, not just your child but also his teachers, classmates, playmates, and everyone he interacts with. Checking the type of language used online will enable parents to analyze how they can maximize the potential of the children’s learning, and at the same time mold them into being good individuals.
Sharing media has never been this easy.
Another thing, media, in the form of photos, videos, and music, play a significant role in child’s learning, just like language. Thus, parents should check if the media being consumed by their children are appropriate for their age. The visual and auditory data people consume are more often the ones our minds retain. Hence, parents should also ensure that their children do not engage into sites that show vulgar or morbid content, for example. These could later affect their preferences and decision-making.
With fast internet, they have more time online.
Indeed, having fast internet will most probably result in more time spent online. However, it is important to measure how long in total, and per application, has your child been online. How long does your child’s online class run? Is his time spent online commensurate to his class hours? What are the specific apps or software that your child spends time on the most? There are a lot of applications and software parents can download and install to check their children’s time spent online. Also, some smartphones have built-in features that will automatically tell you how long you have been using different apps. Even some apps themselves, like Facebook and Instagram, have features that will tell you the same metric. Checking the online time of your children will let you know which specific apps he is accessing. Then, you will have an idea of what activities he is doing.
Likewise, and as significant, you will know if your child has been exposed to computer-screen radiation for so long. Of course, physical and mental health are still top priorities in this new learning regime. So, monitoring children’s online time will enable you timely remind them to have a break.
Parents’ Guide is Key to a Child’s Successful Online Learning
Consequently, this whole new online system of learning will work best if parents do their part. Just like seeing your child grow, observing and monitoring the important things surrounding his online learning is a role of the parents. Having the right smart devices and fast internet connection are utmost needs. But, analyzing various activities done online, as well as the quality of the learners’ online experience, are non-negotiables.
Now more than ever, the saying “parents are the first teachers” is, indeed, becoming both literally and figuratively true.