The Rise of The Virtual Teacher – April 2016

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virtual teacher
E-learning concept. Schooldesk and chalkboard on the laptop keyboard. 3d

Virtual Teacher

The skills that an online teacher brings, is becoming increasingly popular in the 21st century. We explore this out of the room education system and what it comprises of

Can you imagine a childhood where we didn’t need to get dressed and go to school every morning and our teacher would just magically pop up on our screens? Home schooling aside, this is the future of the education industry with many teachers now moving to the virtual platform in order to impart knowledge.

WHEN DID IT BEGIN?
Most schools today use internet resources such as online lessons, teacher support and online test or homework systems; however a complete virtual platform came to be much later. The mid 1990’s saw the advent of a fully virtual school. The earlier online schools began in low density populated areas with the aid to make schooling more conventional and a little less expensive. Virtual schools now exist all over the world. Some of these have been integrated into public schools where students can access computers and do their work online. In recent years, India has picked up this trend giving rise to a number of online education portals opening up.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
Most people, teachers included, have a difficult time imagining how a teacher interacts with his or her students in cyber space. However, planning and teaching an online session feels as natural as being in any physical classroom. Any good lesson includes the following essential elements: focus, activation, mini-lesson, guided learning, extension, and assessment. Additionally, you can wait to answer a few queries and doubts that the students may bring to you.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN TASKS OF A VIRTUAL TEACHER?

* To plan, design and incorporate strategies to encourage active learning, interaction, participation and collaboration in the online environment.
* To provide online leadership in a manner that promotes student success through regular feedback, prompt response and clear expectations.
* To develop and deliver assessments, projects and assignments that meet standards-based learning goals and evaluate learning progress by measuring student achievement of learning goals.
* To demonstrate frequent and effective strategies that enable students to complete self- and pre-assessments.

COURSES YOU CAN TAKE UP
* UC Irvine Extension offers an on-demand Virtual Teacher Specialization through Coursera
* The College of Education and Human Development offers The Virtual Instructor Certificate Program (VICP) which is a six-week course delivered completely online.
* The Teacher Foundation provides an internationally accredited online alternative teacher preparation and professional development programme. Examfear.com is a one-stop online platform that provides a complete educational package to students of Class 6 to 12. It covers the subjects Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology. All contents on ExamFear.com are available to students free of cost. More than 4500 video lessons have been created on this portal so far.

Virtual Teacher Roshni Mukherjee
Roshni Mukherjee

who quit her job as a Quality Analyst at Hewlett Packard to work on her venture ExamFear Education, tells us what’s it like to provide online education to students free of cost

WHAT DROVE YOU TO LEAVE YOUR JOB IN AN IT COMPANY AND BECOME A TEACHER? HOW DID THE IDEA TO DEVELOP EXAMFEAR COME UP?
I joined the IT industry after college. My passion for teaching was the key factor behind the start of ExamFear. com. I wanted to teach and reach the masses. Being in the IT industry, I felt that I can make use of the Internet to teach and reach millions of students throughout the world. I started creating ExamFear videos in July 2011. When I had uploaded the first video, I was curious to see the response from viewers. And, the response was awesome! During that time, I came across my house help who often complained that her kids who were studying in a small school in their native town were deprived of quality education and therefore could not clear their exams. This incident touched me and made me think that money is a barrier to a lot of people who cannot afford expensive schools or colleges. I could sense that a lot of organizations which provided quality education was not affordable to many; on the other hand there were affordable organizations which unfortunately could not provide quality education. Therefore, I decided to provide quality education free of cost through my website www.examfear.com. With time, I realized that the number of students using ExamFear.com was increasing. I received numerous emails which showed how people from small towns and villages and poor families are being benefitted with ExamFear. I felt immense pleasure and satisfaction seeing the impact of ExamFear. I finally resigned my job in 2014, and started providing free education through ExamFear.com full time. It took a lot of courage to quit a well settled job, but my determination and my husband’s support moved me on.

WHAT ARE THE MAJOR CHALLENGES YOU FACE BEING A NON-TRADITIONAL TEACHER?
Being an online teacher, I do not get the students response immediately; however the advantage is that I reach millions of students at a time. Time management has been the biggest challenge I have faced so far. Since I had been working for Wipro/ HP when I started ExamFear, it was a tough task to create time for making these videos. I struggled through the initial years spending all my weekends creating ExamFear videos, and a couple of hours at night on the weekdays. However, now that I have resigned my job at HP, I am dedicated to ExamFear, creating videos and trying to make it bigger and better.

WHAT ARE THE TEACHING METHODS ADOPTED ON THE WEBSITE?
The approach I followed in the educational videos is very simple. I always try to explain a concept in simple language taking examples from our day-to-day life. I also make use of pictures and animations as required. I try to give a quick recap of complex concepts so that students can get it clear. Each lesson is followed by some questions/ problems with solutions so that it helps the students to better understand the application of the concepts learnt.
The website has a simple 4-step learning process which provides a complete educational package to students:
* Watch educational video lessons
* Ask your questions
* Refer last minute revision notes
* Take a Test to evaluate yourself

DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS OF EXPANDED YOUR WEBSITE AND YOUTUBE CHANNEL IN THE FUTURE?
The list is huge when it comes to expansion of ExamFear. More videos on different subjects like History, Geography, Economics etc. is the plan now. Videos on English would also be introduced soon. I also plan to get these videos translated in regional languages so that it can bring a huge impact in the lives of thousands of students in the remote areas who are more proficient & comfortable with the regional languages.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT TEACHING ON THE WEB?
Teaching has always been my passion. Teaching on the web is like teaching millions of students throughout the world. There are more than 1.1 lakh subscribers on my YouTube channel. ExamFear.com has benefitted millions of students across the globe. I receive numerous emails which show how people from small towns and villages and poor families are being benefitted with ExamFear. The appreciations from my students and viewers on my YouTube channel keep me motivated to create more and more videos.

Volume 5 Issue 10