G-Suite is on the way, but schools' problems are not over
The Google Workspace provides more options, security and privacy for students and teachers. A separate email ID under the domain of 'kiteschool.in' and a password are given to students and teachers. They join the classes using the new email ID.
'This is safer compared to accessing Google Meet through our personal ID. We don't have to worry anymore about strangers attending our classes,' Gireesh EP, a high school teacher from AVMHS Chunangad, Palakkad, told mathrubhumi.com.
Reports about the misuse of online classes were rampant in the state. The intruders disrupted the classes. Google Workspace is safer as it gives more control to the teacher and also access to more features on the applications.However, the initial setup is a hurdle for many, especially for the veteran teachers. 'I somehow managed to learn to use the Teachmint app during the first lockdown,' a teacher requesting anonymity said. Teachmint is a teaching app, widely used among schools in Kerala.'I haven't learnt G-Suit yet. But I will soon. I have only a few months left in the service. But I never give up. When the government gave us over-the-head-projectors, I learnt to operate it. So was the case with computers. I am using Telegram and WhatsApp for teaching at present,' the 55-year-old teacher said.
During a Google Workspace training course, a teacher asked the trainer what if someone says I am not going to use it? The trainer asked: Do you know what the owners of the cassette, CD shops are doing at present?
Even during the school reopening, access to technology is an issue as the government is planning for shift-based classes.'The government has directed the schools that they must ensure that all students have a machine, be it phone or laptop, to attend the classes before implementing the G-Suit,' a KITE official said. At the beginning of this academic year, the government evaluated that 5 lakh students do not have an electronic device. At present, the number might have halved, they believe. The government has launched various programmes to fill the gap. Schools are also taking initiatives on their own. Apart from gadgets, mobile network coverage and recharging of internet data packages are also major issues. Families with more than one child and with just one smartphone are also struggling.
'I subscribed to an OFC connection recently. I have recharged my phone too. I hope my phone data will be sufficient to air the classes at school. However, I am not sure about it,' a teacher from Palakkad told Mathrubhumi.com. Equipment like tripods is also needed. 'Each class has a laptop . They were distributed as part of the Smart Classroom project of the state government,' the Palakkad teacher said. However, accessing the internet through a laptop would require more data. K-FONE is expected to fill this gap in the future. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said that the project would be completed by December 2021. Though 'hybrid classes' are approved in principle, the state has not decided yet on how to conduct the online classes along with the offline classes. The guidelines for academic activities are not prepared yet.
KITE will continue to air the classes on the Victers channel for the time being.
Classes will be split into batches. When one batch comes to school, the sessions will be aired online, for the students who remain at home. At present, LP schools have a maximum of one hour of online classes per day. It will be increased to 3 hours per day when schools are reopened. As only 10 students are allowed in the class a day, others will have to attend online. Teachers will struggle to decide who shall come to the classes. There are very few students in Kerala who have a machine of their own. Others are attending from the phones of their parents. When parents go to work during the day, students will be left with nothing. At present, most of the classes are held either early in the morning or at night. Things will get worse for the parents who have more than one child.
Disadvantaged students have to be given a priority in offline classes. It may essentially lead to the exclusion of students with gadgets from offline classes. Otherwise, teachers will have to repeat the classes for each shift. In any case, the solution is not easy. As of now, no one has an idea about what they are going to do.