Maxis eKelas: Breaking down location barriers
The strides Maxis has made in its eKelas programme are changing the way teachers perform their roles, and the online learning platform we built saw a need for them to acquire new skills and capabilities, digitally. What matters ultimately is the student – how they can fully benefit from digital learning in the era of the Internet. But what does it take for teachers to deliver this?
Taking the example of a typical Live Tutorial session, eKelas teachers communicate and explain lessons via online video streaming made possible through a set up of laptops, monitors, microphones, webcams, smartboard screens and lighting equipment. Students attend sessions physically at their respective Pusat Internet (PI) training rooms, and are able to have a two-way interaction with the teacher via live video conferencing . Teachers flash up notes and highlight points on the screen, as well as conduct experiments while simultaneously watching up to 10 PI on another screen. There are many things to be done within each 40 minute session, which requires special skills. Each teacher is also partnered up with an assistant to help manage the students and coordinate the technical aspect of the lesson delivery.
A teacher and his assistant during a Live Tutorial session
Most of our current eKelas teachers today are young, and come from a diverse background from different industries - each assigned to teach Science, Mathematics or English in the most creative and interesting way they can. Some use music while others use tactics to coach shy students to participate actively during each lesson. They need to be fully alert during lesson deliveries and multitask to manage the time, the students and the technical elements which include coordinating the screen, lighting, microphone and delegating tasks to their assistants. For them to efficiently conduct the session, teachers also need to be digitally-savvy, quick thinking, creative, have vibrant personalities and of course, well-versed in their assigned subjects that they will be able to explain topics within the short learning time, following a specially-designed lesson plan.
Students following the sessions at their respective Pusat Internet around Malaysia
Our eKelas students have responded well to the live tutorial sessions, not just because the topics and lessons are aligned to what they are learning at their respective schools, but also because it is a fun, vibrant learning environment. Moreover, the location is convenient for them – the Pusat Internet is close to their homes, and they are free to attend the sessions after school. The student-teacher interaction allows them to give and receive immediate feedback, and the short but quality sessions are ideal to get them focused. By learning together collaboratively, they learn more effectively.
This is how eKelas is bridging the distance - by bringing teachers and quality content directly to the students, regardless of where they are, leveraging the best of technology and network capabilities. A virtual environment like this provides the possibility for eKelas to be taught to a wider audience and thus, teachers can impact and reach out to more students. Locations no longer matter. Classes are fun, interesting and collaborative which keep students coming back week after week.
As eKelas scales up and expands, we continue to innovate to find newer and better ways to improve the delivery of lessons and have a greater impact on students.