The global COVID-19 pandemic enhanced the reality of hybrid teaching designed a few years ago. The model in which students learn in person and remotely, with digital resources, received a strong boost, due in large part to the impediment of attending face-to-face classes for several months.
An example of a platform that was reinvented during this time is the Adventist Education Network in South America. The data shows that this E-Class platform, consolidated as of March 2020, received at least 777,000 users through November 2021. One of the users was 16-year-old student Andressa Ellen Giolo, who is entering her third year of high school. A student at the Maringá Adventist College, in Paraná, she enjoyed the dynamic and practicality of the platform.
For Andressa, one of the opportunities created within the system developed by Adventist Education for online classes, was that of better organization for the delivery of classroom materials and activities. “It was good, too, for the teachers to put the class slides in one place.” However, she doesn’t deny the fact that the dependence on technology was initially insecure, since everything depended on the platform.
From a Teacher's Perspective
Professor Joélia Cardoso Soares, who teaches students in their third year of Fundamental Education I at the Asa Sul Adventist College, in Brasilia, acknowledged that she had a good experience with the educational tool. In her opinion, "the challenges were great [during] the [start of the] pandemic period, but, on the other hand, E-Class made parents, students, and teachers interact, helping in the teaching and learning process."
The educator also comments that the platform helped with the pedagogical aspect of projects, games, readings, and relevant content. Everything ended up minimizing the effects of distancing and even expanding the possibilities of investigation.
The E-Class platform was developed by Adventist Education some years ago, however, its rapid and emergency implementation benefited not only Brazil; another seven countries joined the model (which uses Spanish as its base language), which led to more than 700,000 active users. There were at least 9.6 million registered classes, 144.7 million student activities, and 1.7 billion page views.
The Director of the Network in South America, Pastor Antonio Marcos Alves, explains that the use of E-Class helped to change an adopted paradigm. According to the educator, during the pandemic, the idea became clearer that the teaching and learning process is not limited to a physical building. “The resources present in the digital environment have been equally important in school development. At the same time, the platform helped update teachers and showed an important path to be traveled. Furthermore, this process brought teachers, parents, and students more opportunities to take advantage of time outside the physical environment ”, highlights the leader.
Alves emphasizes that the idea is that technological tools such as E-Class are maintained and expanded in the future, even though there is now a return to holding educational activities predominantly in person. "We want teachers and students to continue to be active in this digital educational environment, because we know that it is an important resource, especially [useful for] enhancing the effectiveness of the educational process," he says.
For the director of the Network, many of the tasks and actions can be done more quickly, within a digital space. This opens up opportunities to spend more time on training, improvements, and developing new projects.