Distance learning during quarantine: twelve years old school kid shows how to use ,,Discord’’ platform

The world has been hit by a coronavirus pandemic: during this period more than 200 thousands people were infected in 95 different countries and territories worldwide. Although danger of the virus is already fading away in China, in Europe the pandemic is only gaining momentum. Educational institutions are closing down in many countries and companies are encouraged to use remote access while working.

The Government of the Republic of Lithuania has decided to prevent the virus from spreading as soon as possible: since 16 of March, the country will be in quarantine for two weeks at least.

This decision brought up many questions for the education community: how to ensure uninterrupted distance learning. Educators and parents offered a variety of solutions, some of them offered ,,Messenger’’ programme as a solution for a distance learning. However, the idea of twelve- year- old Simonas Savickis to create a virtual classes on the ,,Discord” platform caught the most attention.

Possibility to create a virtual class with 50 people

In a ,,Youtube’’ video, which was made per one night the pupil says that ,,Facebook’’ has far fewer features and capabilities than an online gaming platform ,,Discord’’. ,, I talked with other kids during the live broadcast and they also agreed that ,,Messenger’’ is not the best option, so I started looking for the right one. Whereas teachers can justify not being able to use it properly, I thought I’d show you how to do it. After all, they have learnt how to use ,,Messenger’’ so they can do the same with ,,Discord’’. If there will be any need, I could create one more video with additional explanations’’, said a sixth-grade pupil Simonas.

According to Simonas, one of the benefits of ,,Discord’’ on the server is the ability to create a virtual classroom with up to 50 people. This platform allows to enter video chat for a large number of people, meaning that the quality of learning can remain the same as at school. Furthermore there is the possibility of assigning certain roles to teacher: teachers- teachers, pupils- pupil.

This is not the only one sixth-grade boy’s idea for Lithuania

The pupil’s mother, Simona Simulytė, told more about her son’s hobbies of creating projects through social innovation. It turned out to be not the first Simonas social project. One of his projects won ,,Lietuvos Junior Achievement”. The woman, who is raising a sixth-grade son, did not hide the fact that environment played a huge role in Simonas’ life, as she herself works on social innovation, startups and entrepreneurship education. She is founder and CEO of “ChangeMakers’ON” — it’s community of social innovators.

The woman emphasized that she noticed her son’s inclination and ability to create things from an early age, although his two main hobbies are quite different. ,, From an early age, Simonas is attracted to technology and music. At the age of six, he programmed his first calculator and after discovering various systems, began to learn himself and teach others’’, Simona said. Sixth- grade boy’s mother said that new ideas, solutions and the exchange of the latest news are constantly happening in their home.

Actualities about coronavirus

China, which became the focal point of coronavirus last December, is now likely to breathe more easily. According to the latest data from the National Health Commission (NHC), only 20 new cases were reported in China on lats Saturday. However, the virus continues to spread actively across Europe. When the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Europe as the new epicenter of the coronavirus, many countries have closed their boarders, including Lithuania, although the possibility for Lithuanian citizens to return to the country is still available.

Currently confirmed cases there are more than 100 in Lithuania. Restrictions on the public and private sectors are being implemented in Lithuania, the number of boarder posts are being reduced and many other security measures are being performed. Most questionable thing, however seems to be about stopping education process. Currently, the government are obliging institutions to organize the work of educational institutions remotely.

,,We have taken these measures immediately to counter possible threats to the new coronavirus. The need for this solution now is illustrated by examples from other countries, where it may be too late. I believe that modern technology will do a great job of keeping the educational process going, if necessary. Let’s protect ourselves and others” says Minister Aurelijus Veryga. If you notice any sign of a virus, immediately contact the newly established coronavirus hotline –1808.

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