As the Education Ministry scrambles to establish distance learning via virtual tools for long-term school closures, some teachers and pupils in Greece are trying to adapt to the new normal of instruction in the face of the public health emergency.
With schools to remain closed until April 10 according to latest ministry announcements, Keratsini primary school teacher Marios Mazaris, west of the capital, has relied on the Viber instant messaging application to reach out to his pupils.
“Most of the kids have their own cell phone these days. A group was quickly set up around a set of key rules, such as no selfies, always speaking politely to each other and trying to stick to our daily meeting time,” Mazaris says. “Some courses cannot be possibly taught online, but Greek language, math, geography and history can.”
His online class starts every day at 10 a.m. Pupils react via emojis and emoticons and share images of their homework. Mazaris makes sure to upload the day’s curriculum on his personal blog for those who miss classes.
“The time goes by very quickly,” he says. “When class is over, I feel a bit more useful.”