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TEST YOURSELF: Learning goes online

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The Covid-19 crisis has students studying in virtual classrooms

Test Yourself is where you can improve your reading skills. Whether it’s for tests like University Entrance Exams or IELTS and TOEFL, or even just for fun, these stories help you to read, understand and improve your English.

You can download a PDF of this story to be used in class or at home. Click the link below.

Read the following story by Pattarawadee Saengmanee from the Bangkok Post. Then, answer the questions that follow.

Chulalongkorn University freshman Karanchai Chaisiripong has turned his home into a classroom for distance learning programmes.

"We use the internet, smartphone and computer in daily life, so there's no problem studying online. The country is in a crisis but we have to continue our studies until May. Nowadays, there is multimedia technology to facilitate teleconferencing and online educational programmes," Karanchai said.

GO ONLINE

To contain the Covid-19 spread, entertainment venues, shopping malls, fitness centres and cinemas around Bangkok were closed and many universities and schools shifted their classes to online platforms beginning in mid-February. Educational institutions around the world have undergone similar shifts in approach.

"I understand that this is the way to help reduce the risk of the Covid-19 infections. People should stay home, while most of my friends returned to their homes in the countryside. Everyone panics but we will get through this emergency together," Karanchai said.

Distance learning has been modernised in the digital era. Many leading tech firms have developed a wide range of easy-to-use applications for mobile phones and laptops such as Zoom Cloud Meetings, Blackboard, Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams, making them popular educational options during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Starting last Monday, part-time teacher Lerpong Amsa-ngiam has used Zoom to conduct classes in English for communication, experiential English and essay writing for students of Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok University and King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang.

There are some 30 to 40 students in each session, which takes almost three hours. In this virtual classroom, Lerpong can share content through PowerPoint presentations, while students can interact with him in real time.

"My students and I usually communicate via a private Facebook group. It's very convenient for everyone to learn from a mobile phone or computer. Distance learning programmes help save time to travel from home to university as we have to give priority to students' health and safety," Lerpong said.

"Other professors and I notice that students are more focused and attend the lectures on time. They have fun learning new experiences. With advanced technology, I can show PowerPoint slides from my computer and all students can see everything like they're sitting alongside me.

"All students open the webcam so that I can check what they are doing. They can chat to me both in a private or public platform in case they have some questions. We can do everything in real time like we're in an actual classroom."

VIDEO TESTS

Depending on disciplines and responsibilities when everything goes to online platforms, students will make a video clip for their English-speaking exams while spending two hours finishing the written test.

"I love this application because it can create a video clip while I'm teaching. After a class, I will post it on the Facebook group so that students can play it and review the lessons anytime," Lerpong added.

"During the Covid-19 crisis, teachers around the world are sharing their techniques on YouTube. Distance-learning programmes might not be best with a science course that students need to learn in a laboratory. So they will be assigned to do a project instead. We need to adapt ourselves to the situation."

After studying online for a week, Karanchai found that the online learning programmes can help his classmates boost self-confidence. Students aren't shy to ask questions in a chat room when they don't understand.

"The applications come with fun features and emoticons that we can use to raise our hands when having something to say or express our feelings. We can also chat both on personal or public platforms, in which teachers and friends will respond quickly. It's good for shy people to make inquiries behind a keyboard because they often sit mute in the real classroom," Karanchai said.

Section 1: Are the following statements true or false?

1. Karanchai is in his first year of university. .…………….

2. Some schools started distance learning in February. …………….

3. Lerpong uses Zoom to teach at four universities. …………….

4. Students are less focused in online classes. …………….

5. Karanchai adds videos to his Facebook group page. …………..

6. Lerpong says students are less shy online. …………….

7. Distance learning for science includes laboratory work. ……………. 

8. Karanchai says some students are silent in real classes. …………….

Section 2: Write the noun form of the following words in the space provided.

9. closed ……… 10. understand ……… 11. developed ………. 12. communicate ………. 13. assigned ……….

Section 3: Read the following passage. Then, fill in the blanks with the correct words from the choices given.

To be part of the home isolation …14…, office worker Wissanun Ema-Amorn sets up a corner to work from home. …15… doing so, her 10-year-old daughter sits in front of a computer to …16… lessons from 8am to 3pm. The school has …17… its own e-Learning programme using Google Classroom as a major media …18… to connect all students with teachers. …19… Wissanun, each class takes 50 minutes and teachers give students new assignments every day.

14. A. band  B. bandwagon C. trending

15. A. But B. While C. To

16  A. give B. taken C. take

17. A. designed B. design C. designer

18. A. place B. platform  C. area 

19. A. According to B. Furthermore C. Moreover

Section 4: Find words that match the following definitions.

20. using computers to hold discussions between people in different places ……………

21. small changes ……………

22. a type of computer program your are using ……………

23. a piece of planned work or an activity  ……………

24. not comfortable meeting or talking to people …………

Answers: 1.true. 2.true. 3.false. 4.false. 5.false. 6.false. 7.false. 8.true. 

9. closure. 10. understanding. 11. developer/development. 12. communication. 13. assignment.

14. b. 15. b. 16. c. 17.a. 18. b. 19. a. 

20. teleconferencing. 21. shifts. 22. platform. 23. project. 24. shy.

SCORE 21-24: Excellent! 17-20: Good.   13-16: Fair.   12 or fewer: You'll do better next time!

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