E-learning in Greece during the pandemic
COVID-19 has resulted in schools shut all across the world. The education system had to pass into a digital era suddenly in order to ensure a continuity in education. The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs (MofERA) in Greece tried to respond to the challenge of school closures by launching digital tools that enabled distance learning. They mobilized pre-existing digital resources, such as online libraries of digital textbooks, digital lesson plans and introduced new digital platforms for synchronous online teaching, initially for the upper secondary students and schools in regions first affected by closures.
Specifically, from the beginning of pandemic teachers had at their disposal a variety of tools such as the Interactive School Books, the Digital Educational Material (“Fotodentro”) and the Advanced Electronic Scenarios (“Aesop”) organized by educational level, course etc. The digital asynchronous platforms “e-class” and “eme” were also offered and used for e-learning courses, while students had the opportunity to follow “Open Classes” posted in the platforms by their teachers without prior registration. Public TV also supported distance learning by broadcasting educational programs for primary school students. As far as synchronous e-learning is concerned during the first lockdown teachers of public schools mainly used Webex and in case technical problems occurred they used Skype, Zoom, Blackboard and Microsoft Teams instead. Some private schools paid for the use of non-free platforms like the blackboard to ensure that students don’t miss online courses. The second year of the pandemic all schools used the Webex platform.
Although, teachers used the online tools they had at their disposal they were not trained with view to develop their digital skills and to be informed about internet safety and the protection of personal data. However, they tried to support students in order to participate safely, critically and responsibly to the digital environments.