It’s fair to say, the world is a very different place than it was two years ago. The collective everyday life around the world came to a screeching halt and, very suddenly, we were required to adapt and change our entire way of life. Education in all its iterations had a profound change which has brought with it, a few opportunities.
The educational sector was in dire need of an update, and through the other side of this pandemic there is a chance to re-evaluate how the world will teach the forthcoming generations. A modern classroom for the connected world.
An educated connection; parents – teachers – students
Of the various innovations of the past twenty years, the developments of high-speed and reliable internet connections have been the foundations for the surviving education system. With the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, there was a dire need to ensure that there was no loss of rhythm for students.
With the classroom now residing in the ether, it was now a joint responsibility with not only the teachers, but with the parents as well, to ensure children were attending class and keeping up to date with assessments and mental stimulation. Thus, a new bond was established between the educators and parents, one that has seen its fair share of scrutiny and growing pains as a newly developed responsibility was put on parents around the world to become an assistant of sorts to the educators, and learning a curriculum is no small or easy task to juggle.
This newfound connection and necessary bond have had an unknowing positive impact in the long run, with a mutual understanding of the complexities of education as well as parenting from both sides. The severe new stresses teachers are feeling with an overhauled and digitised system of delivery necessitates a profound re-structuring of how education is thought of, and reignited the important connectivity between students, teachers and parents. Early childhood education has seen an opportunity to maintain interest in new topics and foundational learning with some sites dedicated to worksheets, which has allowed an ease of stresses on teachers and allowed parents to become more involved.
Digital silver linings of e-learning
While some stresses have been exacerbated by the pandemic, there have been some unexpected benefits to the digital scenery. Newfound opportunities to tailor an educational experience have not been on the forefront of educational thinking and theory, the squeeze of lockdown and e-learning have allowed for this new avenue to flourish. As the education sector has been historically slow to adapt to new technologies as opposed to other industries, the past few years have allowed for a monumental shift in the right direction.
Google was fast to adapt with classroom learning in the online space with video education being the new norm in lieu of face-to-face classrooms. The advantage of course being the ability for students to learn at their own pace and gain a vast sense of independence and responsibility with cases of overcoming challenges. This of course presents a newfound obstacle in cases of challenged students not being able to learn with fellow students and develop the ability to gain new perceptions when discussing content in an open setting.
Tailored education is also on the rise, and with it, unending benefits for the students, teachers, and society as a whole. the online space providing ample opportunity to diversify topics that interest individual learners which is advantageous when dealing with younger minds. Coupling this with new media tactics such as videos and interactive elements have shown to increase interest in education at a younger age and has demonstrated benefits of information retention in the long run.
Leave none behind
While this digital overhaul is certainly overdue for the education sector, it certainly has some addendums that should not be ignored in the long run. While the value of face-to-face learning will not be discounted anytime soon, a new synthesis of digitally enhanced classrooms are certainly paving the way for a brighter future for all of us. There are of course responsibilities we have as a society to ensure that students and families are not left behind when the digital landscape comes to fruition.
There has already been much talk about low-income families and students in rural areas who do not have the same access to the internet or devices that are up to scratch with various digital platforms currently being adapted into the education system. As such, the ownness is on the school system to adapt new strategies to ensure that all students are afforded the same opportunities as their peers. This could include; adopting downloadable aspects of their curriculum, providing the technology to students whose families are unable to afford them or devising specified content such as videos and interactive materials.
This new hybrid educational model will undoubtedly be here to stay, so it is a necessary issue to deal with while we collectively adapt to the new way of life. This is an opportunity to support the ones who need it most while preparing future generations for life in the digital age.
COVID-19 has been a dark period of all our lives, it has shaken up a lethargic educational system into the modern day and with it, new opportunities and challenges. Teachers have had to adapt to an entirely new way of educating students, parent have had to pick up new responsibilities and students have been shaken in their formative years into a brand-new methodology of education and learning. The silver linings of this digital landscape however, will invariably benefit the education system and society in the long run.