In A Post-Covid Era, Education Begins (And Ends) At Home
What we’ve resigned to calling the ‘new normal’ isn’t normal for most of us. Globally, over 1.2 billion children are out of the classroom and the pandemic has forced us to accept remote and online learning as the primary mode of education overnight. As a result, education, as we know it, has changed dramatically, with remote e-learning on a steady incline.
Looking back, online education has always been seen as an alternative path, one that is more suited to adults seeking higher education. However, with the pandemic, both educators and students across the spectrum have had to adapt to virtual courses. While many believe that this unplanned shift to online learning can lead to poor education, others believe that this is a sign of the times and a new hybrid model of education will emerge and become the mainstay.
However, many real problems like the lack of internet connectivity, especially in rural areas, and the need for dedicated devices remain. While these problems persist, governments and educators have made sure that processes continue, even managing to salvage some face-to-face interactions with Google Meet and Zoom. In this revised scenario, hands-on learning may have taken a backseat, but experiential learning with virtual field trips and virtual labs is on the rise.
There have also been significant changes in not only how students are learning but also how they are evaluated in online settings. Many educators have altered how student achievement is measured. The learning process has also evolved and includes interactive discussions, student-led teaching, and the use of games to increase motivation and attention, previously unseen in traditional teaching models. This new method of learning also means the meaningful application of newly learned skills and knowledge, for example, team-based projects that involve multiple stakeholders and the usage of social media tools to support collaborative problem-solving.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, technological, logistical, and administrative systems have had to adapt to suit the needs of both educators and students alike. While access remains a significant issue for many, extensive resources have been allocated across the globe to connect students with course material and newer methods of remote learning are being introduced and adopted each day.
Like the impact of the pandemic, which isn’t going away soon, online learning is here to stay. While traditional models have served the purpose, we stand on the brink of changing the face of education by integrating education and technology. This will allow us to change not only how we learn but, with the right tools and infrastructure, ensure education reaches even more people across the world.