Covid-19 pandemic has caused massive changes in several industries and sectors across the world. Education was one of them.
After a brief pause of a few weeks, the education industry sprang into action so students don’t lose a year due to the pandemic. Schools and colleges took to online modes of teaching and learning.
Teachers of all ages and backgrounds started using technology and gadgets to conduct online classes, assessments and tests. It’s been over a year now and the education industry still continues to function in online mode.
This transition was more challenging for teachers than it was for students. Majority of students are exposed to technology, gadgets, devices and applications. And they have hands-on experience using them. Teachers, on the other hand, had to climb a very steep learning curve.
In this article, we will discuss the future of online education, how the industry will adapt to the post-pandemic world and what role schools, universities and teachers can play in this transformation.
Effects of the Pandemic
The pandemic situation is unlikely to go away any time soon. The corona virus cases have been rising and falling in various parts of the world in different time bands. To believe the experts, the virus cannot be eradicated entirely from the face of the earth.
The below picture shows the results of a survey conducted by the Nature journal which involved 119 experts from over 23 countries.
So, the experts collectively agree that Covid 19 is here to stay.
And the world is not free from the threat of such pandemics in the future.
If we experience another epidemic or pandemic, we can anticipate varying levels of lockdowns across the world. This means schools and colleges might have to be closed cyclically or sporadically depending on the turn of events in the future.
Covid 19 has in many ways given us opportunities to build a more robust world, which also includes a robust education system.
This is the right time to think and plan for the future so we can design the best education system for our children and teachers. We need to design a system that won’t collapse in the face of any such calamity. We cannot deny the role or the capability of technology and online education in helping us achieve this.
Will Online Education Continue?
Online education started as a temporary solution to ensure learning didn’t stop during the pandemic.
But, it has proven to have massive potential in enriching the learning experience of students as well as the teaching experience of the educators.
While we have seen teachers adapting to online modes of teaching quite well, we cannot neglect the fact that effective teaching through online modes requires a special set of skills.
Online teaching is even more challenging with young learners. With their short attention spans and multiple distractions in the home environment, it becomes extremely difficult for teachers to engage students through a laptop or a mobile screen.
Our teachers need the right kind of support and training to overcome the different kinds of challenges online education brings with it.
Therefore, the primary focus of schools should be to empower teachers to master technology to impart impactful online learning.
Here are 5 ways in which schools and universities can help develop a more robust and stable education system in the post-pandemic world.
1. Technology Orientation for Teachers
Schools should identify teachers that are familiar with technology. These teachers should be trained to train their peers in using teaching technology. The learning can be imparted through hand holding, shadow supporting, full-fledged trainings, workshops etc. depending on the needs and technology orientation level of individual teacher.
Schools can also work with tech-savvy teachers to test out different platforms and software that can be suitable for their specific requirements. This community of teachers can work together along with their peers to set standard processes to be followed across the institute.
2. Evaluation of Tools
Schools should identify and evaluate technology tools that can aid teaching. The tech-friendly teachers should be leading this exercise. Once shortlisted, these tools can become part of the standard processes as well.
If you are looking for different tech tools that will help schools and teachers to maximize learning outcomes for your students, you can take a look at this article from our blog – 20 Digital Tools to Make Your Life Easy As a Teacher.
3. Use of Data for Planning the Future
Schools should conduct regular check-ins and surveys with teachers to gauge their experience and feedback of using different technology. This can include questions such as:
- What do you like about this technology/tool?
- What do you not like about this technology/tool?
- What are the challenges in using this technology/tool?
- Are there any additional remarks or notes?
The results can be turned into a report to decide if the use of a particular tool should be continued or replaced with another one in case it doesn’t prove beneficial.
4. Leverage the online medium
While we are trying to make online education as effective as in-class teaching, we should also consider ways in which we can maximize the advantages of technology powered education.
Technology makes it easier to conduct certain learning exercises in a much more effective way as compared to offline or in-class teaching. For example, collaborative projects and assignments, creating presentations, online quizzes, live feedback, gauging engagement levels of students using different tools and so much more.
Here’s a fantastic example of this.
It’s impossible for teachers to meet the learning goals and needs of every student in her class. However, technology can use data to analyse the learning progress and outcome of every child and map them with their learning goals. Teachers can also generate detailed reports around this information so they can take necessary steps to ensure every child gets the best learning.
TeachPro+ is powered by the learning platform called Le2fish, which is capable of this functionality. It allows teachers to pay equal attention to every student in her class. Click here to know more about how it works.
Technology provides myriad ways to improve the quality of education. Schools should explore and harness these technological solutions to optimize teaching and learning.
5. Finding a sync between online and in-class teaching
In-class and online teaching have their own set of merits and demerits. The ideal education will be a combination of in-class and tech-powered online learning.
While Face-to-face will environment gives students the experience of collaborative learning and socializing, online learning will ensure they get exposure to the right side of technology. Even though many young children and teenagers use technology extensively, they spend majority of their time playing games, watching videos or on social media. This will be their gateway to explore different benefits of technology.
The future of education is where F2F and online learning co-exist.
In the developing countries of the world, the teacher to student ratio is almost double than their western counterparts. To impart uncompromised and impactful learning, technology is the best bet for education industry to support their teachers in providing the best learning possible to every child.