“There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new technology, but if the instructors themselves are not able to bring it to the learners and make it work, then it fails.” U.S Senator, Nancy Kassebaum.
Education during a pandemic
I started my article with the above quote because it helps you to reflect on the real challenge before I present some questions for you to think of regarding education during the pandemic.
Will face to face learning re-exist? Will students go back to their physical classroom? Will they be eager, motivated, and enthusiastic to learn? Will tests, work on projects, compete and make friends meaningful to them? Will they feel safe, secure, and belong to school building and community? Those questions might seem rhetorical, but they are real. We should think of the dangers, threats, and consequences of online learning on children if it lasted for quite some time. We should seriously think of the alternatives.
Mid school, high school and university students might cope with the current education system easily, but what about KG and elementary students? Are they ready to try and succeed?
Are we teaching them to be dependent or independent? The role of parents became an essential and crucial part. I will give you an example from Kenya, they were trying to adopt digital learning, but parents weren’t really able to help kids tap into virtual learning or homeschooling. A lack of access to computers also made it infeasible to them. Such challenges should be taken into consideration when the government take this step. But will students stop learning?
The list of questions that arouse our curiosity and thinking never stops. They are no more watching or playing virtuality in movies or games, they are living it, since their life turns out to be virtual. They are the virtual learners of 2020. Here we need to reshape the skills of the 21st century learners. New skills need to be added, in which learners have to adapt to the new e-learning environment.
Have educators, while preparing and designing the content for their lesson today, thought of extracurricular activities? Have they thought of collaboration and teamwork? Creativity and critical thinking in alignment with the platforms that students use, not in one place of the globe only: but all over the world?
Don’t you agree with me that we need to pause for a while and think how to make up for learners what they miss? How can we turn this experience to a real learning experience?
few tips for thinking about how to help learners to learn
I will suggest few tips, and I am waiting from you, dear educators, teachers, administrators, and parents to think how to help learners to learn and enjoy what they are doing. It is a call for education recovery to start a new phase of learning.
You can suggest more tips and try them, as research is still brand new regarding the online issue. Governments are still trying to find the best way and tool.
- Design content that educates, engages, and entertains learners, not to transfer the face-to-face curriculum into online one. It won’t work.
- Train and equip educators and teachers with essential knowledge and tools
- Leverage new technologies to deliver non-traditional instructions
- Guide learners where to go, how to find resources and extra material
- Mobile devices are essential tools for learners; therefore, they should be accessible to all learners
To conclude, I will end the article with another quote, “In times where small instructor-led classrooms tend to be the exception, electronic learning solutions can offer more collaboration and interaction with experts and peers, as well as a higher success rate than the live alternative.”