The Covid-19 pandemic put an end to social dynamics as we know them. The need for social distancing and safety protocols forced everyone to lock themselves up at home and wonder what was to come. After a few weeks of uncertainty and confusion, life began to adapt to the new reality, and things changed.
Following a momentary pause, students found themselves continuing their education, not in their traditional classrooms, but rather remotely. All over the US, education institutions migrated almost exclusively to online-based work. After a few months, some schools decided to go back to in-person teaching. However, where this has happened, Covid-19 outbreaks have ensued.
In this new reality, it doesn’t seem likely that we will fully go back to traditional education anytime soon. In fact, as institutions and students adopt more and more to alternative methods of learning, it seems like things will never go back to how they were. But what does this mean?
School Is Not Just a Building
Learning is not defined or limited by a building. You can learn as much as you want wherever you are as long as you have the motivation. This is the first thing that students learned from the Covid-19 pandemic. The motivation behind learning is not tied to leaving your house and going to a school.
The pandemic showed students that they can motivate themselves to learn at home. It also made them realize that school is much more than learning concepts. It’s also about connection, sharing ideas, and working together. That’s why tools like Zoom became so popular: they allowed students to maintain the socioemotional dynamics that are part of learning.
This is a valuable lesson that will remain in the minds of students, teachers, and workers of the education industry. And since it seems like online education is here to stay, this will be important to keep in mind in the continued improvement of remote education.
Change Can Be Good
During the pandemic, tech has become the medium for education. It has allowed for learning to continue through an array of tools to fit all needs. This situation has also brought to light the deficiencies in this area.
Firstly, a lack of preparation became evident, when schools had to make up protocols as they went. In the age of tech, it’s unimaginable that education centers are not, at least, minimally prepared for remote learning. A lack of preparation is detrimental to students, who are expected to have tech skills to compete in the current labor market. This became evident when students did not have the tech literacy to successfully engage in remote learning.
Even amidst all the tragedy of the pandemic, the migration towards more tech-based education seems positive. It was a necessary step in the evolution that was simply put off for too long.
Teachers Are Heros
Schools and teachers have risen to the challenge of providing an education in unprecedented conditions. This has meant the hard task of adapting their teaching to a new set up and doing so in innovative ways. Teachers are humans and areas affected by the situation as everybody else. Still, they face the challenge to the best of their ability. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed. The Internet is filled with students paying homage and thanking their teachers for all their hard work.
It seems that this hard work is not going to stop anytime soon. Teachers will need to keep thinking of original ways to deliver content digitally, maybe forever. Gratitude toward educators is a lesson that we should carry into the future, and that will hopefully help shape a better environment for learning.
As hard as it is to see it right now, something good comes out of everything. The pandemic may be the turning point for the education industry. This is a time to rethink our concept of learning, to assess what is important in the pursuit of knowledge. The debate is open, and it seems clear that things will not go back to the old ways. It makes sense: why should they? We are not living in the same world as before. We are at a turning point, witnessing the future.