Amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, the world has faced an onslaught of crises in every area of life. First, toilet paper was in high demand and flew off the shelves. Then, people were challenged with work and school tasks while quarantined. Now, plans for schooling for the fall semester of 2020 are up in the air. How can educators both keep their students safe as well as provide the best education possible?
The stay-at-home learning experiment in spring of 2020 did not fare well for most students. As the pandemic suddenly hit, all schools were forced to close their doors. College students left their belongings on campus in hopes of returning. This sudden change to the way students learned and interacted with their teachers and peers led to an ultimately unsuccessful semester. Multiple statistics showed that student performance and engagement tanked. A quick Google search asking if remote learning worked would yield a list of headlines voicing a resounding “no!”
Thanks to technology, many schools are opting to hold the fall semester remotely. This means classes would ensue via the use of the Internet and other computer programming, like Zoom. Prior to this pandemic, many saw the use of technology as an added tool within the realm of education. Now, students and academics alike are realizing that technology is now an integral part of education in our world today.
Depending on the topic of study, classes might follow a hybrid model. For instance, if students are learning a topic in science, they may be able to learn best through a hybrid class. This would mean learning basics like vocabulary and equations via an online module. Then, when it comes time for labs that require hands-on learning, the students can make their way to the school campus to engage in a safe, socially distanced lesson. Overall, this limits students’ exposure to one another and only requires their physical presence when absolutely necessary.
The other option would be a fully online semester. This approach would be simpler since schools have more time to prepare. As applications like Zoom have become the norm for business meetings and social events alike, many students and teachers will be more equipped to use it for classes. Applications like Microsoft Teams might be implemented to streamline the communication process among constituents.
Overall, academic endeavors will not only benefit, but work more seamlessly, if technology is used correctly and adequately. As students and teachers approach this fall semester, it is hopeful that they are better equipped to use these models and systems than they were this past spring.
Best of luck to all students and teachers in their academic ventures amid a global pandemic. Stay focused and use your technology to facilitate the process!
Additional Links: https://hbr.org/2020/06/a-post-pandemic-strategy-for-u-s-higher-ed