The year 2020 has been difficult in the educational sector. Never has the school calendar experienced such a hiccup all over the world in recent times due to the global pandemic that nearly shut down the entire world.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly reshaped various aspects of our lives, and the field of education is no exception. As schools and educational institutions faced unprecedented challenges, a paradigm shift occurred, prompting the adoption of new norms in learning.
Now, how has this pandemic affected educational growth? In times like this, what the educational sector needs are pedagogical growth. This is a time to reflect on what is happening to the entire setup in the educational sector. What is happening to students, parents, families, and the entire management staff in the educational sector?
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on education, leading to widespread school closures and a shift toward remote learning. This sudden shift to online learning has led to many changes in the way education is delivered, and some of these changes may become the new norms in learning.
One of the most significant changes is the increased use of technology for remote learning. With many students and teachers unable to physically attend school, online platforms and tools such as Zoom, Google Classroom, and other Learning Management Systems (LMS) have become essential for connecting students and teachers and delivering instruction remotely.
One of the most notable changes brought about by the pandemic is the widespread adoption of online learning. As schools temporarily closed their physical doors to curb the spread of the virus, educators and students had to swiftly adapt to remote and virtual learning environments. The reliance on digital platforms for lectures, assignments, and assessments became a necessity, leading to a significant increase in the use of online educational tools and resources.
The flexibility offered by online learning has become a key norm in education. Students can access course materials from anywhere, allowing for a more personalized and self-paced learning experience. This flexibility not only accommodates diverse learning styles but also caters to individuals with varying schedules and commitments, such as working professionals and parents.
Another change that may become a new norm is the use of blended learning, which combines online and in-person instruction. This approach allows for flexibility and can accommodate students who may not have access to the internet or a suitable learning environment at home.
The changes that have taken place will be our focus. What are the categories that will remain permanent? Here is our take on that:
What the student needs to cope with the changing face of education is encouragement. The strategies that matter in the areas of project-based choice learning to form lessons, interactive educational presentations, units and choices should be introduced. Visuals and recordings that will make the learning text multimodal should be incorporated.
The integration of technology into education has also paved the way for innovative teaching methods. Virtual classrooms, interactive simulations, and multimedia resources have become commonplace, enhancing the engagement and interactivity of learning experiences. Educators now leverage a wide range of digital tools to create dynamic and immersive lessons that cater to the evolving needs of students in a technologically advanced world.
Collaborative and project-based learning has gained prominence as another norm in the post-pandemic educational landscape. Online platforms facilitate seamless collaboration among students, allowing them to work on projects, share ideas, and engage in group discussions regardless of physical proximity. This shift towards collaborative learning not only fosters teamwork and communication skills but also reflects the collaborative nature of many modern workplaces.
Assessment methods have also evolved in response to the challenges posed by the pandemic. Traditional exams have been complemented, or in some cases replaced, by alternative assessment strategies such as project portfolios, open-book assessments, and continuous evaluation. These methods aim to provide a more holistic understanding of a student’s capabilities and reduce the reliance on high-stakes exams.
Encouragement practices are ways to support and motivate individuals to achieve their goals. They can be used in various settings, such as in the workplace, in education, and in personal relationships. Positive reinforcement is a technique where behavior is rewarded with a positive consequence, such as a compliment or a reward. This helps to increase the likelihood of the behavior being repeated in the future.
Building a positive and supportive environment by creating an environment where individuals feel valued, respected, and supported can help to increase engagement and motivation.
The order of approach should be engagement; content and finally rigor. The changes in the educational sector have also had some ripple effects on the world at large and the changes are likely to remain permanent. We can not sell our kids’ shorts and children of all ages are adjusting to the realities of the virtual world.
Communicating with the community
The family is key if success in engagement and learning is to stay. This is why a permanent means of communicating must be opened with the family. There are diverse ways of sending the message to individual families. The bottom line is the flexibility that should be used in getting the expected results. The method of approach with the family is key to engagement and learning.
Communicating with a community can be an important way to build trust, establish relationships, and promote engagement. Effective communication with a community can help to foster a sense of belonging and shared purpose, and can also help to address issues and concerns.
Connecting with the students
If we are to pass the message across to the students, there should be understanding the students’ plight will be of help in understanding their needs. Social and emotional learning awareness must be included to achieve expected meaningful results.
The last change that has come in (which will remain permanent) is the way students are being assessed. There is a departure from the high stakes used in assessing students. Several ways to know the competence of each student have been introduced. There is a departure from 20th-century testing practices to 21st-century learning instructions.
Some discussions will focus on portfolios and learning that is project-based learning, which will lead to artifacts over ACTs and SATs.
Furthermore, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of prioritizing mental health and well-being in education. The stress and uncertainties brought about by the crisis prompted educators and institutions to place a greater emphasis on supporting students’ emotional and mental health. Initiatives such as increased access to counseling services, mindfulness practices, and a more empathetic approach to student well-being have become integral components of the educational experience.
While the pandemic has brought about significant changes, it is essential to acknowledge the challenges that have arisen, particularly in terms of the digital divide and disparities in access to technology. Bridging these gaps and ensuring equitable access to quality education remains a critical goal for educators, policymakers, and communities.
The shift in learning that is occasioned by this pandemic is something that is waiting in the wings to happen even without the pandemic. This crisis in the education sector has created an opportunity.
The pandemic has also accelerated the development of virtual and augmented reality technology which is being used for teaching and learning and there may be more of it in the future.
It’s important to note that these changes may not be permanent and may depend on the situation and the school and the country, some of them may not be widely adapted. However, the pandemic has certainly accelerated the pace of change in the field of education and has led to the adoption of new technologies and approaches that may become the new norm in learning.
In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new era in education, characterized by online learning, technological integration, flexibility, collaborative approaches, evolving assessment methods, and a heightened focus on mental health. These emerging norms are not merely temporary adaptations but rather transformative changes that are likely to shape the future of education in a post-pandemic world. As we navigate these changes, it is crucial to harness the positive aspects and address the challenges to create a more inclusive and resilient educational system.
If we fail to snatch the opportunity so provided, it will surely be a waste. With the changes that have come into play, we are on course.