The pandemic is forcing schools around the world to reimagine how to educate. These changes are happening in real-time to meet the demands of today. This is not typical for the educational realm. Educational organizations, especially public schools, are complex systems that typically require long study times and years of data analysis before the implementation of anything new.
But the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t allow for that sort of window. Instead, administrators at all levels must now decide how to move forward with sweeping changes to meet the needs of today. This often means turning to radical technologies and strategies rarely or never used before within the educational system.
Multiple technologies are now being leveraged to engage students who are learning from home because of the pandemic. This includes curriculum and professional development resources to support teachers and parents as they help students transition to their new learning environment, as well as platforms like Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts that allow students to interact with their teachers and classmates.
While one might assume online learning will lead to a one-size-fits-all curriculum, the opposite may be true. Multiple states have issued directives that encourage educators to prioritize “flexible goals and structures for learning” while focusing on student engagement and encouragement, rather than teacher-centered instruction based upon delivering information and student memorization.
This shift leads away from longstanding curriculum practices where educators are required to focus on a set range of knowledge needed to pass specific standardized tests. Instead, teachers look to equitable learning techniques to leverage each student’s individual interests and skills to build a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
All sectors of the economy are moving toward using more technology. It’s important for students to keep up with these changes, and be comfortable with them. Virtual reality and AI will be regular tools for current students who follow paths to jobs as surgeons, engineers, machinists, even VR ethicists. Technology is fostering a spirit of independence and accountability within our classrooms, moving the student closer to the center of their own learning experience and the teacher to a mentoring relationship.