COVID-19 is hitting hard all across the world. This unprecedented pandemic is continuously forcing countries to enter lockdown and self-isolation modes for a very unpredictable amount of time. Society continues to experience a period of grief, nervousness, and confusion. As COVID-19 continues to spread at an uncommon rate, society continues to search for answers to questions like:
- What is going to happen to our economy?
- What does this mean for education in schools?
- How will this pandemic end?
Unfortunately, these questions remain as confusing to experts as they do to the general public. COVID-19 is a new virus that has yet to be deeply studied and examined by trained professionals, resulting in an incapability of discovering a specific treatment and vaccine that fights against the virus.
Let’s dive deeper into how COVID-19 has forced countless schools to enter a remote world and how online education has developed into the new normal.
Online Education – Report
It’s evident that although in-person classes have all been cancelled, education is something that will not be stopped. Online education allows students to continuously learn while being virtually connected with their classmates, teachers, and other school directory. Nowadays, online education curriculum tools and the infrastructure to communicate amongst students remotely are playing a crucial role in keeping students connected amid school closures. As this virus remains unpredictable, it’s very difficult to determine exactly how long schools will need to remain closed, but many experts including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that more lengthy closures will be required to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
The Ups & Downs
One of the major advantages of in-person schooling, are the interactions you have with your peers. Whether it’s with your friends, classmates, teachers, an/or counsellors, that in-person face to face interaction is something that certainly was cherished and was a factor into having success.
Based on countless studies performed through psychology experts, every student learns differently. Whether it’s the pace they read at, the need to study with others, studying in a classroom environment, etc. Although many students may strive through online education, there are countless students all around the world who will struggle with online school, as this period resembles a time of unprecedented change and uncertainty. Students will be forced to tackle on the many challenges that come with online school, for which a major one includes the responsibility of self-learning material that you may have never seen before. Unfortunately, as much as teachers want to help, with the increase volume of inquiries, there will certainly be times where direct help from teachers will not be easily accessible. So, we ask ourselves, do we have what it takes to overcome these challenges? And if not, what are we going to do?
The Technology – Report
An essential aspect in assuring online education is successful is the use of technology. Widely used school technology such as Google Classroom, Zoom, and learning management systems such as Schoology (acquired by PowerSchool in 2019), are playing a key role in the transition from in-person to remote. Having technology like this allows students to remain connected, complete homework and assignments, and ultimately assure they are staying on top of their learning.
Areas that are fortunate enough to afford these types of technology are greatly benefiting from remote learning. But as the school closures continue to occur, we continue to experience a harsh spotlight on economic inequality between wealthy suburban areas and inner-city areas that lack access to high quality technology. This causes students who are less wealthy to not receive appropriate education and are left praying that the spread of COVID-19 slows down.
More Growth – Report
Another area of growth is online proctoring. According to Mary Jo Zandy, managing director of the investment bank Berkery Noyes, “Crucial higher ed online proctoring solutions are going gangbusters”. Examples includes Proctorio, Examity and Respondus. Respondus enables students to take online quizzes, tests, and exams from home, while eliminating any method of cheating and also protecting the exam content. Both of its applications are fully capable of being integrated in a school’s learning management system, allowing schools to continue providing educational needs. As online examinations are typically known as a “cheating exam”, being able to incorporate an online proctoring technology like Respondus, allows schools to assure its education system and students are being fair and as protected as possible.