With most educational institutions closed, the whole world is being challenged to move schooling online. In this stressful pandemic situation, the US has more than 87% of internet penetration with a prevailing majority of the population present on the web. Steady access to the internet is a priceless resource in times of quarantine. To some extent, it can slow down the economic recession and enable some socially-vital processes to continue operating, like online education and remote jobs. Still, the challenge of social distancing has turned out to be too tough even for highly-industrialized countries. Here are some scenarios that can help the American educational system upgrade to survive in times of crisis and beyond.
Textbooks go digital
Even though we have been spending most of our time with digital devices in the past decade, 92% of college students reported they prefer paper books to e-books. While university libraries are full of printed materials, both the demand for and the supply of digital textbooks remains very small in the US. The change can be facilitated now as we witness the death of the printed press and some periodicals that have no sufficient online presence. Paper books may look pleasant and convenient in many respects, however, switching to e-books is only a matter of time in the digital world. Besides their wide accessibility in times of social distancing, e-books are going to spare the planet tons of paper and save their readers some money.
Teachers restart in a different role
For centuries, teachers held knowledge that could only be shared through personal interaction with their students. Thousands of books have been written in pursuit of explaining every craft existing out here, but still, practicing together with a teacher remained the most efficient way to learn anything. Things are changing dramatically now, and students have to rely on books as their primary source of knowledge. Of course, teachers can always be accessed online, but now they act more like moderators whose task is to set online lectures, reschedule students’ assessments, keep track of assignments done online, and facilitate students’ discussions on social media. Since we have no other option than to keep our home-schooling productive, teachers will need to involve all of their organizational skills to keep education going.
Student’s assistants make up for the missing live interaction
With the majority of students learning at home, writing help companies become in-demand with their service. This is exactly the time when we may need more detailed explanations of academic papers, timely assistance with sources, and an expert’s advice on formatting. Even as teachers get a bit overwhelmed by managerial duties, getting assistance with homework is still a real possibility. CustomWritings and other essay help companies stay online constantly to help students anytime, anywhere.
Live broadcasts replace lectures
Online broadcasting companies are incredibly powerful today. If sports instructors have already managed to relocate their daily workouts to online platforms, it won’t be that hard for teachers adapting to this new digital reality. At this point, colleges and universities have to create a strong online presence in order to keep students informed and engaged. Sitting at home and lecturing to a webcam can be odd for most of our teachers. However, there is nothing here that would make education itself impossible. Our instructors have enough resources to share their knowledge and experience online. Many people will find advantages to broadcasting and continue to put their lectures online even after quarantine is over.
Class discussions are held via social media platforms
Just as we have platforms to keep up with lectures, we also need a digital space for student-to-student interaction. Luckily, social media isn’t new to anyone. In times of complete social isolation, it is very convenient to gather the entire class on websites like Facebook or have a nice group chat via Skype. Of course, it won’t feel the same as having everyone present in the same room and at the same time. Still, group chats on social media provide a great chance for everyone to stay tuned and updated. Teachers don’t have to reach out to every student personally even though you can send a PM. During social distancing, our time is just as precious as always, and both students and teachers would like to spend that time productively.
Assessments are postponed, not cancelled
Well, on this point some of us may get lucky. A few European schools announced that their students may graduate without exams this year. Obviously, not all education institutions are so confident in their graduates, and most American colleges will just postpone tests until a reasonable point in the future. In the meantime, teachers can still assess written tasks and any assignments students do at home, so there is no reason to put studying on hold.
Soft skills get more attention than ever before
As schools and colleges make enormous efforts to continue functioning in online mode, educators are starting to focus on developing the soft skills of their students. Remote studying has made it so vividly clear that most of us lack time management, teamwork, and problem solving skills. At the same time, these are the characteristics that most managers seek in their employees. In traditional schools, teachers pay most of their attention to students’ awareness of their subjects. Schools of the 21st century, however, can do better than that, and facilitate the development of interpersonal communication skills. With the exams postponed and the curriculum adjusted to online learning, we can invest more time in creating effective communication and organizing all of our time wisely.
Teachers, principals, and organizations learn resilience alongside their students
Even though there is potentially a technical solution to keep almost any academic process going, the education field has nevertheless been deeply stressed by the COVID pandemic. Crises of such a scope don’t happen annually, and specialists in every single industry are asking the same questions: What happens next? How do we pay salaries under such conditions? Can we provide sufficient service online? Stability is no longer a feature one can boast.
Teachers and principals are just as scared as students, realizing that their employment prospects are being cut more and more every day. And students aren’t the only ones who have to apply all of their soft skills to move forward. Like any other field, education needs sponsors to step up to a new level. And the form our education system takes after the pandemic ends will depend on how well educators can adapt and adjust their practices to real life at this very moment.