How strong has the impact of COVID-19 been on daily activities? This question makes sense when we analyse all aspects of human life since March 2020, when the coronavirus began to cross borders. In the first place, we put aside all group activities in closed spaces, representing a temporary closure of schools, banks, offices, hotels, and clubs.
As time passes, all industries plan new ways to get back to normal. But if we look at the education industry, we realise that the impact was more striking than we thought. The new modality of education continues to be a topic of conversation for many professionals; therefore, we will explain the four most significant changes for schooling during the pandemic in the following paragraphs.
1. Closed Classrooms
We start with the most significant impact: the (temporary) end of face-to-face classes. In March, the World Health Organization recommended that governments suspend school activities in classrooms and any closed spaces because they are places with a high probability of contagion. Because of this measure, almost every government in the world sent teachers and students home.
The confinement for the education industry was not the same in all countries. Many students were without classes for more than three months, especially in places where technology and resources such as the Internet are scarce. In these countries, the coronavirus was a powerful enemy for learning. It should also be mentioned that nations like Venezuela have suffered from robberies and looting in universities and schools due to the abandonment of these facilities.
2. Distance Learning
Confinement made e-learning the “new normal” for all students. Both universities and elementary schools in the United States had a follow-up of classes through digital platforms. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the change was gigantic: in 2018, only 36 percent of young people under 15 years of age used their digital devices for schoolwork; in 2020, that figure reached almost 90 percent.
Although this was a new practice for many schools worldwide, distance learning in the United States already had a substantial history behind it. University education, for example, already worked with a remote attention mechanism for specific activities. The pandemic was not an obstacle for universities like Harvard to continue their classes normally. On the other hand, bootcamps and online courses didn’t have many chances. The most significant transition for the bootcamps was to take their systems to a 100 percent digital modality since these schools offer (for the most part) two methods of study.
3. Level of Learning
Despite being the most effective learning method, distance learning did not have 100 percent acceptance by students and teachers. It is a long process since traditional classes still represent almost all of the current methods. Both teachers and students assure that the level of studies is not the same.
What could be a more favourable trend? A Work Learning study suggests that mixed education (a balance between face-to-face classes and remote education) may be better for students. According to this report, blended learning obtained 13 percent improvements compared to other processes. COVID-19 looks like the beginning of a significant change in the education system in the world. Everything will be a matter of adaptation and innovation.
4. Teacher Training
Finally, the pandemic marked a starting point for traditional teachers towards technology. Due to e-learning, the teaching style must now follow instructions depending on the work platform. In the case of videoconferencing, teachers need essential equipment: a PC, microphone, and whiteboards. Apps like Zoom allow sharing PC desktops to show maps, math problems, images, and any other explanatory resource for the class.
Although its use seems simple, distance learning can be complicated for veteran teachers, especially those who do not usually use digital devices regularly. That is why in Latin American countries, the national televisions helped to supplement the information for students, taking into account those students and teachers who, for some reason, do not have PCs or smartphones at home.
Despite the difficulties and all the obstacles that countries suffered, we must always fight for education. During COVID-19, technology and investment made it possible for education to remain a part of everyday life. These are just the four most prominent changes in the education industry during the pandemic. From these examples, there will be better ways to achieve learning for all, regardless of future circumstances.
About the Author
David Torrealba is a Venezuelan journalist, illustrator, and SEO writer. He has been creating content for blogs, social media, newspapers, and websites since 2016. David is part of the BootcampsRankings content team.
Featured Image Credit and Further Reading
Featured image credit: Thought Catalog
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