With the COVID pandemic, came lockdowns. And with lockdowns, came school closures. But, technology was there to fill the gap. Zoom, Skype, and various other teleconferencing tools allowed schools to hold classes online. There were asynchronous classes, where students could access educational material on-demand. And there were synchronous classes, where students had to meet with each other and the teacher online at the same time.
Adaptation is a vital feature of our species. Time and time again, we have found ways to adapt to impossible situations. However, not all adaptations are permanent. In many situations, when the stressful situation abates, we return to regular programming. It is left to be seen which way our COVID adaptations will go. In this article, I will be highlighting the impact new technology has had on education. And which ones may or should continue after the pandemic.
Filling the gap
The most obvious impact of technology on education has been filling the gap. Unable to meet in groups due to lockdown restrictions, these technological tools have allowed schools to continue. Students have been able to access everything, from video classes to quizzes, tests, and class discussions online.
With online classes, schools no longer have to spend as much as they did on maintaining a physical student population. This frees up funds for schools to invest in other fields. It can also precipitate a fall in the cost of education. This is particularly important for areas where education costs are predominantly high.
Enhancing access to education
New video-conferencing technology has been able to enhance students’ access to educational materials. In the old system, students had to mandatorily sit through classes, whether or not they had reasons not to. And if any student missed classes, it was his burden to catch up.
However, new technology has changed that. With some schools now in support of on-demand online classes. Students can access video lessons and other educational materials at their convenience. This method of learning puts the student more in control.
Hitherto, classes did not take into consideration the idiosyncrasies of individual students. For many students, their periods of optimal attentiveness did not coincide with the set class periods. On-demand education solves that problem and should continue to be utilized even after the pandemic ends.
For many students, especially in rural areas, getting to school every day is quite an uphill task. While most school districts in the USA have solved the problem with school buses. The problem persists in many other parts of the world. And where it has not actively discouraged education, it has greatly reduced its quality.
With new video-conferencing technology, that problem has been effectively solved. Even after the pandemic ends, students in rural areas can continue to attend classes online. They should only be required to attend physically on special occasions.
Enhanced collaboration and exposure
Online classes allow both students and teachers to access educational material from anywhere in the world. Already, many schools and countries have exchange programs, aimed at exposing their students to cultures around the world. Online learning opens up new opportunities for such exchanges.
Exchange programs were limited by costs and logistics. This limited the number of students and teachers who could experience these programs. With online learning, entire schoolrooms from across the world can connect online.
Equipping students with digital skills
The last (definitely not the least) impact new technology has had on education, on my list, is equipping students with digital skills. Schools have always taught students about ICT. However, there usually are not many ways to ensure that students imbibe the lessons.
The adoption of new technological innovations into the learning process will ensure that students are equipped with the necessary skills to survive in a digital economy.