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Covid 19 pandemics: how easily will the future of learning be affected?

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

An illustration of the corona virus
Educational markets had to reinvent themselves because of the virus (Credit: Getty Images)

In 2020, the world was tossed into an unprecedented historical act. Covid-19 wasn’t the first pandemics the human race had to go through, but it’s the first one we’re facing as a society with more sophisticated and technological methods on a global scale. Can you imagine surpassing the isolation without internet access, for instance? You wouldn’t be able to watch your favorite movies on streaming, or see the Instagram lives of your favorite artist, or even communicate easily with other people on WhatsApp.

Covid-19 played a role in showing us how connected we are by technological ways - and also how important this could be for our mental health, helping us fight against the daily struggles that came as a consequence of spending too much time isolated from other people.

When we talk about education, the discussion gets even deeper. Schools were mostly closed due to the pandemics, but now many countries are cruising a back-into-classroom journey and have to be prepared to answer some questions. The main one being:

Will the educational process still be the same after we eradicate the virus?

That’s a tricky question, most of all, because education already had to go through major changes in order to adapt to the “new normal”. And the adjustments just keep flowing on a daily basis. From kindergarten to post-graduate degrees, educational institutions needed to redesign the usual in-class-with-teacher protocols for e-teaching solutions.

In this adapt-or-die scenario, many could find a reasonable way out - maybe not the perfect one, but a short term resolution that would keep them alive for now.

Before the coronavirus crisis, technology was not uncommonly portrayed as a villain for the educational process, with educators complaining about the unwinnable competition they faced against tablets, smartphones, gaming apps, and YouTube. It’s all a matter of perspective: the necessity of implementing remote knowledge tracks showed both the potential and the urge to treat technology as an ally and not a foe.

That’s what Lucia, 56, who teaches Portuguese for high school students in Brazil says:

“We often had belligerent attitudes towards all sorts of gadgets. Not so long ago, schools weren’t the place for that, but this had to change. I was already trying to be aboard the technological train before the pandemics, but when it came, I just had to reinvent myself completely. I’m sure the classroom is still a necessary environment for learning, growing, and acquiring social skills, but I’m inclined to think that the best way to improve the process relies on a mix of remote innovative learning and in-class traditions”.

A smartphone
Technology was a key asset for the educational market during the pandemics

Lucia seems to be on point in her affirmation. Specialists claim that the future of education is hybrid learning. It’s such a strong point that “the COVID-19 pandemic radically disrupted every aspect of life, including education, and left educational institutions clamoring for systems and structures that ensure a continuation of learning for all students”, that even giants of the tech market, like Microsoft, are implementing big changes in the segment.

In the 21st century, teachers are no longer the only bearers of information, since students are one Google search away of having infinite fonts for whichever question that may occur. The school is not the only place you can learn and the whole world is your classroom - and it is just a few finger taps away. In this new era, educators will need to fill a role of moderation, guidance, direction, and feedback. A teacher is not expected to know all the answers, but to provide a safe and exciting trip for students that will reach further every day.

Remote learning might be a problem as well. Without the right motivation, students may fall into frustration or just give up boring tasks to explore other parts of the web’s jungle. They literally have the world in their hands. That’s why adaptive learning, gamification, and personalization are key elements to keep them focused.

It’s still early to make an accurate prediction on how classrooms and schools will be operating in a few years - or even for now. According to a McKinsey report, “no common template exists to determine whether to educate students remotely, bring them back into the classroom, or create a hybrid model that combines both”. Nevertheless, one thing seems certain: even after we banish the covid-19 occurrences, the discussion about the best methods for teaching and learning will still be at stake.

We shall remember teacher Lucia’s approach to things: technology should be an ally, and not a foe into the process. In Ann-Education we believe that the learning process should be reinvented. That’s why we created a platform for personalized learning, to help publishers make their content future-proof, in a place where teachers can build different paths for each student, respecting their individuality, while gathering important data and information to improve the classes’ plans. So far, we have achieved positive reviews from New York University and the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Contact us if you feel you’d like to reinvent learning with Ann. We are hybrid learning enthusiasts!

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