The pandemic forced schools to shift to online education to keep the teachers and students safe from the virus. While many people looked forward to the new system, teachers’ experiences did not paint a pretty picture of this system.
Here are some lessons teachers learned from the shift to online education due to the pandemic.
While people looked forward to remote learning for students, access to the technology needed for learning depends on the family’s income level. Around 12 percent of children belonging to households earning less than $25,000 per year rarely had access to a device that allowed them to join online classes.
Even if the child had a device for online classes, access to the internet is limited. Access to online resources is also dependent on the income of the household. Due to this, most children belonging to low-income households had to rely on paper-based distance learning materials sent by the school.
Low-income households also have lower internet and computer proficiency. This will put them at a disadvantage if their school only offers remote learning. The situation will result in less-than-desirable results in standardized tests.
Before the pandemic, a report from the National Education Association showed that 25 percent of school-aged children have no access to an internet-enabled device or access to the internet.
The figure may have improved after school districts worked on distributing devices to the students. But the budget may not be enough to supply all students with a device and internet access.
Online Education Needs to Innovate
Many teachers were initially excited after going through training for online education. Some even called the training intense, which is what they wanted since online education will be more intense than traditional classroom teaching.
Organizations also helped the educators in preparing the lessons. The lessons were a mix of video presentations, classroom instructions, and online activities. Some schools even implemented a legacy system migration to modernize their equipment to help their teachers.
The results were impressive. Teachers even said the students were quite productive in their classes. Some even said the students produced more than what they expected. While all of this was inspiring, there wasn’t much innovation in the teaching process.
The teaching methods recreated traditional classroom routines. Instead of making changes to enhance the learning process, there was little innovation. The only difference between online teaching and traditional teaching is that the teachers had to work harder to produce the materials needed for their classes.
Relationships are Important
Connecting with the students and their families also play a role in the education of the children. Some schools that communicated with the household were more successful. Communication between the schools and the parents allows the two parties to work together for their education.
The educators can connect with the parents through text, calls, emails, or social media. They inform the parents of their expectations through these channels. By expressing their expectations, the parents become aware of what their children have to aim for during the school year.
In addition to communicating with the parents, the school also talked with the students whenever necessary. For instance, when they see a student seemingly distressed, they can pull the students into a breakout room to have a short chat with them.
Connecting with the parents and students allows the educators to create a relationship with them to help them do better in their classes.
Hybrid Education is Challenging
Many schools are using a hybrid model of learning. The model combines online learning with in-person classes. The use of this model depends on the school since some schools focus on remote learning and do not offer in-person classes.
While some students can choose in-person classes until the end of the school year, others prefer online education. But it will be challenging to hold in-person classes with the increasing number of coronavirus cases in the country. Some schools have even shifted to full remote learning due to this situation.
For schools with in-person classes, they work to ensure the students are safe while attending the classes. But students attending classes in the school will result in other issues with the online learning side of the system. Teachers will end up shouting through their face masks so the students attending remote classes can hear them. This is among the system’s biggest challenges since it’s not easy to teach in the classroom while live-streaming it to students at home.
Since the current online education system is still new, issues will emerge. But once everyone gets used to it and makes the necessary adjustment, it can become a great way of continuing the students’ education while keeping them safe during the pandemic.