The coronavirus pandemic has shaken our world to a shocking extent. Economies have dropped, business operations have slowed down, travel has come to a standstill, schools and colleges have shut and life is confined to the four walls of our homes with the ongoing lockdown. It is difficult to fathom the damage this situation will do to different businesses however we can certainly define the positive or negative impact this may have on the field of education. We know that our conventional classrooms are not going to be the same once the pandemic fades off and many dimensions are going to change thereafter, some will be temporary while some will be permanent changes.
The pandemic started impacting us in early January where countries were forced to take immediate action that would have detrimental results. This called for shutting down of schools and colleges overnight due to the mass gatherings. This has influenced many students to turn to temporary homeschooling to avoid lag in education.
Although the pandemic has caused vast inconveniences to the education it has also stimulated a new ray of innovation that has been long due. In a matter of weeks amidst the pandemic, schools started inventing new and innovative ways of keeping the system afloat and finding new techniques to continue education. Hence, from a positive aspect, schools started becoming more innovative. Technology has been with us for long, but the integration of education and technology has been an ongoing thought that has not been implemented to extent that it should. COVID-19 perhaps is a catalyst for schools and colleges to search for innovative solutions within just few weeks.
The most effective and immediate resource that came to the rescue was online education. Educational institutions have adapted online processes and techniques before but were always hesitant to rely on it completely. Well, there seems to be no other option but to depend on this technology completely, from training to assessments, everything is online. Schools have started new ways of reaching out to students and have trained their teachers to become tech savvy in a fortnight. Group learning, activities, curriculum have changed as per the requirements of online education. Assessments also have become digital which has reduced the stress on teachers while grading. The whole process is now automated.
Traditional in-person classroom learning will be complemented with new learning modalities – from live broadcasts to ‘educational influencers’ to virtual reality experiences. Learning could become a habit that is integrated into daily routines – a true lifestyle. While we agree that there are some positive changes, there perhaps are some adverse effects too. For example, in conventional classrooms students are used to learning together with their peers and teachers. That will certainly change. Practicing social distancing is going to be an integral part of our lives which will especially be followed in schools. This will impact the interest and motivation of students.
Only time will tell us whether this period has been a bon or a bane. It is difficult to judge to impact , we can only predict and wait to see some positive changes take place in our education system.