The outbreak of COVID-19 resulted in unparalleled upheaval in the educational sector, causing 1.2 billion youngsters in 186 nations to miss out on school. Despite some of them having returned to their classrooms, uncertainty looms over the future of their education. The crisis has compelled an abrupt transition to alternative educational methods, such as e-learning and digital platforms, which have been found to be highly effective. In several instances, this has resulted in an improvement over conventional educational techniques.
Let’s delve deeper into this issue.
Online schooling is not a novel concept.
Before the pandemic, the usage of educational technology was gaining momentum and being embraced more widely. It was estimated that $18.66 billion would be spent on educational technology across the globe by 2023, and it is slated to skyrocket to a staggering $350 billion by 2025. The shift to online learning is largely attributed to the use of digital learning tools, like chat rooms and language applications, that can be accessed from any location.
The current educational situation seems to present new opportunities every day. In the Los Angeles region, partnerships have been formed between districts and PBS to provide digital learning materials for pupils of all ages, with programmes specifically tailored to the area. In the UK, the BBC has launched Bitesize Daily, which features 14 weeks of lessons aligned with the national curricula, taught by notable personalities. Meanwhile, in China, the Tencent Classroom has allowed over 250 million youngsters to return to in-person learning.
The shift from conventional classrooms to online learning bears many resemblances to the growing trend of telecommuting in the corporate arena. Both have their benefits and drawbacks. Modifications to the education sector are already underway and will be accelerated by the extensive adoption of educational technology, similar to how corporations across the globe have embraced it.
It goes without saying that the shift to online education has been anything but seamless. Educational institutions were caught off guard by the abrupt and mandatory shift to remote learning, and we have all heard stories of how unprepared teachers, limited internet capacity, and inadequate readiness for such a significant shift have had a negative impact on students’ education.
These are not the only challenges that edtech will encounter, but they are among the most urgent at present:
- One of the most complex and widely acknowledged obstacles associated with educational technology is the assurance of unprejudiced access to modern tools. It has been estimated that 25% of ninth-graders in the United States lack access to a computer in their household, and this ‘digital divide’ is a problem in nearly all countries, albeit with varying degrees of severity. Despite endeavors by educational institutions, government bodies, and non-profit organizations to equip students with the essential technological resources, it is probable that this issue will persist for a significant duration of time.
- When educational institutions started incorporating online learning platforms like Blackboard or Lark, it was anticipated that they would face platform reliability problems owing to the shortage of investment in specialized IT staff who could sustain the websites at a superior level of performance during peak traffic periods. As a consequence, many organizations have come to the realization that it is more cost-effective to contract out their IT services.
- Over the past few years, online education has progressively gained popularity as more and more learners are moving away from typical classroom environments in favor of a virtual one. Even though many students have embraced the supplementary flexibility provided by online learning, there are still some who have experienced difficulty acclimatizing to this new approach to learning, as it can be challenging to feel connected in a virtual classroom. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that appropriate support structures are in place to assist those students who are struggling with the transition.
- Given that the world’s most experienced educators often lack the knowledge and skills to use digital tools effectively in their teaching, schools must guarantee that their staff undergoes comprehensive training. Fortunately, numerous educational institutions are taking the extra step to ensure that their students receive the finest quality of education.
Our online classes have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our students. Without them, a lot of youngsters would need to endure a six-hour daily commute to and from school. There is a shortage of outstanding physics teachers, yet with the assistance of our services, even those schools lacking a physics teacher can gain access to high-calibre teaching.The Baker Dearing Educational Trust was founded by Kenneth Baker, a former UK Secretary of State for Education.
Online learning provides a variety of benefits when compared to conventional classroom environments. A study conducted by Shift eLearning discovered that during online sessions, students retained between 25 and 60 percent more material than they did during conventional classroom lectures, with the latter averaging only 8 to 10 percent. This research indicates that students might be able to receive better grades when offered the chance to review material at their own pace, as they can hasten the learning process, skip sections or revisit any parts they may have overlooked.
It is a widely acknowledged fact that, as long as the essential infrastructure is in place, online education can provide students with an equivalent level of education quality to on-campus education, regardless of their physical location. Many reputable universities, including Harvard, MIT and Stanford, have been utilizing this kind of learning for some time, with their massive open online courses (MOOCs) providing the same instructors and course materials as their conventional on-campus options.
One of the most appealing features of online learning is its flexibility. By eliminating the expense and hassle of commuting to and from classes, a larger number of students are able to enrol in courses that will have the greatest impact on their future prospects without having to alter their current way of life. This is also beneficial for educators, who can provide prompt and frequent feedback tailored to their students’ requirements and inquiries.
From a philosophical viewpoint, educational technology is playing a significant role in preparing the next generation for successful integration into a globalized society. Although the move towards a digitalized world may be daunting initially, the capacity to collaborate remotely will be immensely beneficial in the future. Moreover, cultivating resilience and a desire to learn will be fundamental qualities for prospering in the world after the pandemic.
Furthermore, online education offers significant environmental advantages. It is easy to understand how decreased travel can be beneficial for the environment: fewer vehicles on the road lead to less greenhouse gas emissions, less students in a school result in less money being expended on utilities to regulate the building’s temperature, fewer printed materials mean more trees being conserved, and so on.
Technology as a Vital Component of Education
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a transformation of the education system, which, despite being awkward and ineffective, has certain advantages. Educational technology still has a considerable distance to cover, but it is drawing us closer to the ideal vision of technology-enabled education that we all aspire to achieve.