With classes straight from the primary up to the tertiary level being continued using various online platforms, students seem to not be missing out at all. Very good. It is great that during the unprecedented break in school time, teachers and lecturers have been able to make the necessary adjustments in order to keep their students up to speed with what they need to be taught. Some teachers are busier now more than ever before trying to learn the ropes of how to fully utilize certain online learning platforms like Skype and Zoom. For some, that is the least of their problems, since they can’t teach over the internet, with no internet.
What we know for sure is that this period will see many students and teachers left behind. Between not having the technological infrastructure in place to engage in virtual teaching and learning and not having the know-how where using these technologies is concerned, some persons just aren’t able to continue on with the educational process as before. And then of course, many students who swear they are on vacation, just don’t care to encumber themselves with the stresses of making the necessary adjustments.
Notwithstanding this though, many schools by now have started adjusting quite well. In fact, a number of schools continue to engage their academic staff in training which will see them speaking the language of technology much more fluently. These teachers will retain their newly developed skills even after the passing of COVID-19. What will that mean for classroom culture moving forward? What I wonder is whether or not this paradigm shift from the traditional chalk and talk to the more modern ‘Zoom’ and ‘Google Classroom’ will ever fully fade out. Things have changed. And perhaps technology was always the future of our formal education, but now we are actually starting to see this future play out.
Naturally, with every major change in culture, some get left behind. I’m sure that some educators will eventually sift themselves from the system out of frustration with the new state of affairs when not only assignments but examinations are administered online. Unfortunate, yes. But inevitable. Hopefully, the shift in culture will be gradual enough to accommodate the change-averse. Otherwise, they will have a very rude awakening.
The truth is though, the education sector is simply one of many sectors that have undergone severe reconstruction due to the effects of the COVID-19 spread. Banks have, for years sought to encourage customers to utilize various online banking platforms, but to no avail. Now, people simply have no choice. Apart from those seriously averse to change, only seriously under-resourced persons who have little or no access to internet will now find themselves physically present in the banks. While the fear of COVID-19 keeps us in doors, we all will begin to discover that many of the errands that had us driving around the country can easily be carried out remotely.
Schools, just like all other institutions will see changes. Fortunately for the education sector, things need not shut down altogether like in other sectors. We have the chance of transforming the teaching process into something great under the impending technology takeover. We will have to move on. That is, move on with the times.