Updated: May 26
The debate over whether or not to use technology for education has gone back and forth as our society becomes more reliant on technology especially over the past couple of years during the current pandemic.
Many educators still believe that technology will stifle conventional growth, while others believe that it will help prepare students for the real world.
Over the last couple years, especially during the pandemic, there has been a paradigm shift towards teaching across digital video conferencing platforms like Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom. The Covid-19 pandemic changed the tone of the education and technology debate for many. Furthermore, remote learning turned a lot of parents into teachers. To keep their sanity while educating their children, keeping their families safe, and working full-time jobs, parents needed to rely on technology and as a result, needed to train themselves up in using these technologies to be able to educate their children from home successfully.
I believe that technology and being IT literate will help to address some of the big issues that face education today, such as better e-learning platforms and other effective methods to communicate with parents other than the use of email about what to teach and which resources to use when teaching remotely.
Because educators needed to know how to teach quickly, Zoom's usage during the lockdown spread quickly, at one point the company had to invest more in their infrastructure to accommodate the immediate increase in demand. Many teachers quickly tried to adapt their teaching methods so they could utilise video conferencing platforms like Skype and Zoom for their digital classroom experiences, and for some teachers, this change in lesson delivery, was initially an issue they had to overcome quickly.
In the general sense, the use of such digital platforms was a good 'quick fix' to allow the continuation of lesson delivery remotely, however, there were many issues, one major one being where lessons being hijacked by people who were not supposed to be in the lesson.
There are a number of questions schools need to think about if we are faced with a similar situation again.
Are schools equipped to deal with technical issues, such as hacking?
Do teaching staff have the necessary training to be able to use digital platforms to teach remotely?
Which aspects of the curriculum can be taught remotely?
How will schools ensure aspects of the curriculum not taught remotely, can be delivered at some other point?
There are many new challenges and questions which teachers must address as we come out of lockdown:
How do teachers assess the quality of the lessons delivered remotely?
How do teachers address the gaps in learning?
How do teachers plan a recovery curriculum and ensure they are closing the gap between the disadvantaged students and those who are not?
It is not disputed that education was particularly severely affected during the pandemic and continues to suffer. Prior to the pandemic, I believe that technological advances needed to equip schools and teachers to help provide a more holistic and comprehensive education to their students. But now we need technology in education.
These three problem areas are the best places for developers to come up with solutions.