The Educator's PLN

The personal learning network for educators

Where’s the Silver Lining for Education?

With the cloud of the Corona Virus hanging over us and growing by the hour, it is difficult to see any silver lining. Health and safety are our greatest concerns. The stakes are high and the consequences may be fatal to too many. Anything I discuss here should

In the past, many discussions by several education leaders have sometimes suggested the idea of education reform needing to blow up the current education system in order to affect any real change. In March of 2020 in response to a life-threatening pandemic, our education system, as we have known it for centuries, was blown up. Schools across the nation closed their doors, but required their teachers to try to carry on educating their students using online technology. Overnight, discussions, which were in many cases theoretical about online teaching and learning, became a reality. It was a “ready or not, here we come” event.

Educators, who were trained and programmed to teach face-to-face with students in classrooms with a support staff within a larger school building, found themselves alone at home face-to-face with a blank computer screen. This nationwide experience exposed and underscored a number of deficiencies and shortcomings in the system that can now be addressed in many positive ways. How we respond to what we now know may very well evolve the education system in ways not possible before the nationwide lockdown blew it up. From chaos we now have opportunity.

The earliest indications of our preparedness to meet the online challenge to educators underscored the gap that exists in professional development for educators. Teaching online is not the same as teaching in the classroom. Many educators have not been updated in the use of technology and more specifically, online instruction. Of course the system until now was not dependent on online learning, but technology implementation is essential in our computer-driven society. Now that we have exposed the importance of technology in education, we can use this experience to push for more required, universal, and effective professional development. We can also more convincingly support PD with time, money, and structured follow-up.

We are more aware of the basic needs of kids to have a better working knowledge of technology skills. It is an opportunity to evaluate and evolve how we introduce kids to technology and how we incorporate those skills to enhance their learning. We need to develop their ability to be self-reliant in their learning to become lifelong learners.

We are also more aware of the need for a dependable online infrastructure, one that offers access to all. The digital divide must be addressed. Zip codes can no longer be the driving force of quality education.

Social distancing is a new concept for our country. It should be called physical distancing to be a more accurate description. Online we have all gotten closer through connections with colleagues and students. The idea of sharing ideas, and sources has grown as a result of educators needing to quickly grow and communicate effectively online. Another benefit from this collegial connection is a new appreciation, if not discovery for some, of online content. The use of online sources can enhance a text-based curriculum, or even replace it.

In order to change any system the first changes have to be made to the culture. With schools shut down parents have become more involved with their kids’ education. What parents see and experience, with their children learning through technology, goes a long way in educating parents as to what education in today’s world is all about. Of course this does not work as effectively if there are no online connections between educators and students for parents to experience.

Probably the biggest takeaway from this crisis in education is the absolute need for social and emotional learning for kids. We need to address physical and emotional needs before kids can learn. Maslow must always come before Bloom. Priorities need to be readjusted. We see schools adjusting their grading policies. Maybe grades aren’t what we have believed them to be for centuries? It may be time to reassess and adjust. Many schools have cancelled their need to give standardized tests. Again, maybe they need to move down on the list of education priorities. Let’s take the opportunity to talk it through and consider our experiences.

After each and every catastrophic experience this country has endured, it has reassessed, adjusted, and made positive changes for the benefit of all. Beyond the obvious health and safety issues that must be addressed, we need to address the issues of education. The kids who we are educating today will make the decisions of health and safety moving forward. We can’t educate them with the knowledge and skills that brought us to this point. They need more knowledge and more relevant skills to get beyond our limited capabilities. They will be living in a different world. This horrible event that we are now facing has actually given us the greatest opportunity yet to evolve our education system. We need to reassess, reevaluate and prioritize. This opportunity is the silver lining of that very dark Coronavirus cloud hanging over us.

Stay Healthy!

Views: 70

Comment

You need to be a member of The Educator's PLN to add comments!

Join The Educator's PLN

About

Thomas Whitby created this Ning Network.

Latest Activity

Alice Thomas posted a blog post

Why is it so important to write a quality MBA essay?

Writing a persuasive and quality MBA essay is one of the essential stages in the MBA application process. It is an examination phrase where you have to include different information in your essay. This article will explain the importance of writing a quality MBA essay and provide insights into the explored topic. Suppose you require the right information about writing quality MBA essays and improve your general understanding. In that case, you are in the appropriate location because this…See More
Friday
Profile IconMaxBurton, Andrew Hickman, Ellis Leigh and 9 more joined The Educator's PLN
Nov 19
Jamie Costello posted a blog post

Top tips to increase your productivity through your study room

We’re stuck at home with limited access to many public spaces outdoors, including libraries, co-working spaces and educational institutions. These are just some examples of study areas you may utilise when you need a change in scenery to keep yourself engaged whilst you’re studying. Now, we’re being forced within the four walls of our home which means creating a workspace or room has never been more important. The learning environment that students work in can have a major impact on…See More
Nov 10
Profile IconWalter Holz, Sarah Kerttu, Gaby Eyzaguirre and 5 more joined The Educator's PLN
Nov 4
john smith updated their profile
Oct 30
Jamie Costello posted a blog post

3 Best Educational Apps for Student

When we think of mobile phones in the classroom, it tends to be a forbidden subject as teachers found them as a distraction against education. Parents and teachers would do anything to prevent the use of smartphones in the classroom.  Now we’re seeing a different outlook on the benefits of mobile phones in the classroom. In particular, mobile app development is shedding a light on how mobile phones can actually be the key to educational…See More
Sep 30
Agnes Mckenna updated their profile
Sep 29
Eleonore Cowan updated their profile
Sep 29

Events

© 2020   Created by Thomas Whitby.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service