Remote learning. Distance Learning. Hybrid Learning. Home Learning
These are all terms that have been on the tips of our tongues in the education world since Covid-19 changed our lives forever. We know how stressful learning through the pandemic has been for parents, teachers, and students. However, we’re also hearing inspiring stories of resourceful teachers and resilient families meeting the challenges head on and ensuring that students are continuing to learn and thrive in the ‘new normal’.
In Education Week, Benjamin Herold wrote recently that there is no going back from remote and hybrid learning models. He describes the new opportunities, skills, teaching methods, and accessibility that have been enhanced by the enforced move to digital learning models. While education leaders, teachers, parents, and students are reporting the challenges and negative impacts of remote learning, they are also recognising positive experiences and increased flexibility in their lives and work.
Whichever way you look at it, there is no denying that the Covid-19 experience has provoked debates, surfaced issues, and presented opportunities regarding remote styles of learning.
At Makers Empire, we have been inspired by the stories from teachers who tell us that there have actually been some unexpected benefits from remote learning and learning during the time of a pandemic. These innovative teachers have been able to maximise learning opportunities, allowing students to learn in ways that were not previously possible or prioritised.
Here are five benefits of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Helping Students Develop Empathy For Others
There’s nothing like a pandemic to make us feel like we are all in the same boat. This has provided a unique opportunity for students to understand how others are experiencing a situation that they themselves are living through. Many teachers have used this as great starting point for using design thinking to understand the needs of others. See 10 design challenges to promote empathy and positive feelings towards others.
2. Students Identifying and Solving Real-world Problems
In an ideal world learning should always be connected to students own lives and be based on authentic contexts and experiences. Teachers have grasped the opportunity for students to tackle some of the many real-world problems presented by the pandemic. Check out this great example of a Makers Empire teacher who empowered her students to solve real-life COVID-19 related problems.
3. Greater Connection Between Home and School
4. Shift to Digital Technology
Digital technologies have been part of learning in classrooms for a long time now but the shift to remote learning has seen teachers relying on them more than ever to provide quality learning experiences. Many teachers have developed their capacity for embedding technology in their teaching and found innovative ways to maximise the potential of digital tools. Remote learning is shifting digital tools from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’.
5. Students Developing 21st Century Skills
Remote learning models are giving students a unique opportunity and purpose for developing and applying many important 21st century skills. Students are learning new ways to collaborate and communicate as they interact with their classmates and educators in new ways. They are also increasingly being asked to think critically and creative and solve problems as they find new ways of accessing and demonstrating their learning. See what two EdTech experts have to say about remote learning.
We are all hoping for safer, healthier days where Covid-19 is well controlled by an effective vaccine, proactive policies and social behaviours. We can also hope that some of the lessons learned and new skills developed will become part of the new normal and continue to build on the fantastic work that teachers around the globe do with their students.