With the onset of the global pandemic, the ‘new normal’ has been set in all sectors, including education. What was thought impossible has now become a way of life – online education, hybrid learning, project learning and personalised learning. Knowing the need of the hour, school administrators, teachers and staff have worked together wonderfully to make every day count.
Yes, the year 2020 was a kick-starter for all new platforms, and now, tackling the new academic year 2021-22 will be a no-brainer for students and teachers alike. As mentioned before, the practices which were considered impractical have now become possible as educationists seized the opportunity and made quick, concerted efforts to make learning possible. This, in turn, has majorly favoured students and parents with a positive outlook on education.
But with every year passing, is this going to be the new normal? Although we cannot foretell, we can make a few predictions that may come into action, or continue to be, as per research.
- More consideration for students and parents’ circumstances
During the year 2020, a challenging concern was about the electronic devices and internet connection for e-learning. Unfortunately, not all students could get access to resources when it came to education. Parents who work in essential services, found it difficult to give childcare facilities. These pressing problems have raised concerns among schools and therefore, measures are being taken to provide learning resources/materials for every student. Making sure that teachers and students have access to teaching/learning tools will continue to be a priority even in the coming academic years.
- Project based learning
With the previous year passing by, a continuous spike in using EdTech tools for online classes became a constant. This has provided the right platform for children to collaborate and work on projects, in small groups. As far as teachers are concerned, the facility of curriculum delivery is carried forth in an orderly manner. Even though 2021 will see the physical reopening of schools, flipped classroom methodology will still be a practice, considering the success of group work and interactions. Brainstorming ideas while preparing projects will make the entire teaching-learning process interactive as well as informative.
- Professional development of teachers
Teachers took to new methods and ideas while gearing themselves for daily online classes, and this saw a need for training teachers to familiarise themselves with the latest applications and EdTech tools. Thus, teachers’ training sessions and workshops may be a part of the academic years to come.
- Data privacy concerns
Alongside the massive effort to connect students and teachers in digital spaces, data breaches, and inequitable student access was a challenge to educational platforms with technology use. In 2021, school administrators are expected to take additional measures to safeguard data privacy, storage, and sharing resources that will enable students to have access to learning material. Schools and third-party educational technology vendors will need to provide transparency and trust by regular communication as to when and how data is used.
- Vernacular medium
Education is bound to see a dynamic shift in terms of students communicating via technology, as smartphones and internet connections have reached the remotest corners of the country. Classes and lessons in vernacular language will enable education without breaks, and this is expected to grow in the years to come.
Even as we are limping back to normalcy, being vigilant is still a need of the hour. The introduction of vaccines was a giant leap, but taking precaution is still and always, the first line of defence in these tough times. No sector was left undisturbed, and education was one among the many to make a massive change in influencing school lives.
Today, with a boon like technology, it is no news that education is available at our fingertips. The educational sector will continue to make changes and improvise on teaching/learning skills to offer the best kind of schooling. We would never know, but students might choose to study online, and accept that as a way of life.