Teaching in the time of Covid
May you live in interesting times. Long held to be, and disputed as, a Chinese curse. Well, we’re living in very interesting times indeed, and, yes, it can be both a blessing and a curse. One of the things that the pandemic and ensuing quarantine can be used for is as a life lesson — it can help us focus on what is important in life. Journaling can certainly help individuals think about the important issues in life. Is keeping up with the Joneses that terribly important when in light of millions of those seriously ill, and hundreds of thousands of deaths from a highly contagious virus, a virus that does not recognize religious or political differences, that is not answerable to any government entity.
Situations wherein individual lives are threatened globally, regardless of their actions, should lead to better ways to communicate, especially using methods that do not include face-to-face interactions. Not only between scientists and researchers, but also between people in many different industries, including government and non-government agencies as well as between all walks of life and educational levels.
This is where teaching more effectively through electronic media can be addressed. Electronic teaching forums and materials have been around since the institution of electronic transmission of data, from the dreaded filmed lectures to interactive web-based media. Corporations and the military have made many advancements in creating and using various tools and methodologies based on web-based training, some with more or less efficacy. White papers have been written, studies have been conducted, and books have been written describing various tools and processes available. Many of these tools and observations can certainly be leveraged for the non-corporate class environment, so primary and secondary teachers are not having to reinvent the wheel, as it were. But it isn’t enough just to use the tools, the teacher’s mindsets also need to be challenged in order to take advantage of the experiences from the corporate world.
True, creating an online experience for an elementary student, or a secondary student will be different than the experience created to train seasoned professionals. But a lot of the foundations have already been put in place, and lessons have been learned that can be leveraged.
Covid-19 is offering educators a chance to bring systems and processes into the information age. To refuse this opportunity is to risk allowing the next generations to fall further behind the technological curve that they will have to face when they start their working career.