How has the pandemic shaped the future of education?
This year has taught us how flexible we are as a nation – when shops started closing, trade shifted quickly to online, and when schools were forced to close their doors to the majority of children in March, teachers ploughed on with virtual lessons.
The shift has been quick, but in these last few months, we’ve all embraced a new way of working.
Although schools are open to everyone once again, there are still limitations. No whole school events such as assemblies, split playtimes, windows open in classrooms for circulation – we’re far from back to normal, but it’s our new reality for at least the next few months.
What will schools take from this experience and implement into future education? Here are a few ways the pandemic has shaped the future of education.
Technology is a curse and a blessing
Sometimes, when you’re forced into a particular way of working, i.e. virtually, you have no choice but to adapt.
The adoption of tech and other online software has changed the way we work forever. But it’s also highlighted some issues, issues that weren’t addressed before.
For older students who were asked to spend hours in front of a screen learning in school, virtual lessons have highlighted the threshold for online learning. Teachers might not enforce computer learning as much in the future. A study conducted by the University of Peking found that “online sessions between 15 to 30 minutes are most effective”.
Understanding our limits when it comes to online learning has been an important wake-up call for all of us. Incorporating online learning in schools is an essential part of education for all ages, i.e. how to navigate the internet safely. But we must remember there are limits when it becomes ineffectual and has an impact on wellbeing.
It’s shone a light on mental health
Because of the pandemic, anxieties are unsurprisingly high amongst staff, children, and their parents/guardians. As a result, teachers are checking in with their students more frequently; they’re discussing issues that are worrying and causing anxiety amongst their class. Many schools have implemented daily mental health check-ins, to encourage students to talk about how they feel, which is great to hear.
Talking openly is something we should take forward into future education practices. When the world has been vaccinated against COVID, that doesn’t mean anxieties drift away. For younger children particularly, their formative years were spent in lockdown, unable to interact with other children, so adjusting to a new normal will seem scary and will take some getting used to.
Outdoor learning has become part of the school day
Many teachers have been taking advantage of outdoor learning. Whether it’s doing sports lessons outside or taking nature walks and exploring their surroundings.
Being outdoors is something that Scandinavian countries have already embraced. With an abundance of forest walks from their doorsteps, it’s very accessible to them. But here in the UK, you’ve taken a leaf out of their book and battled the winter elements. (For a change of scenery and to keep the germs at bay!)
Outdoor learning could be something that’s continued even once the pandemic is over. In a recent survey, 79% of children said they felt more confident in themselves after being amongst nature. Outdoor learning has also been proven to improve concentration, boost confidence and build better relationships between teachers and pupils.
Opportunities for better relationships with parents
After speaking with some of our school customers, it’s clear that having access to an online portal where parents can communicate with teachers, has had a positive impact. Education technology has enabled them to build stronger relationships with parents.
If your school doesn’t have access to an online portal, you could be missing out on a parental engagement opportunity.
Lack of two-way digital communication could be difficult for parents. At a time where parents are unable to approach the class teacher to highlight individual stress points for their child, an online portal gives them the chance to communicate through chat instantly.
Find out how much your school could be saving with a communication app by using our quick and easy savings calculator.