Education is a vital part of any society. It shapes future generations. However, COVID-19 has changed daily life as we know it and looks to be here to stay for a while. Let’s take a look at how COVID-19 will change education.
- Virtual learning
As with many other activities, learning is moving online. This means virtual classrooms, virtual exams and virtual office hours. For some students, this change isn’t a big deal. They might be self-studying a good bit anyway and can easily adapt to the new environment. For other students, getting used to virtual learning will be a task in itself. Without face to face instruction, it can be more difficult to understand critical topics in lectures. Schools across the nation are sending out resources to help students cope with the change and find a sense of normalcy again. Fortunately, virtual learning can have some advantages. It eliminates the need to commute to school, and students can study in the environment of their choice.
- New technologies
New technologies accompany the novelty of virtual learning. Teachers are using interactive whiteboards to communicate with students. Teachers can write something on the board, and students can take over the board to provide a response. In small classes, multiple students can be writing and collaborating at once. Although this doesn’t replicate a real whiteboard, it’s definitely better than a boring lecture, which is a one way street of thoughts. Virtual proctoring for exams is becoming more commonplace as well. As the height of COVID-19 peaked during the months of April and May when students were taking final exams, schools needed to find ways to administer tests in a fair manner. A virtual proctor can monitor the mouse movement of a student and detect anything unusual. It will also start and stop the test automatically to prevent cheating. Some teachers are simply opting to release the test at a certain time and expect a submitted paper by two hours later.
- Standardized tests
For some standardized tests like the SAT and ACT, no virtual proctor will suffice due to how competitive these tests are. If students can’t gather in one location to take the official test, there really aren’t any other options. Colleges are considering dropping requirements for standardized tests and instead focusing on other metrics like letters of recommendation, GPA and personal essays. Because standardized tests have already received a lot of criticism, this is a more reasonable change than you might think.
COVID-19 has the potential to change the curriculum of schools for better or worse. Some classes simply aren’t feasible to hold online such as chemistry labs and physics experiments. High schools are thinking hard about ways to get around these obstacles and ensure that kids are learning efficiently. In some situations, they are leaning toward simply forgoing these courses in the first place. It’s possible that the education system becomes condensed with only the most essential classes. For colleges, this could alter degree requirements and majors and minors.
As education becomes decentralized, more and more students might be looking for tutors to supplement their learning. These tutors could either be peers or educators from private companies. A recurring theme is that different people learn differently, and everyone wants to find the style that works best for them. A one on one conversation with a tutor can illuminate new ways of thinking and answering questions. In particular, they can explain concepts from recorded lectures and video courses. The beauty of tutoring is that it can be done virtually and from any location. No matter what your time zone is, if you’re seeking help in the middle of the night, you can connect with a tutor. It will be interesting to see how schools and universities incorporate tutoring in their plans for the future.