The new coronavirus has created important issues in the education system, closing schools for the rest of the school year and creating a new normal for global students.
Over 1.2 billion children are out of school globally. As a result of this, education has changed drastically, making a switch to online learning, whereby teaching is remotely undertaken on internet platforms.
Almost empty school buses, daily temperature checks, students with classes in school just one or two days weekly (but with a longer school year) — these are some of the radical changes that are probably coming for many students this fall. Covid-19 is expected to remain a threat until at least next spring, and the reliance on “online learning” is likely to continue, which means the neediest students will have the most difficulties. Those who might live in homes lacking computers and good internet connectivity will have additional challenges with the transition to online learning. School officials nationwide are trying to figure out how to make sure that they don’t fall behind.
Research shows that online learning has been proven to increase information retention and take less time, which means that these changes might be here to stay. Could the move to internet learning create a new, more effective method of education? While some are concerned that the hasty transition has hindered this goal, others plan to make online learning part of their ‘new normal’ after seeing the benefits first-hand.
Coronavirus has changed the standards of teaching and learning. It enables teachers today to reach out to their students more effectively and efficiently through video meetings, chat groups, voting, and document sharing. Students seem to find it is easier to communicate on online platforms, so schools may stick to them even after coronavirus, although offline and online learning can go hand-in-hand.
There are, however, some challenges to overcome. Students without quality internet access and proper technology struggle to participate in e-learning; this gap can be found across countries and between income groups.
Despite states’ and districts’ efforts to support students remotely throughout the pandemic, there currently still aren’t enough practices and policies on how students will continue learning, graduate, and then move to college or work. Unfortunately, this lack of guidance will probably affect marginalized groups, such as students from low-income families, students with disabilities, English language learners, and first-generation college students.
Students from low-income families and first-generation college students could face difficulties that permanently change their economic futures. Due to the virus, these students will probably face reduced access to basic needs, like affordable food and housing, and many of them may now also deal with other difficulties, such as grief and trauma. Also, students from low-income families are probably worried about how their college journeys might change, as students who are enrolled in a four-year institution may have to enroll in an affordable community college.