We all learned to live in a pandemic during 2020. The aftermath of the virus left a mark on the health of humanity and everyday things like work and education. To understand how vital the coronavirus's effect was on society, we can review the official statistics. According to the BBC, the major stock markets had historic declines between March and May 2020. This report (supported by the IMF) also said that the United States had an unemployment rate of 10.4 percent during the pandemic.
In contrast to the economy and the job market, the education industry had a great year. The lockdown spurred schools and universities to seek new alternatives for learning. How did the 'new normal' change the rules of the game for education? Here, we explain how:
Face-to-Face Classes Cancelled
The leading cause of contagion during the pandemic was face-to-face interaction. The virus can quickly spread in closed spaces. When the virus began to be seen as a real threat, health organizations and governments decided to close schools. Millions of students, teachers, and administrative staff were sent home.
In 2020, we all witnessed how universities and schools were empty due to the pandemic. Even though schools are opening again in countries like China or Japan, the second wave of infections is causing mayhem once again. This situation forced governments and institutions to use safer techniques for education. Thus came remote learning.
Studying from Home
Although this type of education already had many users before the pandemic, 2020 served as an ideal setting to test new platforms. The tech industry raced to create more and better systems to support schools, universities, and courses during the pandemic.
A favorite app of students and teachers in 2020 was Zoom. This video calling software had its best year since its creation in 2011. A Statista report said that Zoom grew 169 percent in the last months of 2020. We can also mention Google Classroom, which is used the most by elementary schools in the United States.
Both distance education and work had an exciting year. Many companies moved to remote work and hope to continue using remote service platforms for future jobs. The positive side of this story is that distance learning can be a crucial tool in bringing knowledge to many parts of the world without building large schools.
One of the most common doubts about the effect of Covid-19 in education is about the quality of learning. Although thousands of schools work with remote learning, it is still at the testing stage—it’s not perfect.
Many parents claim that their children are not learning as well as before and that their academic performance has suffered. On the other hand, some families, students, and teachers have said that this method is essential to overcome circumstances such as Covid-19. Education must not stop, and even if distance learning has errors, we must continue anyway.
According to experts, the coronavirus has afforded a higher level of collaboration and participation between students and teachers. Unlike traditional classes, with communication platforms, students feel more confident participating in classes. Stage fright is no longer an issue to participate in lessons.
Collaborative learning is one of the best teaching methods today. This process allows students to make good use of their strengths and receive feedback from their peers and teachers. The pandemic, ironically, is a stage that showed us this positive side for the education of children and young people.
No one was prepared to face all the threats of a pandemic. Perhaps the emergency measures were not convincing, but the most important thing is learning from everyone, without exception. The tech industry was an essential ally for schools and universities. 2020 is a test of how education can help us face future threats.