Are we seeing something that should have happened 15 years ago?
In the midst of global panic, lockdown and education chaos, throughout mostof the world, a new dawn is rising — eLearning. What was promised in the early days of asynchronous education, sharing through tools such as Twitter hashtags, synchronous education sharing face to face at TeachMeets and online through Google Hangouts, the demand and growth of eLearning is at unprecedented levels.
We are seeing schools having to conjure up solutions to the concept of students needing education but not being in the classroom. Teachers are suddenly faced with problems of how to deliver when there is no physical classroom, no normal, often, no direct contact with students. This is challenging to say the least. The focus on eLearning is suddenly huge. Yet, for eLearning specialists in the world, the tools and best practice remain largely the same as they were 15 years ago. The only difference seems to be that, now, most people in schools are interested in to learn.
It is fantastic to see educators sharing on local and global platforms. I have seen guidance being given on how to connect with students, how to use certain video conferencing tools, how to check students wellbeing online. Much of this is hardly new though, and due to neglect, it’s development both from a logistical and best practice perspective, has been stunted.
Now, I don’t want to sound trite for a minute about the scale of issues people are facing, the suffering, the death and destruction. Likewise, I don’t want to champion suffering just to say, ‘I told you so’. Yet, there are surely positives to come from the current situation we are facing. This may only be minor in the scheme of things, but it could be a huge driver in the realisation that things don’t have to be the way they have always been. We could have a New Dawn of eLearning which, this time, does not dissolve under bureaucracy or get banished to the too hard basket. As @tomwhitby stated recently:
Teaching, learning and working online is no longer a theoretical discussion. After this crisis passes we will continue and improve this in order to be prepared for another crisis. We are evolving. #Edchat
I hope he is right.