What are the consequences?
This is having a devastating impact on global education and according to the latest UNESCO figures, some 1.3 billion learners across the world were not able to attend school or university as of March 23, 2020. There are many areas we need to address here now.
- Getting the teachers and students online, Providing computers and access,
- Providing digital content and
- Assessing student work online
The speed and scale of school and university closures represents an unprecedented challenge for the education sector and many institutions are scrambling to develop long-distance learning solutions. Even though remote learning is proving successful in some areas, uncertainty regarding the duration of the crisis is complicating the situation. Prolonged school closures can have adverse consequences such as children and youth being deprived of opportunities for growth and development while parents are often forced to remain at home, impacting both family paychecks and the wider economy as a whole. Source; Forbes.
There are huge differences in what the different countries can provide for their students. I was surprised to read this about Seattle:
Seattle Public Schools “won’t transition to online learning,” Superintendent Denise Juneau tweeted last week. “2 things — not all students have access to internet and technology AND educators can’t just switch to online teaching overnight — it’s a specialized approach.”
- Getting everyone online: The differences between what is offered students depending on where they live are staggering. And we have no way to know how long this will last. Can we use mobile phones? Can we provide computers to those who do not have any? Can we provide broadband? Even if we are very lucky in Norway, not everyone can participate online here either. We need to keep an eye on students who have no access. The same applies to teachers. And they may be online, but having to share the kitchen as an office with the rest of the family. Seeing every student will always be a challenge.
- Digital content. There is an abundant choice of content online now. In Norway, they have a lot of free digital content, and it looks like that is the same in other countries as well. UNESCO has shared a lot of digital content the different countries can use. I am sharing the web page here and also some resources I would recommend.
Systems with strong offline functionality
- Can’t wait to Learn(link is external) – Gaming technology to deliver quality education to children, including those in conflict contexts.
- Kolibri(link is external) – Learning application to support universal education.
- Rumie(link is external) – Education tools and content to enable lifelong learning for underserved communities.
- Ustad Mobile(link is external) – Access and share educational content offline.
Collaboration platforms that support live-video communication
- Dingtalk(link is external) – Communication platform that supports video conferencing, task and calendar management, attendance tracking and instant messaging.
- Lark(link is external) – Collaboration suite of interconnected tools, including chat, calendar, creation and cloud storage.
- Hangouts Meet(link is external) – Video calls integrated with other Google’s G-Suite tools.
- Teams(link is external) – Chat, meet, call and collaboration features integrated with Microsoft Office software.
- Skype(link is external) – Video and audio calls with talk, chat and collaboration features.
- Zoom(link is external) – Cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat and webinars.
Assessing student work online, here is the true challenge. How do we assess students online? I will try to answer that in a new post dedicated to online assessment.