From Now On, Blended Learning Will Be The Benchmark
I just read this article in Forbes and would like to share it here. The question we need to ask ourselves is this; will we be taking advantage of this opportunity? Is this something educators are discussing? Is this something they are discussing at a higher level in countries around the world? It certainly is an interesting perspective to add to any conversation about school these days. I think that a lot of the initiatives on school reforms prior to the lockdown of schools have now drastically changed priority. Either because we now have seen some very significant changes in how students are learning with digital devices, changes many were struggling to make, but also because the economy is suffering and funding for different projects might not be so generous no.
What we know is that some students are thriving, some are struggling and for some, academically, these changes have not made a difference. They are at the same level regardless. My school was well prepared for this change, to online teaching and learning, but that does not mean every teacher was. I know some teachers had to use several weeks before they were online and up and going. Those weeks were probably crucial for many students, regardless of their prior academic level.
In general, only those with a solid educational practice, with students who have access to connectivity and devices, and with staff already trained in the use of online teaching have been able to maintain their activity with minimum disruption, while others — the vast majority — have simply done the best they can under emergency conditions, hoping to weather the storm. Forbes
As Norway is slowly opening up schools starting with the lower levels, we have no way of knowing how long it will take before we are back to “normal”.
The problem we face from now on is clear: what initially looked like emergency measures no longer are. From now on, we must prepare for life in a world where a vaccine for COVID-19 is going to take a long time to arrive, which means a great many restrictions on how we used to do things. For a long time, classes will be at half capacity, many students or teachers will be forced to self-confine, attendance will be irregular, and many methodologies we used before will no longer apply. Forbes
According to Forbes, this change in teaching and learning will be permanent. We will not be able to go back to running schools like we used to. I’m not sure if this article is meant for universities, high schools, middle schools, or all of the above, and it is difficult to see how this will turn out. I certainly hope we in Norway will take this opportunity to change what has worked well these last weeks and keep on pushing the boundaries. I hope we can start off the conversations by acknowledging that some students have worked hard now and that they already master all the competency goals required for some of their classes. That they can move on and work on other subjects where they need more work. I hope we can start by saying that students do not have to follow the same pace and do the same tasks. That they can show their competencies in many different and creative ways like writing songs, a student in Spanish class wanted to do that. And I hope more teachers are offering their students voice and choice!
The change will be permanent: educational activity will no longer be face-to-face or online but a blend, able to move from one to another immediately fluidly, continually, through a student’s life, way beyond the school, college or university years. In today’s world, we are all required to continually learn and unlearn, and we will demand conceptual frameworks and tools for it. Institutions, academic directors, teachers or students who are unable to adapt will simply have no place in this new scenario. Forbes