The coronavirus could help accelerate the technological revolution towards online education.
Currently, worldwide we are experiencing a health crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic. This phenomenon has established a mandatory quarantine, which has totally affected the rhythm of life of many people with external contact, giving more space to virtual interaction.
We are specifically referring to the fact that many schools and universities in different parts of the world, have decided to suspend activities and close their doors, in response to the current public health emergency.
This is when distance education is the protagonist of the moment.
In various parts of the world, students have been asked to continue their academic activities and courses online.
Undoubtedly, this measure could be accelerating a change of style in traditional education, towards the revolutionary online education.
Although this virtual teaching experience is challenging, it will help us to increase the search for technological resources. These tools will provide students with solutions to give continuity to their learning, especially in crisis situations, where face-to-face education is impossible.
ONLINE EDUCATION IS BOOMING WORLDWIDE
Online education or e-learning is the best option to ensure that students continue to see classes and remain active in their learning. Except that it is through their computers or electronic devices from home.
The crisis of the coronavirus is an experience that will surely drive many online learning programmers to design and improve platforms that will empower children, adolescents, parents and teachers, so they can continue their academic activities efficiently from a distance.
Ideally, for the youngest, the dynamics of an online education platform should be simple but interactive.
This feature is also important, so that parents and teachers can help students participate safely and effectively in virtual activities.
ADVANTAGES OF ONLINE EDUCATION
Keep in mind that the new generations are complete digital natives, used to consuming online content and handle technological devices.
Plus, they prefer relevant, portable, self-paced, personalized content.
This is the time to take advantage of all the potential that exists in this group of young people. We must give them the tools to develop their learning skills in the digital environment.
Through this online learning modality, students can be offered something different that can attract them and, at the same time, be didactic and fun.
THESE ARE SOME ADVANTAGES OFFERED BY E-LEARNING:
Online learning is flexible and adapts to everyone’s needs.
You learn from the comfort of your home or wherever you are.
Unlimited access. Conferences can be taken as many times as necessary.
Provides access to updated content.
Active learning. Students can define their own learning speed, instead of following the speed of the whole group.
Effectiveness. It facilitates capture and digest content, which helps you retain information longer.
Less impact on the environment.
WHAT CAN GOVERNMENTS AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR DO TO PROMOTE ONLINE LEARNING WHEN SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES ARE CLOSED?
Governments should inform about resources and digital platforms available and authorized.
Parents and students should know, for example, if classes or exams would take place through a digital platform.
It would be necessary to pay special attention to students who may lack access to technology or the Internet.
The private sector should give flexibility to all parents, for example, by approving telework policies.
Each person is responsible for the care and education of their children during the closing of schools. Especially in the case of more vulnerable children or those with disabilities.
Even with the help of technology, the support of an adult enhances the learning experience of children who make use of online resources.
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF ONLINE LEARNING DURING EMERGENCIES?
This is the time to prepare for an emergency. Investments in alternative forms of teaching such as digital learning, improve the resilience of educational systems.
It is a global agenda that includes all governments, the private sector, civil society and educational institutions.
Some recommendations to promote a quick and effective response in education, during a health crisis or otherwise, is to create digital resources based on educational programs.
When an emergency is declared, schools often close and there are no educational resources available for distance learning.
If we have these technological resources ready, we will be able to respond more quickly. We could also use them in other contexts, in order to enrich the learning opportunities of children who go to school and those who do not.
Also, prioritize Internet connectivity in remote and rural areas. In remote and rural areas there is most notable gap between the need for connection, and resources needed to achieve it.
WHAT SHOULD PARENTS KNOW ABOUT ONLINE LEARNING OR E-LEARNING?
E-learning is breaking barriers and allowing any student, motivated to learn, to transform their lives through online education.
UNICEF, in collaboration with the governments of different countries and other local partners, is promoting online learning. Especially, when such crises or any other case of natural disaster, which would impede classroom education occur.
It is about using technology as an ingredient in a learning experience that includes human interaction. We have to recognize that technology alone cannot replace the help and accompaniment of teachers and parents. This is especially true for younger children.
This new “blended learning” educational model – half online and half face-to-face – should be the future of education.
Since then, online education platforms exist, providing educational videos to millions of people around the world. There are even new generations of robot-teachers who have dramatically improved distance learning.
Likewise, digital university courses have multiplied in recent years, thanks to the benefits and advantages of this type of virtual education.
Many renowned universities already offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees online.
Despite the fact that blended learning is believed to be the ideal method for the future of education, studies have found projections that reflect that online education has been growing rapidly. Even, could totally replace the face-to-face part of the students in the classrooms.
In 2019, 50% of classes around the world were made in virtual platforms, a percentage that continues to increase so much, so that some say and assure that promotions of 2030 students will not know a board or a marker.
It is too early to know whether the result of this acceleration in the ongoing digital revolution will be positive.
However, in education, online learning will be a good tool to help many students continue their studies, while phenomena or disasters occur in the world that prevent students from attending classes.
Teaching paradigms are changing and there is increasing interest in incorporating virtual education models to the learning process.
If we make intelligent use of technology, it will help us evolve as a society.