“I believe the pandemic will be viewed as an incubation period when teachers’ love for children spurred unprecedented technological innovations...In fact, new research supporting this view is already emerging.” (Edutopia 2021)
The ‘Gonski 2.0’ review into Education Excellence (2018), highlighted the need for schools to focus more on ‘broader capabilities’ beyond just literacy and numeracy. In the report, teaching ‘21st century skills’ such as information and communication technology, critical thinking, and collaboration were identified as essential for the future prospects of children.
Remote learning provides valuable lessons for our children on how to adapt to new systems and software, and how to independently troubleshoot technical issues. It also provides a good opportunity to teach and reinforce the responsible use of technology.
Teachers have, and will become better and better at, experimenting with new technology tools and quickly zeroing in on those that truly work. Student centred learning, timely and effective feedback, and more effective differentiation are also possible with the use of the right technology.
John Hattie recently told a forum about education and technology, chaired by the Centre of Independent Studies, that the pandemic had been an important disruptor to the sector and was a “golden ticket” to show teachers how technology could be used in classrooms. (SMH 2021)
Distance is no longer a barrier in many workplaces where technology is used to cross borders and link teams across the world. Far from being an inferior method of instruction, remote learning (done well) exposes students to global practices shaping 21st century workplaces (such as virtual collaboration), and equips them accordingly.
Remote learning also encourages students to take ownership of their learning. The Gonski report highlights the importance of encouraging students to be partners in their learning. This increases agency (ownership and responsibility) and engagement, leads to improved achievement, and creates positive long-term learning habits. Learning from home provides a golden opportunity for students to develop a more mature and responsible outlook on their own education.
Our students’ eyes have been opened to learning outside the classroom, truly helping them along the path of life-long learning. Remote learning integrates school and home life, exposing students to the real possibility of learning independently outside of a structured context. Home becomes a learning environment with the possibilities of establishing real-world links becoming endless.
“When all of the kids get back into buildings, we’re going to find that they have learned quite a lot during this pandemic—even if some of it is not on the official curricula. And that’s OK. Recognizing this as a legacy moment for everyone involved in education may be the most fitting way to honour the cost of getting here.” Edutopia 2021
With the challenges of remote learning come some exciting possibilities.
Peter Grimes | Headmaster
- Takeaways From Distance Learning - Edutopia 2021