Educationally Disrupted by COVID-19

          Education is facing one of the greatest disruptions it has faced in recent year.  The COVID – 19, the coronavirus, has forced schools to go from standard classroom teaching practices to fully flipped classrooms.  Instead of using technology for classroom support, technology is now the teaching tool.  This is changing the face of education at a rapid pace.

          Most educators have never experienced this level of disruption to their craft.  If truth be told, they are still working with models from an age gone by.  The skills required for the students of tomorrow are here today.  More importantly, educators are faced with the reality that the skills they like to talk about, are now skills required of them.

          We, as educators, love to talk about how we are forward thinking, using technology as an educational tool, and teaching skills of tomorrow.  Now, with the discussions going through many social media sites, classrooms are severely disrupted and in crisis.  The technology available that is supposedly so widely used is now the same technology that many realize they only use at a superficial level.  Never before have teachers had to face the challenge of using technology to flip classrooms as the only method for teaching.  The façade of technology use has become apparent.

          There are those who have said that the classroom can be replaced by technology and teachers presenting material online.  Right now, that hypothesis is being tested in real world labs across Asia and soon to be other parts of the world.  Students are isolated in their homes, learning via computer and schooling themselves.  Many are struggling with the technology, struggling with online learning, struggling with isolation from their peers and human support.  No technology can replace a real person and the relationships formed in the classroom.

          The question then becomes will this experiment work or fail?  Those who say education can be done using a computer and online education have the opportunity to see the results in real time across a large number of schools.  What will we learn and take from this?  What will be the benefits of the flipped classroom at this scale?  What learnings will educators take from this so that they are better prepared to teach using technology is this setting?  What skills must truly be taught to students so that they could be successful in this environment?  Or will education simply write this off as an anomaly and do nothing to shift to the future?  What will we learn from this disruption?  These classrooms in crisis with significant academic assessments bearing down on them?

          I would love to hear your thoughts.  Are we going to be better off as educators because of this significant disruption to our lives?  Will our student?  Or will we simply return to the status quo when this crisis ends?

In light of the worldwide impact of the virus on schools and students, how do we respond as leaders to the rapidly changing face of education? Real life technology use is upon us today. Are we ready for it? How will you view professional development differently in the future as a result? What can you do to prepare for next time?

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