An instructional coach makes the case that “business as usual” won’t be the proper path once students return to traditional classrooms.
The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc: tragic loss of life, economic disruption, and academic turmoil. Within the wake of such chaos, many folks are checking out fragments that suggest something anything! good will begin of this chapter in world history.
Those anxious to spice up learning through edtech met recent disappointment reading Dr. Arran Hamilton and Professor John Hattie’s recent report “Not All That Glitters Is Gold”; it suggests that the general impact of digital technology on learning has not fundamentally changed since the 1970s. Quality of teaching, they suggest, remains the only most vital component to successful education, regardless of what the context and regardless of what the tools.
A ‘TECH-TONIC’ SHIFT
In pre-Covid times, the adoption of edtech was slowed, primarily, by two factors: limited time for professional development with the existence of good-enough conventional teaching methods. However, there’s good reason to believe that things are going to be different moving forward. For those folks who are teaching virtually for nearly a year now, pushing pedagogy through an electronic pipeline has bred creative adaptations.
I believe the pandemic are going to be viewed as a time period when teachers’ love for youngsters spurred unprecedented technological innovations. My hope is that the fabric conditions for supporting larger-scale changes are here and can begin exposure within the next wave of educational research studies. In fact, new research supporting this view is already emerging.
Some enhancements of pandemic-era instruction will persist. Here’s what I feel those durable power-ups are, also as the way to apply them to your classroom.
More experience and familiarity with edtech: the primary and most blatant improvement is that each one teachers are now better users of technology generally. As new edtech continues to emerge, its adoption is going to be accelerated by improved instructor skill and confidence. Teachers will become better and better at experimenting with new tools and quickly zeroing in on those that really work.
End-user experience is considered as more consistent: While student-centred learning has long been a primary goal among educators, teaching through a tech lens has made “end-user first” essential. The outcome of this is simplifying communications, reducing visual clutter on lesson presentations, and seeking regular feedback from students. Ideally, teachers will survey their students frequently—and allow them to know what their feedback has influenced in order that students have more ownership of their learning.
Increased cognitive empathy: no matter your opinion on the student-camera issue, increased sensitivity to student anxiety and trauma can only improve relationships. But truth advantage of allowing students this privacy is that a lot of teachers without visual access to student faces have come to believe other—arguably more accurate—ways of gauging student comprehension. Interactive technology like Nearpod, Pear Deck, and Flipgrid will still provide the foremost equitable sort of classroom participation, the one where all students contribute. When teachers use interactive tools to see for understanding in school, they’re better prepared to spot and clear up misconceptions before kids leave the space.
A better understanding of the way to use in-class time: Teachers will still use synchronous and asynchronous learning where they need the foremost impact. Students will revisit the small-group collaboration and peer interactions they’ve been craving, while maintaining their access to on-demand content. Ideally, teachers will still create lean six-minute videos that distill what would have previously been 30-minute lectures, and they’ll still supplement these videos with info-gap activities; structured partner discussions; and time for meaningful, student-generated questions.
Other shifts are going to be more transformative; these big-picture changes will, I believe, dramatically alter student motivation and engagement.
More effective differentiation: Harnessing curiosity and joy in learning are going to be more achievable because teacher- and organization-curated curricular and pedagogical materials archives will improve. this may open the floodgates for blended and self-paced learning to occur more consistently. Effective differentiation can become the norm as teacher’s harness learners in producing the conditions of their own differentiation. Kareem Farah’s Modern school assignment is already turning this vision into reality.
Greater emphasis on mastery: the strain between offering unlimited reassessment (which we all know is vital for fostering a growth mindset) with the difficulty in grading on a deadline will fade. Student energy is fuelled by constant, tech-augmented, individualized feedback, leading the shift from grading as compliance to mastery-based grading policies and shed the busywork that doesn’t just bore students but demoralizes them by tanking their grades. Mastery-based grading would foreground the standards for fulfilment of the content standards and encourage students by showing them the way to reach their goals.
Every time I read a piece of writing or opinion focused on learning loss, I cringe. While the sentiment comes from the heart—we all want what’s best for our children—we should recognize that such an idea is rooted in what Zaretta Hammond calls “deficit thinking.” Somewhat arbitrarily, people decided the standards for what students should know and be ready to do at each grade level; likewise, people can reimagine what standards are (or should be) again. When all of the youngsters’ revisit into buildings, we’re getting to find that they need learned quite lot during this pandemic—even if a number of it’s not on the official curricula. And that’s OK.
If you discover what I’m saying here foolishly sanguine, consider what proportion you’ve learned this past year—personally and professionally. In my experience, coaching educators through these difficult times, I even have yet to satisfy an educator who resists incorporating what they’ve learned going forward—who wants to travel back to business as was common. Recognizing this as a legacy moment for everybody involved in education could also be the foremost fitting thanks to honour the value of getting here.