At 14:45, on 13 March 2020, John I. Leonard High School in Florida, US – where I am Principal – dismissed 3500 students and 300 staff and faculty members. From that moment on, we all became acquainted with terms such as asynchronous, synchronous, distance learning, and virtual meetings. Among so many unknowns, one change became clear: that online teaching and learning would become our new norm. Personally, I am excited for the opportunities, both known and unknown, that this past year has represented for education.
Up to this point, online teaching has been a choice, but never an essential component of teaching and learning. Certainly, online teaching has its advantages. Among these, online teaching provides students and staff with a choice of location. Even though there is no substitute for face-to-face instruction, online teaching also offers a level of flexibility that provides students with access to synchronous and asynchronous learning.
Now that we are starting to return to classrooms full time, we have the unique opportunity to rethink how we intentionally engage students online and monitor academic learning. In my opinion, online teaching, and the innovation of educational technology, places new interactive tools at the fingertips of our educators and students that can’t be ignored.
These tools help us all to engage different types of learners and their different personalities. One feedback shared by my teachers is that online engagement tools provide students with a safe way to interact, and this is especially true if the student is shy, introverted, or prefers not to be in the spotlight. As a result, there is great potential to evolve our communication skills with the wider school community.
In addition, we have the opportunity to document teaching and learning, and as a result, provide students with a resource of lessons throughout the school year. Another advantage has been the expansion of our proficiency with technology and the opportunity for educators to meet and share information and best practices, regardless of location. For instance, my teachers are able to collaborate with each other, as well as teachers from other schools, using new technology.
If we embrace these advantages, it is my hope that we, as educators, may provide all students, regardless of personality, background, or dominant language, with access to the best education, based on individual strengths.
While we look to take advantage of these great new opportunities, we should also recognise that online teaching has presented challenges that have led to disadvantages. In some cases, online teaching may limit student interactions with teachers and other students. These limitations can negatively impact the ability of students to access and process information, and it hinders student acquisition of social skills, collaborative skills, and critical thinking skills, as well as affecting wellbeing.
The online learning environment also highlights the significance and need for teachers to observe body language that accompanies learning and thinking, and teachers should be able to use those cues to redirect as needed or adjust pedagogical strategies. This is especially true when students are acquiring language or need additional services and accommodations. These challenges are compounded by the isolation of students from participation in in-person social and emotional learning.
We need to acknowledge that virtual social emotional learning is not a substitute for in-person interactions and relationship building.
Online teaching and learning have a future in education. I believe that online learning aligns with how our younger generation decodes their environment. I also believe in the effectiveness of online teaching and learning when used in conjunction with face-to-face learning methods.
This article was published in the latest issue of Cambridge Outlook magazine, which explores some of the opportunities and challenges created by online teaching.
Read the magazine.
At FUNecole®, our main priority has always been to make it straightforward for educators to integrate digital resources seamlessly into their classrooms. FUNecole® themed lessons offer multiple forms of learning elements, fully planned and scientifically designed with comprehensive suggestions, ready-made lesson plans, in-class activities, videos, formative assessments and interactive games that align to international curricula.
As educators ourselves, we know teachers long for freedom and flexibility to nurture children’s creative minds to encourage responsible behaviour and cultivate a spirit of exploration using a holistic and age-appropriate approach. During the pandemic, teachers proved to be committed to maintaining continuity and standards, demonstrating remarkable value in the classroom. Post-pandemic teachers will have an even more decisive role in appraising students emotionally, socially as well as academically.
Teaching students during the pandemic highlighted a new set of challenges. It became increasingly hard to tell what students have understood during the lessons. It is only via these connections that teachers are able to obtain this valuable information to enable them to adapt their teaching, but also recognize how students are feeling about the subject they are reviewing.
Anticipating the new school year will begin in person, the importance of integrating high-quality digital content is even more critical, knowing that students will simply switch off if the content is not engaging.
FUNecole® has been innovatively designed to provide timely, relevant content available on one platform, one solution, with the ability to seamlessly engage and inspire all students. FUNecole® empowers people with interactive learning experiences that incite inquisitiveness, lively and engaging classroom discussions. Simultaneously, FUNecole® teachers can assess and evaluate students’ work online instantly, anywhere, at any time.
Meeting 21st Century Educational Challenges
The FUNecole® dynamic eLearning solution provides primary school students (K-6) a systemic multidisciplinary learning environment, empowering them to face the global challenges in education and for their future productive lives.
The FUNecole® project-based themed lessons incorporate the STREAMS (Science, Technology, Reading & Writing, Engineer, Arts, Math and Social Sciences) approach that supports students to develop higher order thinking skills such as creative expression, innovative design and ethical problem solving.
Curriculum Alignments and Standards
The FUNecole® curriculum is fully aligned with ISTE Standards; the Common Core Standards; UK National Computing Curriculum; CASEL Framework for Core Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Competencies Standards; the 21st Century Learning Framework and Computer Science Teacher Association (CSTA) standards. FUNecole® students are thoroughly equipped to be successful in Cambridge ICT Starters exams and The FUNecole® Solution has been endorsed by Cambridge Assessment International Education since 2012.
For more information on how we can support you, email us at: email@example.com
The American Rescue Plan Act has recently made unprecedented investments into education, allocating federal dollars to build statewide capacity and provide students with devices and broadband access on- and off-campus. More than ever, there is the potential to ensure students are involved in active and engaging learning experiences transformed through technology, state policy and funding. In the upcoming post-pandemic era for learning, how can we ensure that states leverage newly invested digital tools to reinforce student competencies for lifelong success?
A topic of growing interest, some states are considering and investing in opportunities to sustain digital citizenship, defined in the ISTE Standards as the ability for students to “recognize the rights, responsibilities, and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world.” The Education Commission of the States finds that the majority of all states have introduced policies, via legislation or regulation, to promote digital citizenship. However, few have taken steps to codify digital citizenship in practice.
Three reflections from the past year show why states must not lose momentum:
1. Digital citizenship empowers students to engage with the most culturally relevant problems of today.
In the past year, we have observed numerous examples of technology used to raise awareness of ongoing social justice issues, which have led to significant policy shifts. At the same time, technology accelerated the sharing of misinformation about the pandemic. By helping students grow as digital citizens who use technology to facilitate the productive and equitable exchange of information and opportunity, rather than sow discord, we can empower them to engage with global challenges.
2. Digital citizenship takes advantage of active uses of technology.
Teachers note that one of the most significant challenges in the past year has been engaging students in the learning process. Digital citizenship allows students to engineer their own learning processes in two critical ways:
3. Digital citizenship provides a means to further engage the community in students’ learning.
One advantage of remote learning in the past year has been the increased involvement of parents and caregivers in students’ learning. Building on this momentum, some districts have begun exploring how to involve this broader, external community in students’ learning about digital citizenship and reinforce the competency from home.
How are some states leading?
Several states have recognized this imperative and have taken systemic action to promote digital citizenship. For example:
With these examples in mind, states can consider the following actions to ensure that digital citizenship becomes an area of focus in the post-pandemic era.
COVID-19 hit a reset button on education, helping leaders think about what is really important when it comes to setting students up for lifelong success. A focus on digital citizenship as a critical competency in a time where technology is integrated into virtually every part of public and private life must be a part of the rethink and redesign efforts involving stakeholders to identify needs and take first strides.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought forward unprecedented challenges that have affected global education, particularly primary school students who are building foundations for later learning. We are living amidst what is potentially one of the greatest threats in our lifetime, a gigantic educational crisis. According to the World Bank, as of March 28th 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced more than 1.6 billion young students out of school in 161 countries. This is close to 80% of the world’s enrolled students. Not since World War II, have we witnessed so many countries and their schools go into simultaneous lockdown for the same reason. The impact of this virus has proved to be far-reaching, and no one can foresee its effects on education in the long-term. Whilst education required major reforms, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed forward the absolute necessity for educational disruption and online solutions must:
Today’s powerful tech-students need to be ready to face the 4th industrial revolution challenges by developing higher order thinking skills such as creative expression, innovative design, ethical problem solving and global perspective of the world. Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, asserts that there are four distinct periods of industrial revolution throughout history, including the one that’s been happening right now. Schwab describes the 4th industrial revolution as the one that will trigger a dramatic technological expansion, shift the labor market demands and cause profound change in economic and social structures. In the World Economic Forum Report on global employment in 2018, 54% of world employees needed to upskill and re-skill by 2022. In the same report, the need to directly connect school education with workforce demands was referenced as one of the most crucial issues that education faces, as professionals need a broader diversified range of skills that complement basic literacy, numeracy, and science. Today’s Alfa Generation students are more connected, educated, sophisticated and technologically literate. They use smartphones and tablets effortlessly and work with Siri, Alexa and Google Assistants naturally, as young inquisitive minds require engaging learning experiences. It befits the entire educational community to disrupt teaching and learning with high-quality instructional resources.
To conclude, post COVID-19, education will be called upon to formulate comprehensive, all in one holistic, eLearning solutions that meet the challenges of an era of accelerating change and workforce transitions, integrating technology to build a better teaching and learning experience, bridging the division between the 21st century skills required by the labor market and the skills provided by traditional academic institutions.
Digipro Education, pioneers of FUNecole®, leaders in the Ed Tech market and independent of any technology provider, offer an exceptional holistic eLearning environment where primary and elementary students collaborate to solve problems and develop creative solutions.
The FUNecole® solution fully supports STREAMS (Science Technology reading wRiting Art, Mathematics and Social Studies) and facilitates the communication between teachers and students seamlessly, embarking on multidisciplinary learning experiences where boundaries between disciplines disperse.
For more information on how we can support your school, give us a call today on +357 26 955000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.