With schools closing throughout the entire nation and families resorting to remote or home schooling, the need for technology as a tool in education is being keenly felt.
It is clear our schools were not ready for the virus. Many districts are sending children home without any education until late April at the earliest. If this is to continue and school is canceled for the rest of the year, children across the nation will miss out on months of education.
This pause presents an opportunity to think about how we educate our youth. Specifically, we have not yet seen the technology breakthrough in education that has occurred almost everywhere else in our society. The time is ripe for that revolution. With companies such as Khan Academy and Primavera, a national virtual charter school, remote education is beginning to surge. Khan Academy is focusing on creating daily schedules for students ages 4-18 to help structure learning while Primavera is set to give government schools impacted by the virus “free curriculum platform, teacher training, and lesson support” according to Corey DeAngelis, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute. Along with many others offering tools for online educational access, students will not have to be set back by the virus.
Additionally, the concept of “school” itself is taking many forms. Learning is no longer defined by time and place. Many school districts are starting to employ Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Like anything new, the roll-out has not been without some challenges. Determining when and how to test students needs to be worked out, as will concerns about cheating. The role of parents is still being discussed. Nonetheless, MOOCs will likely see increasing deployment in K–12 schools with the concern over the Coronavirus.
In short, as ACTE program chair Don Nielsen predicts, “Technology will revolutionize learning as it has already revolutionized most of our society.”