Students have always used technology in one form or another for their classes or learning in general. From watching class lectures on YouTube to submitting assignments via Google Forms, these technological advances became part of a student’s academic life a long time back. However, modern online learning platforms are helping this idea of e-learning advance even further, and the COVID-19 pandemic proved just that.
Over a billion children had to leave the traditional classroom setting behind when the pandemic started. A lot of these students then found themselves in front of a computer, smartphone, or tablet where they would connect with their schools or learn via an app or website.
From pre-schools to colleges, online learning has taken over. And it is at that moment when we realized how crucial technology is to our students right now, and how future technologies will dictate the quality of our education.
With that in mind, let us see what we have learned from this past one and a half years about how technology has influenced education.
Online Learning & Education During Pandemic 2021
1# Online Classes
Zoom and Google Meet became the go-to places for online classes. There is no doubt that these platforms, as well as online classes in general, have a lot of problems. However, these classes did make one thing clear – not all classes need to be held in person.
There are courses, like mathematics, machine learning, physics, chemistry, etc. that require you to be practically present in the classroom. However, courses like sociology, history, anthropology, and even basic programming, can be taught online.
That way, colleges can make room for students to take courses in a more relaxed way. It will also spare the students from attending in-person classes under difficult circumstances.
However, this kind of shift will still take time. And in the meanwhile, schools, and colleges can experiment with this kind of curriculum to see how students react, and what the output is.
2# Tutoring & Homework Assistance Platforms
As schools and colleges went online, students took advantage of various online tutoring and homework assistance services to help them with their studies.
You might be looking for a solution to a difficult calculus problem, or trying to figure out the English answers to some tough questions from a novel or story. Whatever the problem is, these online platforms have expert tutors covering a wide range of subjects who are always ready to help.
Whether you are struggling with homework, or do not know why your answers were wrong in a few quizzes, you can communicate with these experts and have them help you out.
A student can avail of these services on demand. So they need not get an appointment with a TA or faculty member and have to wait for days before getting to talk to them. Colleges should learn a thing or two from these websites. With the right technology, it is very easy to apply this system to the school or college environment, where students need not wait to have their problems solved.
MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses – started its journey in the US back in 2008. However, it is only recently that these courses have gained so much attention and popularity. Platforms like Coursera, Udacity, and Udemy offer various online courses on different subjects taught by academic professionals as well as industry experts so that we get the best industry experience.
They then distribute these courses on their platforms where students can learn after paying a small fee. Compared to longer university courses, these MOOCs are usually more practical, and industry-oriented.
When the pandemic began and schools were closed down, students took to these platforms to learn new things, and hone their existing skills. One of the major advantages of these courses is that students can learn whenever they want, and however they like. They would also get to focus on a particular area instead of having to complete unrelated courses like they do in colleges.
The pandemic showed the world that such MOOCs are indeed valuable, which is why Google decided to put these platforms to good use to develop industry experts of the future. They teamed up with Coursera to release Google-certified courses, led by experts from Google.
They focus on skills like data analytics, programming, project management, and so on, and the best part about it is that a lot of other tech companies are partners in this program and have offered to hire people who complete the Google-certified MOOCs. So in a way, these MOOCs are not just teaching people, but are also helping them land jobs.
All these points should convince anyone that technology has indeed changed education. Seeing these things work out in real life during the pandemic gives us a bit of hope regarding the future of our education systems. And while some problems are yet to be solved, we will likely see solutions to them once the process to adopt such technology begins.