The education industry is normally one of the unchanging aspects of society. Aside from a rare snow day, it’s generally expected that teachers and students will show up to campuses to learn and teach. The education industry flipped on its head when stay-at-home orders forced students and teachers to learn online. This dramatic shift changes both short and long terms views, practices, and results in the education industry.
Besides the change in classroom setting, the world changed around students, dramatically altering their focus from education to safety concerns, both financially and physically. Change doesn’t happen without consequences. The education industry is witnessing changes in student performance and facing greater obstacles in the fight for educational equality.
The good news for students is that teachers are agile and continuously looking for ways to improve the education they provide to their students. Teachers need time to adjust to the transition as well.
Teachers Will Get Better at Teaching Online
The skills a teacher needs in the classroom don’t directly translate to teaching online. At the moment, teachers who are relegated to online teaching are making do with their efforts to teach online even though it’s not their ideal situation. Covid forced teachers to transition to online education without much of a warning or any time to prepare. Teachers plan out units and chapters well in advance, and not all lessons translate well to online formats requiring them to spend even more time altering lessons to online formats.
Hands-on learning experiences, like experiments and projects, aren’t as easily completed in online learning sessions. The ability to manipulate and interact with physical aspects are integral to a teacher’s repertoire of tools to engage students. Pre-Med and nursing students need to experience cadavers and patients in real life rather than online. Even associate-level biology classes need the ability to dissect animals and learn basic anatomy.
More than most professions, teachers are constantly looking for ways to improve their craft and improve each lesson they teach. Aside from mandated continuing education, teachers are always trying to get the best out of their students; this is why they became teachers in the first place.
Teachers Will Come Up With More Ways to Engage During Online Classes
The Internet is a treasure trove of enriching resources for teachers where they can find quality replacements for in-person experiments. The best teachers find ways for students to engage with the learning material rather than listening to droning lectures day after day. Online learning runs the risks of highly repetitive lectures and subsequent discussion sessions, quickly turning off even the most dedicated learners.
Although online activities don’t have the physical aspect, they do have some advantages over in-person activities. The ability to quickly change parts of an experiment gives students a better understanding of the scientific process and reduces the time they have to wait for results. And, every teacher’s dream, there isn’t a mess to pick up!
Students Will Get Better at Learning Online
Today’s students spend more time online than any other generation of students before them. Covid only increased the hours students spend in front of the screen. Fortunately, students were already using technological literacy to boost their education. YouTube is home to millions of educational videos that can help students from their ABCs to real-world data science applications to those pursuing master’s degrees.
Like teachers, not all students had prior experience with online learning before Covid closed campuses worldwide. Some students will find they enjoy online learning better than in-person learning, prompting them to attend the best online colleges instead of attending local universities. Other students will undoubtedly be clamoring to return to campus and learn in the same room as their teachers.
Students learn best when they are in comfortable scenarios, but not all students have a safe space at home where they can solely focus on learning. It’s important, during Covid more than ever, for teachers and students to be flexible and understand the unique scenarios the current pandemic will create.
Covid’s Overall Impact on the Education Industry May Be Positive
The impact of Covid on the education industry will be felt for years to come. While there may be a slight dip in graduates or high school seniors enrolling in college, the teachers and students will persevere through the pandemic and be better students and teachers when all is said and done. Online education will be of higher quality after students and teachers find new tactics and leverage the advantages of online learning.
Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.