“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” — Malcolm X
Education in the post-pandemic era will be unique. The educators will face a major challenge in sharing their knowledge, experience and expertise with their students. Students will be ahead of educators in accessing information through the internet and adapting to technology quickly. Educators will find it challenging to share their knowledge through technology.
Opportunities in the digital world
It is difficult to predict the future accurately, but it is possible to predict it to some level based on the available information, research findings and human imagination. There will be more entrepreneurs in the digital world. There will be immense opportunities for them to explore and experiment. Of course, there will be failures and successes. The bottom line is that we will live in a digital world that offers more opportunities and less threats.
Pros and cons of online education
When the world was under lockdown due to coronavirus, technology helped teachers and students stay connected to continue learning virtually. Thanks to COVID-19 for elevating the importance of technology to enable learning to continue.
In the post-pandemic era, accessibility to education will be easier and education will be cheaper. There will be an increased emphasis on virtual and remote learning and less on conventional classroom learning. Education will be unique with an emphasis on four areas — teachers, students, technology and takeaways.
In conventional classroom education, learners interact physically to network and exchange their ideas. In online education, the learners cannot network, and learning may not be effective due to a lack of physical interaction among the learners and with educators. Additionally, every subject cannot be taught online, as some subjects need physical interaction with teachers and students. Some of the challenges with online education include lack of accessibility to internet resources, lack of uninterrupted power supply to students and lethargy of some educators toward online education.
Emphasize practical education
Traditional teaching and learning are a thing of the past in the post-pandemic period. Learners will opt for vocational courses. Therefore, teachers must impart practical education. They must focus on adaptability, empathy, resilience, creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and complexity. They must update their teaching methods and adapt to technology. They will encounter huge challenges from students who are mentally agile with equipped technology and updated information. Students will ask more questions, compelling teachers to do research regularly. Therefore, educators must be more imaginative and creative to create course curriculum and teaching pedagogy to stay ahead of times and technologies. Teachers must be passionate about their profession and offer value to their students through extensive research.
COVID-19 is an opportunity to reinvent education
Coronavirus has shaken the education system globally. People have realized that they are interconnected beyond borders. Technology is growing exponentially, and keeping pace with technology is a major challenge for teachers.
This pandemic is an opportunity to reinvent education and accelerate online education. Every new generation is superior to the older generation in understanding, grasping and adapting. The older generation is less likely to change their mindset and adapt to technologies. So, educators must rise to the challenge to stay relevant and competent in the post-pandemic world to meet the rising aspirations and expectations of their students.
Technology cannot replace teachers
Teachers have several advantages over students, as they have the ability to convert information into knowledge and share it with students with anecdotes, examples and illustrations.
Teaching has survived since the stone age. It will survive in the post-pandemic period by focusing more on learner-centric education and less on teacher-centric education. Teaching is the only profession that will survive as long as human civilization exists. To conclude, no profession can replace teaching and no technology can replace teachers.
This is an excerpt from Professor Rao’s book, “COVID-19: Humans’ Search for Humanity.”