Pandemic-forced school closures — from kindergarten to college — will transform how teachers teach and students learn, Kim Hart and Alison Snyder write.
Why it matters: This could be an opportunity to make changes that result in better outcomes for students and better resources for teachers.
- In a new survey of parents by the National Parents Union, 61% said schools should be focused on rethinking how to educate students and coming up with new ways to teach children moving forward as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Here are some of the ways experts say education will change:
1. Redefining assessment: Standardized tests have broadly been canceled this year. While there will be a need to assess where students are academically when classes resume next year, there will likely be more of a focus on mastery-based assessments.
2. New power in the hands of students and parents: Many are considering delaying or forgoing college given the risk of a second wave of this pandemic and the uncertainty of the job market on the other side of a degree.
- That's an opportunity to address concerns about the cost of higher education in the U.S. and how it serves students — and society.
3. More emphasis on personalized learning: Students will eventually return to classrooms and campuses, but virtual education will stay part of the mix.
- Blended learning options where students are split up for classroom learning for a few days a week and online for the remainder will likely become the norm, says Andy Rotherham, co-founder of nonprofit Bellwether Education.
4. Renewed focus on inequities: Larger reliance on remote learning has magnified existing socioeconomic disparities when it comes to access to broadband and devices, plus the availability of a parent to steer at-home learning.
- "Do children have hot spots? Do they have access to devices?" says Elisa Villanueva-Beard, CEO of Teach For America. "It's essential."
Yes, but: There will be a strong pull toward the status quo because people are longing for life to return to the way it was before the pandemic.
The bottom line: One of the most impactful changes brought on by the pandemic is a greater appreciation for teachers' skill, patience and creativity.
- "Ultimately you can have all the tech in the world, but really great learning is a human endeavor," Rose adds. "It's about the teacher and student relationship."