The Impact of COVID-19 on How We Educate Children

Due to COVID-19, students, parents, and teachers are going through yet another hard academic year. 94% of students globally, or over 1.6 billion kids in 200 nations, were affected by the epidemic at the height of school closings, in mid-April 2020.

Recent studies suggest that this time away from the classroom may have a long-term effect on students’ earnings. According to one estimate, the missed revenues from four months of school closures may total $10 trillion, which would represent a loss of global learning. Numerous schools around the world are still closed despite the detrimental effects on learning and mounting evidence that schools are not major hubs for coronavirus transmission.

How have disruptions in schooling affected students’ learning?

In the entire world, school closures have cost teachers an average of 50 days of face-to-face instruction. According to preliminary data comparing pupils’ academic growth and success patterns during the epidemic to those observed in 2019, this time away from the classroom has had an influence on learning.

According to research, while most pupils in almost all grades had made some progress in their reading and arithmetic skills since the pandemic began, the increases varied in size depending on the subject. In the later part of 2019, kids in grades 3 through 8 read similarly to students in the same grade. However, compared to kids in the same grade the year before, students’ math achievement in 2020 was 5 to 10 percentile points lower.

Many people are interested in discovering how this lengthy disruption to students’ education will affect them long-term and what parents, students, teachers, employers, and the government can do to lessen the learning losses brought on by COVID-19.

How have various education ministries reacted globally?

According to a survey of 149 education ministries conducted by UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Bank, almost every nation added additional support programs to address learning loss when schools were reopening. Using internet platforms, TV/radio programs, and/or take-home packages, remote learning was included in its educational response to COVID-19. In many places around the world, online learning has been offered as a solution, however the costs varied according on financial level.

The primary and secondary education ministries of roughly 60% of the world’s nations have developed their own platforms to display instructional materials for instructors and students.

But how successful did nations find the shift to online education? Online learning environments were assessed as either highly (36%) or fairly (58%) effective on a global scale.

Teachers can stimulate interaction between students in small group discussions during video-based sessions. Students can cooperate to develop critical socializing and teamwork skills through game-based learning.

Of course, the data has indicated that effectiveness varies by economic level, perhaps as a result of the ability to fully utilize the advantages of remote learning depending on network connectivity or other prerequisite infrastructure, digital abilities, and/or suitable access to technology.

Companies like BYJU’S are addressing this issue by ensuring that their educational materials may be accessible on SD cards and/or 2G and 3G networks. Their Education for All program’s Give Initiative promotes the donation of older or outdated smart gadgets, which are subsequently reconditioned, loaded with BYJU’S material, and given away for free to kids who don’t have access to online education. Of course, additional public action could help achieve this objective.

What will education look like in the future?

In order to prepare students for when schools resume, many nations have now implemented hybrid learning strategies that combine in-person and online learning.

Mohit predicts that blended learning will keep growing in the future. Learning will eventually incorporate both synchronous and asynchronous online components, allowing students to simultaneously interact with their teachers, each other, and the learning material. “I believe that in the future of education, offline and online learning will be combined effortlessly, and we will be able to strike the ideal balance somewhere in the center. We will see a shift away from the traditional one-to-many strategy in education toward blended one-on-one learning experiences that provide pupils the best of both the physical and digital worlds, the author predicts.

The recent announcement of collaboration between UNESCO and the Beijing-based edtech company TAL Education Group, which already instructs over 3 million students, is another indication of how rapidly the industry is evolving. The goal of this agreement is to employ IT and AI to create a global online learning system that can respond to sudden crises.

Another future-focused educational tool is Onion Academy, which uses AI technology and animated films to convey knowledge and critical-thinking skills. The 5-8 minute-long animated movies are supplemented by an after-class activity on the app to let students study material right away and foster self-directed learning.

The app uses AI and big data technologies to analyze academic performance, create personalized learning routes, and make video content recommendations based on user-specific learning preferences. This type of instruction is popular among pupils. 1.8 million teachers and more than 51 million students are currently registered on Onion Academy. Over 4.3 billion minutes of learning time have been logged on the platform, along with 4 billion activities that have been finished and 150 billion records of learning behavior.

These kinds of collaborations and innovations show how quickly the educational sector is being digitally transformed. The future of education will be centered on the utilization of cutting-edge educational technologies to create a dual-teacher model that combines online and offline instruction.

One facet of how education is evolving is the method of delivery. The abilities that students will require to succeed are likewise changing quickly. Research has demonstrated the advantages of learning through play as well as the possibility for considerable learning gains from games interactions, even while adopting a routine will give students the structure they need to succeed. Therefore, it will be crucial to figure out how to accomplish this in any future educational design, whether it uses an online, offline, or hybrid approach.

Edtech’s development and prospects

It is yet uncertain how long and how much interruptions to classroom instruction will last, but it is obvious that both inside and outside of schools, technology will play a bigger role in daily life. This growth in investments in edtech over 2020 attracted over $10 billion of VC investment worldwide.

The greatest deals in 2020 were made by Yuanfudao in China, which raised $1 billion in March 2020, followed by Chinese company Zuoebang’s $750 million in June. There were notable deals in the US as well, including Coursera’s $130 million round in July 2020 and MasterClass’ $100 million in May. Additionally, a multinational investment company invested $1.5 billion in TAL shares in 2020. Based on analysis of venture capital deals in this area over the previous few years, it is evident that there is significant interest in edtech investments, indicating the sector’s potential for future growth and high quality.

While there are unquestionably enormous opportunities in the field of education – and in the technologies that make these opportunities possible – making the most of these opportunities within the context of children’s and students’ overall wellbeing will require taking into account online safety, the need for stronger connections, and the new skills necessary for success.

We may work to create a future generation that has gained more knowledge from the pandemic than it has lost through creative partnerships like those between Quizlet and TikTok, new content and delivery methods, and attention for children’s general wellness.

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