8 min read
By: Natalia Tieso, Mg in Education, responsible for regional development for Latin America at the International Baccalaureate (IB)
The reality of the pandemic has put us to the test in all areas of our personal, social and professional lives. Never as much as now have we had to show our resilience and adaptability.
Without a doubt, the presence of COVID-19 will mark a before and after in education. Just a year ago the coronavirus arrived to change our lives and an indisputable truth is that education as we knew it will not be possible until 2019, in any of its levels or modalities.
The confinement and the so-called new normal that we are living, where we have learned to live with the care and precautions imposed by the new coronavirus, have shown the great gap in access to education and the resources that it requires to be carried out in each country . This inequality of resources, such as the Zoom boom , which separates those who have a lot from those who have little (and even those who have no tools), has forced us to think about the various ways to reduce this gap, particularly on issues very sensitive, as is education.
Technology needed for work at home
Due to the type of work they do, a part of the population has been able to work or study from home. Without a doubt, it has been a privilege to be able to comply with the recommendation to stay at home. Those who have enjoyed such privilege were able to use technology to its fullest, in order to fulfill the work, academic and personal commitments of the whole family, including those who are still students at any grade level up to university.
Emergency remote education, in general, led to a necessary paradigm shift, which we saw in application through synchronous and asynchronous classes, in some cases on television (as happened in Latin American countries, including Mexico , Colombia and Argentina) and It was designed by teachers of different grades. Likewise, the accelerated learning of the students was put into practice with different ways of interacting with the academic contents, the videoconferences and the delivery of the results of the academic work studied.
Technology, a great ally
Technology helped in daily communication, documentation, messaging, information exchange and data protection, among other things when suddenly, children and adults, parents and children, had to start using technological tools of educational support offered by companies that they knew little about or that they had never used in the past, and even did not even know of their existence. These were of great help throughout that period of health contingency. This is how technology has been presented as a great ally, without losing sight of the mission of each educational organization.
Many of these technological tools or applications are related to interpersonal skills, especially those that have to do with self-learning, information hierarchization, research, carrying out activities, delivering tests, digital assertiveness and many more than They have generally given a greater scope to the progress of learning in the virtual world that we experienced last year and that, apparently in part, we will experience in this year 2021.
Image: Ahmed Hindawi via Unsplash.com
The technological giants have turned their attention to education to ensure training processes, in order to strengthen particular skills in students in a world connected by the Internet, so surely soon we can expect more and better tools in this area.
A paradigm shift
The aforementioned is part of the paradigm shift that I mentioned at the beginning, because it is a radical transformation in the way of understanding the term education, in addition to making evident a displacement of the monopoly of formal education compared to other educational options, for For example, the educational offer of platforms such as LinkedIn or Google . By the way, this technology giant, Google, a few months ago announced the launch of courses comparable to full university degree programs, but which can be taken at a much lower cost.
Diversity and inclusion so that no one is left out
In this context, as challenging as it is interesting, great trends appear in the educational field, at all levels and modalities, some that we are beginning to see outlined on the horizon and others that are already very evident. All to ensure student learning and the continuity of the educational process in a world with an accelerated transformation, but with permanent needs.
These are the future educational trends:
- The hybrid or mixed model will be consolidated. Due to the pandemic, when returning to face-to-face classes, the days of the week will be divided to attend groups in parts, that is, one day some will go, another day others will go. Similarly, priority will be given to attending classes that are not so easy to take online, such as those that have to do with labs or physical activities.
- Continuous learning or self-study is here to stay. Since before the pandemic, educational platforms such as Coursera, LinkedIn and Future Learn (free option) have seen the demand for courses that go at the pace of each student grow, but this has been accelerated by the pandemic. In addition to this, large educational institutions have entered into agreements with the most important platforms for learning in their communities.
- IoB (or Internet of behavior) will be used to predict the susceptibility to consume learning . The consulting firm Gartner highlighted in 2020 that the IoB allows associating behaviors and determining consumption trends of individuals . By 2025, more than half of the world’s population will be in at least one IoB program.
- Artificial intelligence is an unavoidable resource in the current context of academic remodeling. Through this tool, the aim is to consolidate the learning process of the students through a pedagogical assistant who contributes to answering doubts at all times.
- Cybersecurity Never before have the data and information exchanges of Internet users been so exposed, which is why the issue of cybersecurity is a matter of debate, both for the privacy of people’s data, and for cybersecurity per se.
- Interconnectivity. As said before, teleworking is here to stay , allowing the functions of organizations to expand, and to consolidate coworking, personalized attention, the use of big data and information security.
- Distributed cloud. If the cloud was already widespread in the world in all orders, this pandemic has put it on the cusp. For educational organizations it is essential to have the cloud service, in order not only to store information, but to protect it in its entirety and to defend it from possible attacks.
- Operations anywhere. It is important that educational organizations provide their communities with tools that allow them to work anywhere, at any time , with the necessary services and tools as pillars to ensure permanent care.
In short, in this year 2021 and thereafter we will see the continuous adaptation of societies to this new educational model that unveiled the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to reduce the educational gap, organizations are working to provide their communities with technological tools in order to strengthen the learning process from home and from the hybrid or mixed model. Therefore, the constants in the educational field will be adaptation, innovation and continuous education.