The Covid-19 pandemic still continues to greatly affect our daily lives, with new mutations found and vaccination still far from reaching the scale to put an end to the diseases’ spread. And while nearly all aspects of our lives suffered in one way or another, the educational system is undoubtedly one of those most affected.
However, the effects of the pandemic could have been much worse had it not been for the internet. Particularly, it’s been the lifeline for students in most countries that enabled them to continue their education even during the strictest lockdowns.
Some may argue that the quality of online education is not high enough. Parents and students alike often complain that e-learning is too stressful and can’t substitute traditional lectures and lessons. Despite that, it’s quite obvious that distance learning is still better than no education at all.
Besides, technology continues to evolve. Edtech has seen a huge rise in the past year, and it’s going to grow even more. But even now there already are enough innovations that have drastically changed the way we study. And they’re here to stay even as the virus attenuates and schools around the world reopen.
Here are some of these technologies that are now part of our daily educational process.
1. Teleconferencing Services
Zoom emerged as early as 2013 and was mainly used for business purposes. Despite being named a “unicorn” company four years later, it only became profitable in 2019. During the pandemic, it saw an immense growth of over 300 percent.
The reason for such insane figures is simple: Zoom has proven to be the most effective teleconferencing service for group chats. Therefore, businesses embraced the technology for remote meetings, and schools – for distance learning.
Surely, Zoom lessons and lectures had and still have their drawbacks, among which are:
- screen fatigue;
- lack of contact between teachers and students;
- shorter attention span;
- fewer options for control from the teacher, and more.
Anyway, in a situation when normal classroom delivery is not an option, Zoom and its weaker competitors like Skype do a decent job, giving students the opportunity to study no matter what.
2. Online Tutors and Essay Help Services
Online tutoring has enjoyed a “record-breaking interest” in 2020, Wyzant reported in August. And that’s only natural. With all that’s been said above about the convenience of Zoom sessions, they are still far from being as effective as in-person lessons, which results in students needing extra help from teachers.
School teachers overwhelmed by preparing online lessons and learning new teaching tricks usually can’t help them – and that’s when private tutors providing one-on-one sessions step in. Online writing services became more popular, too, as the need for a great essay helper has never been more acute than during the pandemic.
The reason, yet again, is simple: the less you do during lessons, the more homework you get. So, students found themselves overloaded with assignments and could have suffered much more from stress and anxiety, had it not been for online tutors and writing services.
3. Virtual Classrooms
Another important innovation that helped students and teachers enhance their distance interaction were virtual classrooms. Yet again, such tools as Google Classroom, Miro Board, and Blackboard Learn, were introduced as early as 2011-2014 but saw a huge popularity growth only during the pandemic.
Virtual classrooms provide more collaboration and communication compared to unaided Zoom conferences. Therefore, they’re already enjoying great popularity among private tutors all over the world, and the tendency will undoubtedly linger on.
4. Online Educational Platforms
One of the greatest impacts of the pandemic is the huge increase in the popularity of online learning platforms and courses, both free and paid. Here are just a few examples of such platforms that have been there for quite a while but only became prominent in 2020:
- Khan Academy;
- MasterClass, and more.
Some of the platforms have also been launched during the pandemic – for example, China’s XuetangX and iCourse International. That is not to mention numerous smaller courses by individual entrepreneurs launched on various platforms and marketed through social media.
5. Live Streams
Some professions are not as easily taught remotely as others. For example, there have been lots of concerns about medical students and how they were supposed to practice remotely. The solution came in the form of livestreamed surgeries in VR. The technology has already been tested in Tokyo Women’s Medical University and proven effective.
Live streams also helped liberal arts students – this is how they still could visit concert halls and museums while being physically locked down in their homes. And while this is surely not the same as a real live experience, it’s still better than nothing.
6. Educational Mobile Apps
Last but not least, there are numerous mobile apps. Surely, many students already used them before, but the pandemic made such apps practically indispensable. Quizlet and StudyBlue, Photomath and Mathway, Duolingo, Khan Academy, Udemy, you name them.
Students deprived of usual lessons and lectures started searching for other ways to improve their knowledge – and educational mobile apps proved to be a perfect solution. Now there’s no way their popularity is going to decrease as there has never been anything more convenient in education ever before.
Online learning has proven its effectiveness, but we still need traditional on-site lessons, too. As schools reopen while the virus is still not completely defeated, even more innovations are going to be introduced.
For example, British architectural studio Curl la Tourelle Head has already offered a solution for maintaining social distancing in schools – tent classrooms concept. There are also other ideas like colorful plywood screens for primary schools, and more. The way we study will obviously never be the same, and the best we can do is embrace the change!