With the move to online, hybrid, or other form of learning that is going to be put in place during this upcoming school year as we continue to traverse the unknown world of pandemic teaching, the amount of technology use is increasing immensely. For some, this is unknown areas where they have not had to use much technology in the past while it is a smaller shift for those that have been blending their instruction for years. No matter who you are, the amount of technology we are depending on for teaching and learning is increased.
With this increase in use, and the amount of new learning being done by many educators, there are bound to be stumbles and missteps along the way. Many educators will be stressed out and unsure about the effectiveness of what they are doing and the focus will be on the technology for many. Even those who have used technology extensively in their classrooms in the past will be dealing with new stressors and unknowns throughout this upcoming year. There will be a strong yearning for “normalcy” when we make it past this panedemic, whenever that may be.
One of my fears when we make it to the other side of this pandemic is that the drastic shift into high technology use during the pandemic will lead to an equally drastic shift away from technology when we can safely have all of our students in our physical classrooms again. (Of course my biggest fear is losing any teacher, staff, or student to this horrible pandemic.)
The more you pull back a pendulum, the more it will go on the other side when you let go, this is basic physics. The amount of pull being exerted on teachers right now is bound to lead to a huge repulsing force after this is all over. As someone who has spent the better part of the last decade helping others use technology to positively impact teaching and learning, my hope is that we can find ways to maintain some momentum from all of this learning around technology use when we plan for our “normal” classes after the pandemic.
What can we take away from this that we can use effectively when we can be face to face with all students? What new tools, methods, procedures are you going to be able to expand upon in future classes? What accessibility tools or universal design principles will be a stable of any future lesson planning? How can we create future classrooms and schools that use what we have learned as we have had to redesign school in such a short time?
It would be awesome if we could come out of this pandemic with a whole new model of what school can look like and are willing to make the changes that we need to make to help every student be successful, to create school that is truly designed for all students. Remember that during this time, many students are struggling and will need immense amounts of support, that there are some students who will thrive in this new environment. There is a reason they are thriving and if we pay attention to why that is, and who they are, that can give us another idea of how we can improve school and never return to “normal” but end up in a much better place than when we started.
What can we learn from this time that can help us become even better than when we started this whole, horrible mess back in March?