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In the midst of a global pandemic, how does education prosper forward? Remote learning came in at a time, where the vaccine was nowhere in view and the possibility of a viral spread would pose as an obstacle to many forms of in-person interaction, particularly in indoor spaces such as school buildings. Shifting to remote learning posed an interesting list of challenges to students: separating school from home was difficult for many, but at the same time several students with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia and other language processing barriers fell into effect in these learning environments. The shift to online-based education showed how different approaches to teaching those who want to learn can be just as effective as the traditional classroom if embraced and not scorned and ridiculed.
Students of all backgrounds were shifted into a new way of learning, processing new skills, and even holding themselves accountable to logging on in the early mornings to attend class, no matter how cozy their bed was, this can all be a struggle which college students have battled, while away at school. Differences set aside, there is much that can be implemented to ensure that students, teachers, and administration push forward with achieving Student Success in the Era of COVID-19.
Education for Everyone
In today’s world, students have access to traditional supportive technologies such as abbreviation expanders, alternative keyboards, audiobooks, graphic organizers, optical character recognition, portable word processors, and variable-speed tape recorders. New advances in machine learning and AI are assisting those who are entering the K-12 environment at an accelerated level, this being said, many learning platforms can utilize this data by enhancing personalized learning modules for students accelerating at such speeds. To make assistive technology truly accessible for those who come in contact with reading and comprehension barriers, these initiatives must always keep the user in mind. These technologies are constantly growing ‘smarter’ to incorporate natural language understanding capabilities, such as voice-activated helpers to correctly annunciate hard to navigate phrases or words for those who struggle with learning disabilities.
Chatbots have also begun to help infuse educational experiences by providing a various amount of personalized learning environments and interactions with students. For students who are struggling to keep up with the transition, these assistants can extend a helping hand by providing feedback on presentations, access to additional resources and notes from lectures, and even send little reminders and notifications for when assignment deadlines are coming up or a test has been graded by the teacher or professor.
Embracing the Digital Divide
Many students have found that as the rest of the world has switched their lives and workplaces to the world wide web, they feel that they too are immersing themselves into the real world. With an online class, students are learning to develop the necessary disciplines that are essential for developing further while remote work is taking place. It’s been observed that when students aren’t sitting their required desks in their required physical classrooms, and they are rather expanding their knowledge within their own creative environment, however they see to it. In this thought, students are adopting ownership over their learning experience in order to succeed, but at a much younger age. This is really common in college students, if they go away to college, they quickly learn that Mom or Dad isn’t there to wake them up in the morning and hold them accountable for their actions, so some growing up is in order, for them to take their education seriously. This type of development pushes the adoption of life skills and goals that will continue to benefit them throughout the course of their educational stint, while also serving them in any career that they choose to follow.
Not all school systems are operating the same way, and this greatly depends on how each regional governing body is ruling mandates to be put in place. Some school districts are pushing the adoption of online learning only, but others have been embracing a hybrid integration for teaching students, as areas start to clear their COVID-19 cases out. The pandemic urged teaching professionals for all grade-levels to increase their personal capacity to use educational technology, especially for the students in their classes who might not have access to the broadband connectivity that others might have.
Adaptive curriculum holds a great promise for such blended environments. Self-led learning or Adaptive curriculum allows students who operate at the top of their class to take charge of their learning, at their own pace. A common challenge that teachers struggle with when it comes to Remote Learning is tailoring their instruction to accommodate each individual student’s needs. Adaptive systems can take control and automate these processes by modifying the presentation materials based on varied tiers of student performance. This attempt can vastly improve productivity in the “classroom”, complement instruction guidelines, reinforce lessons, and fill the holes in content gaps. The main goal of this teaching methods is to provide remedial attention where it’s necessary, but also assist those with an advanced skillset, which is hard to do in person, without the help of a teacher’s aide.
Regardless of when students begin to return to in-person instruction, the state of education will never be the same. Many have prospered during the Remote Learning opportunity, but others have struggled to keep up. In the meantime, many technology upgrades have been brought to the table to assist teaching professionals and administrators successfully doing their jobs and having peace of mind as well.