COVID-19 is a disastrous and unprecedented event that has impacted all elements of the human experience. The education industry is using the setback to implement changes that will improve the learning experience for teachers, students, and parents. Before the COVID-19 crisis, we took education for granted.
Like many things during COVID-19, our perception of education changed. Education is a trusted industry that many people rely on daily. It’s the backbone of local communities and the nation’s economy. COVID-19 won’t do anything to change our perspective of education, but the way we pursue education and how the classroom looks won’t look the same.
Focusing On More Relevant College-Entrance Methods
For decades, students have focused on the scores they receive on the SAT and ACT. States and school districts implemented mandated standardized testing to ensure students across their jurisdiction are learning the same things. The test overload is forcing students to practice rote skills, memorize facts, and lose valuable learning time to the multitude of tests they take each year.
Before COVID-19, the top colleges reduced the weight they put on standardized test scores for other methods. While hard skills are essential to build a foundation for a student’s education, they aren’t the only indication of a student’s knowledge or skills. According to Money.com, 85 of the top 100 schools are making standardized tests an optional part of their application packages since many students couldn’t take the test due to COVID-19 cancellations.
Soft Skills Are Growing in Importance
In the absence of test scores, admission counselors focus on students’ problems solving and critical thinking skills. These are the same skills employers want their employees to have. These soft skills are often better indicators of success in higher education. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree indicates success beyond knowing facts or passing tests.
Soft skills seem like they are personality traits but can actually be taught. The focus on preparing students for certain math problems and specific reading passages lessens their ability to approach unique problems confidently. The answers to life aren’t multiple choice and don’t subscribe to a specific format.
As colleges move away from standardized tests, high school teachers should too. Building strong, independent thinkers improve local communities and the nation as a whole.
Money Is a Growing Concern
COVID-19 costs parents and students the jobs they rely on to put a roof over their heads and food on their table. These needs always come before education. The lagging economy and job market are making it difficult for students to afford school. As a result, students are looking for the cheapest online courses.
At the same time, colleges and universities are running deficits with fewer students. Switching to fully remote learning, and scaling it appropriately, is not a cheap endeavor. Schools are spending money on Internet infrastructure while their physical classrooms and computer labs are sitting vacant.
Students Are Going to Turn to Online Learning
There are many reasons students are finding online learning a better option. It’s consistent, more flexible, eliminates commutes, and is available anywhere. Many students thought they were above online learning or figured it wouldn’t be the same as in-person classes. While there are differences, online learning does closely mimic the traditional classroom.
Using online learning merely as a substitute for in-person learning is a short-sighted vision of the feats technology allows teachers and students to do.
Tech Opens the Doors for Education
Technology gives students access to the best teachers across the world. Young students can learn addition, sight words, and solve puzzles on educational apps designed by learning specialists. Adolescent learners have access to any topic for which they express interest. And lastly, adult learners can quickly upskill through online tutorials or attend easy online colleges and upskilling conferences.
Tech can only revolutionize education if it’s available to everyone. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Students in low-income areas and resource desserts are struggling to get laptops or stable Internet connections. Technology can only create an equitable education landscape if people can access technology. When COVID-19 hit, school districts in urban areas struggled to get laptops and strong internet connections for students to attend virtual school. Chromebooks were even in short supply and sold out in many places across the country.
COVID-19’s impact on the education industry creates lasting change. Most changes are for the good of education. The pandemic also helped the industry find its shortcomings and areas that need improvement. The industry is learning from the COVID-19 crisis, which is the best we can hope for such a terrible virus.