Written by Bethan Eveleigh, Academic Officer, Pamoja
Think back to when you were at school. What do you remember? A favourite teacher, your friends, or lessons that you enjoyed? What do you think today’s students will think about in ten years’ time when they look back at their time in education?
Education and students have faced one of the most difficult periods in its history. Schools shut down, teachers and students both told to stay away for long periods of time and the sudden introduction of a new beast – technology.
Whilst students are well versed in the modern language of TikTok, Instagram and Facebook, few teachers are yet to fully embrace technology within the classroom. There are a myriad of virtual educational tools that could be deployed in lessons with ease. ‘Variety in teaching tools, the creation of an interactive and supportive environment, and the implementation of high standards have motivated my students to attend class and excel in their performance’ (Angela Paladino. 2008). Technology has the potential to bolster and improve our current education system if we are ready to embrace it wholeheartedly.
We must prepare students for what the future will bring them. Whilst we could not predict a pandemic that would change the face of education, we can safely say that technology will pervade the day-to-day life of students, especially when they enter the workforce. A blended mode of learning would allow teachers to still retain autonomy of their class whilst providing a level of educational safety that means students could continue learning regardless of the world around them.
Digital and blended learning have the potential to provide the modern student with an educational experience that they will remember throughout their life. For the first time, students have been allowed to learn from home and manage their learning independently. This allows students to pursue the areas of the course that interest them and help to instil a love of learning that is vital in long term success. For many students, online education can provide a break from the stresses of the classroom and allow them to focus on their own needs and learn at the pace that suits them. This would create an educational experience that is more personalised and more memorable for those who find the classroom daunting.
Digital learning allows teachers to focus on their relationship with the student and support their individualised learning as marking and content delivery time can be significantly reduced when effectively implemented. When students receive personalised support, they are more likely to succeed. Success is vital in a young person’s life, and they are likely to remember those experiences well into their adult life.
Virtual education also can provide opportunities to young people that they would otherwise not have. Some schools cannot afford to offer a wide range of subjects due to size or finances. Companies like Pamoja Education can fill this gap and create an educational experience that students will remember for a lifetime that can survive unexpected and sudden school closures.
As educators, we should challenge ourselves to ensure that we always provide the best service possible to our students. The world has faced new and unprecedented challenges this year and sadly, for a lot of students, they will remember the time that their education was disrupted by a pandemic. The best thing we can do for our students now is to embrace the skills that we have discovered and modernise our teaching techniques, therefore embracing the benefits of digital and blended learning.
No matter what the future brings, no matter the changes that the education system goes through, there will always be students who want to learn. I suggest that we embrace technology and see the pandemic as an opportunity to modernise the classroom.