Coronavirus Pandemic – Reshaping Education

In one of my previous blogs “Technology in the Classroom” posted on October 16th, 2019, I wrote about technology in the classroom and I offered reasons for using it in the classroom as well as listing examples of technology that could be used.  When this blog was written, I had no clue that several months later we would have been experiencing a crisis such as the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Schools had to be closed abruptly in order to slow the spread of Coronavirus. Many stakeholders: parents, teachers and other officials have been thrown in a tailspin as a result of the closure of school. Temporary home-schooling, online learning and other forms of distance learning methods brought on innovative drives.  If we consider our current circumstances, we would realize that we have gotten to the point where we have to be creative and innovative going forward.

Many educators would agree that the Coronavirus Pandemic has begun to change the face of education.  Parents and other stakeholders have also begun to feel the ripple effects of the virus on education.

The dramatic shift in the use of technological resources available to us must therefore be adequately mazimised. Technology must now be at the forefront of our existence as it is in more ways than one a solution to many of our problems. 

With Covid-19 consuming most of our attention, this pandemic has certainly highlighted our inadequacies. It has particularly exposed our limited use of our technological resources that should be available to our students especially at the primary school level.  As they move up the education system from secondary school to tertiary level, the exposure to these technological resources and instructional methods would increase.  Fortunately, at the tertiary level in Trinidad and Tobago, the instructional methods may be: face to face; mixed (a combination of online and face to face learning) and solely online learning.

The use of technology in the classrooms of Trinidad and Tobago is not as effective as it ought to be.  The classroom layout, lack of technological resources and equipment and the ability of teachers to effectively use the resources to deliver the curriculum are just a few of the concerns that do not lend themselves to optimum educational opportunities. The education system is still steeped in lecture based and exam oriented approaches in the teaching/learning process and those involved have not been quite open-minded to effect change.

The Covid-19 scenario, in spite of its negative implications, has presented us with a wonderful opportunity to foster new ideas with the use of technology that can be incorporated into the system. Leaders in education must therefore be more inclined to implement the changes. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Interactive Applications (apps) for a variety of subject areas – Phonics, Mathematics
  2. Live television broadcasts
  3. Online Learning tools such as Google Classroom
  4. Videos
  5. Educational software

Another important change that may take place is an increase in public-private partnerships in education.  With technology companies In Trinidad and Tobago such as Columbus Communications (Flow), Digicel and TSTT, there is a solid foundation to begin these changes.

Columbus Communication (Flow) has been making its contribution to education through their premier online educational platform within Trinidad and Tobago for several years.  However, I am not aware if there is a partnership with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to facilitate a learning management system or anything similar but, they have begun to make an impression on the public..

Digicel has recently come on board to provide government with its technological support in incorporating the use of technology in the delivery of lessons.  The Education Ministry has collaborated with Trinidad and Tobago Television Limited (TTT) and volunteer teachers with the objective of providing parents and students with the facility of accessing the School Learning Management System and that is quite commendable.

This list of companies and their contributions are in no way fully comprehensive considering the rapid technological growth that takes place daily.  There is so much that these companies can contribute to reshaping education in /trinidad and Tobago

Altohugh Covid-19 or Coronavirus Pandemic, as it is sometimes called, brought with it great pain and suffering, it may very well serve to shake up our perspective on the impact of technology in education and shift in our approaches to teaching and the remodelling of the classrooms.

I do hope that this blog was informative.

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