Response from Dov Friedman, co-founder, CirQlive.
Because most schools have moved to virtual learning environments in response to COVID-19, what are the likely long-term outcomes of this?
The first outcome will be that teachers and students and administrators see how difficult teaching remotely or online can be. It’s challenging technologically, logistically, socially and academically. As a result, many will seek out and start to use tools that have been designed specifically for online teaching. And as that happens, the barriers to quality online instruction will fall and comfort and use will increase. It will start hard but end very well.
When people find and use the right tools for virtual learning, they will want to do it more often.
That will probably also incentivize and reward companies built specifically for education systems and teachers. The increased use and trial and error will, I hope, clean out the market a bit. The best products will rise to the top. That would be good for everyone. I believe there will be statewide purchases of products to standardize offerings and make them easier to manage.
Will more schools embrace distance learning once we’re beyond the pandemic? If so, what will that look like? Will some educational entities move beyond physical classrooms altogether?
Yes. Many already have.
This is an awful situation, but that can have some good, indirect consequences sometimes. One is that now teachers and students will see the power of video when it can be built in with a learning management system to record attendance and allow one-touch confirmations, while being powerfully hosted on smartphones or other devices. For many teachers, it’s a game changer – changing a classroom to a class in any room.
Could in-classroom learning go the way of the dinosaur or is that panic-stricken hype?
That may be too much change too quickly. In person, classroom learning will persist. We may just see less of it compared to other, technology-enabled options such as video.
Think of it this way, movie theaters still exist because they offer experiences that streaming video can’t. But streaming services made more content more available to more people, faster and cheaper than theaters ever could. Once that technology broke out, things never went back to the way they were.
In essence, what is the future of classroom-based learning and the technology that plays a role in providing instruction?
Classroom based learning will be more and more in-person optional. There won’t be any specific need, any hard requirement to be physically present in a classroom. There may be reasons to be there, but the quality of the technology will make a video experience just as good, perhaps even better and definitely easier than being there.
Integrated remote video will, for example, allow a student to access supplemental resources in real time, materials that may not be available in person, all while being able to see a class, ask questions, and engage with students. Soon there won’t be much difference between being there and being somewhere else – everything will be one thing, the way you may buy shoes online but return them in a store. Or find something online but reserve it at the store. The actual way you get that item won’t matter much anymore.