Response from David Wills, educational consultant, www.ielts-teaching.com.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak first garnered attention in January 2020, the world has undergone immense changes, with an increasing reliance upon software such as Skype and Zoom affecting many industries. Education is one of those fields, and many are asking – quite understandably – whether this will become the new normal, or whether it is just a quaint fad.
All around the world, students of all ages are being forced to take to the digital classroom as their schools are temporarily closed to prevent the further spread of the disease. It has become suddenly apparent that it is possible to have a single teacher in a remote location teaching students scattered across vast geographical areas. This raises of the question of whether – once the COVID-19 crisis finally ends – there is any need to go back to traditional modes of education or communication.
Certainly, it is understandable that many might now think this. COVID-19 has forced us to reconsider many aspects of our lives and rely increasingly upon the internet and other modern technologies. We are left to wonder what will happen when this is all over – will things go back to normal, or will we be forever shaped by this pandemic?
As millions of students around the world begin learning online, people are asking whether this will become the standard way of learning. It is a reasonable assumption. After all, the cost and convenience of learning via Skype or Zoom is a massive boost over more old-fashioned approaches. But don’t go thinking that in-class learning has gone the way of the dinosaur just yet. We are a long way from being ready for that sort of huge societal shift.
Even if it were possible to conduct all classes via the internet, one still wonders whether it would actually be desirable. Say every high school and university on Earth was able to immediately convert their curricula to be taught entirely online … Would parents, students, or teachers find this to be at all beneficial? From a cost standpoint, yes, but from every other standpoint, no.