As I was about to begin writing this article, there have been a couple of relevant news alerts:
- The expert committee setup by the Government of Karnataka has approved online learning for school children; details awaited.
- The CBSE has also reduced the syllabus load for Grade 9-12 by 30%.
This in the context of where I live: in Mysore, India.
The US has suspended F1 student visas for the students who have access to online learning; another big fallout in the world of education. This is particularly worrisome for many Indian families who have their children in colleges and universities in the United States. I am sure it is true with many other countries from where students go to the US for higher education.
While the COVID crisis hit humanity, and disrupted life and livelihoods, it also has disrupted education in a big way. So much is being written about and discussed in various forums about the paradigm shift in education: how the digital and online modes have come as a boon to the education sector; how school education to higher education should be leveraging education technology for learning, testing and assessments… So many webinars and virtual conferences to attend and listen to on education and technology, as the experts talk about the newfound passion led by the education technology revolution.
While in the midst of a stormy but very interesting time for education and the role of technology in education, I hope, and would like to believe, that the normal will return one day sooner than later. I know, it is a guessing game, and full of uncertainties.
However, there are discussions about the post-pandemic ‘new normal’, where all education will be in blended format. While the use of digital and online learning have deeply pervaded the education sector, how we educate and how we learn when life returns to normal will be part technology-based and part face-to-face traditional learning – the blend!
What will be the perfect blend? Do we know yet? I am not sure. What I am sure about is that it is time to start thinking about it now. It will be different blends for different formats and different cultures that drive education models.
It will not be like we throw a switch and move from the current ‘fully online’ mode of learning and assessments to perfectly blend with the traditional mode. We have to plan the trajectory of how smoothly we can go from now to the post-pandemic new normal — a cautious approach to descent, if you will.
That will come with a lot of planning, educating the parents and communities about the trajectory, and the little baby steps we have to take. This applies to the educators and all the key stakeholders in education too. The trajectory to the new normal will require a lot of collective thinking, new pedagogy, and finding the right blend that works for all. If not planned carefully, it can be a turbulent ride, and no one will want to experience that.