Post COVID Schooling: Why The Urgency of Sustained Education Technology? | Tom Daccord | 8 Min Read

Since January, there has been mounting pressure on school administrators to reopen their schools to in-person instruction.  One compelling factor is that nearly half of America’s students have not been receiving any in-school instruction and students are increasingly receiving failing grades and falling behind in curriculum content. In addition, there have been public reports warning that COVID-19 is having a “devastating impact” on children’s social and emotional development.

Moreover, the pressure has been coming from powerful quarters. In his inauguration speech, President Joe Biden proclaimed that “we can teach our children in safe schools” (this despite a striking uptick in COVID cases at the time) and more recently pledged to open most of the nation’s schools during his first 100 days as president. For its part, the Center for Disease Control published an inauguration day report emphasizing that the COVID spread seen in other high-density work areas “has not been reported in education settings in schools” and has generally championed the opening of schools. Even the president of the nation’s most powerful teachers’ union, Randi Weingarten, has pledged to get students back in classrooms. “We have to get this done,” she told the New York Times in February.

For their part, teachers appear completely exhausted from the demands of remote learning. For instance, a USA Today report highlighted several teachers who are struggling with the unpredictability and isolation of remote teaching. Emma Wohl, a middle school teacher in Washington state, is quoted as saying: “I spend all day staring at a screen and kind of generating enthusiasm into the void that Zoom is, and I end the day so tired, and so done, and so frustrated.” 

With in-person instruction now imminent in many states, many school administrators are concerned that Zoom fatigue will morph into a broader rejection of technology. Teachers in hybrid schools have been complaining that planning a single lesson equates to planning two separate lessons — one for students at home, the other for students in the classroom. And whether teachers are teaching remotely or face-to-face, technology can go awry with lessons unfolding differently than the way a teacher imagined.  Furthermore, equipment and software are often lacking in schools, forcing teachers to teach in inequitable environments where some students are equipped with the necessary technology, while others are not. Several school administrators have shared with me stories of teachers “gleefully preparing paper packets” in…

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Tom Daccord

Tom Daccord is an international education technology speaker in English, Spanish, and French. He is a former international teacher in Canada, France, Switzerland, and the United States and co-founder of EdTechTeacher. Over the past 20 years, he has worked with more than 10,000 educators in schools and educational organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Tom resides in Medellin, Colombia.