COVID-19 And The Impact on Education
It’s no surprise that COVID-19 is having a tremendous impact on all aspects of society, in particular schools. Never before have we had massive school closures which are prompting students to learn from home. E-learning has never been done at the current scale, and therefore we are in uncharted territory. We don’t know the full impact of these closures, but we can speculate some of the challenges students and teachers may face.
The Impact of Parents on Education
Research has suggested that there is a correlation between a child’s success and parents' involvement in their child’s education. Now that students have been sent home, it is assumed that the student’s family members will assist with his/her learning process. However, learning at home may open up inequalities between students.
While there are many parents that are engaged with their child’s education and learning process, not every parent has the same resources and understanding of their child’s school subjects. Furthermore, parental involvement is assumed to be supplemental to what is taught in school, but it is not considered a replacement. Given that learning from home has brought a bigger responsibility to parents, it remains to be seen whether families can bridge the learning gap brought about by the loss of time in classrooms.
In addition to awareness of a child’s school subjects, parents are also required to be competent with the latest technology since many schools are shifting to online classrooms and assignments. However, it is unlikely that all parents will have technical knowledge; thus, the lack of resources or knowledge of parents can also increase the learning gap between students.
The Impact of Technology on Education
Classrooms are now going digital in an attempt to continue students’ education. Many college campuses have gone fully virtual for the rest of the academic year and are holding lectures on platforms such as zoom. However, the impact is deeper for K-12 students. Approximately 124,000 schools across the U.S. have been impacted by the closures, and not every school is prepared to transition to e-learning. Many classrooms are not equipped with the needed devices. In other instances, schools do not provide devices to students to complete online assignments. This disproportionately impacts students from low-income or rural households that don’t have access to the internet or personal devices at home.
As one educator commented, “We...have to be so, so careful about this expectation that we go completely online. Anywhere from 10 to 25 percent of my students may not have internet access at home.”
Schools that do have the resources to dive into e-learning are not guaranteed to be successful. Teachers would need to adapt their curriculum to an online environment and many are not prepared for such a drastic shift. Students, in turn, may miss the social component of learning with their peers. One instructor said, “I have run across students who really need that social component to excel in a class. When it’s just themselves and the computer for many hours, they can’t function well.”
Luckily, there are trained e-learning professionals that are helping schools adapt. Perhaps, this shift will continue even after classrooms have reopened once again.
Making an Impact
These are certainly challenging times, but in response to COVID-19, Workvine209 is partnering with Uneed2, a nonprofit organization that provides computers, mentoring, and professional development skills to students and youth in the Tracy community located in California. To help bridge the digital gap, Uneed2 will be refurbishing computers and donating them to students in need from their location at WorkVine209.
You also can make a difference by reaching out to organizations within your local community to help aid schools by providing resources, virtual trainings, or monetary relief. Let us know how you are positively impacting students in your community.
Authored By Kritashi