The "new" normal for the education and learning of adults
Digitization ‘the way in which many domains of social life are restructured around digital communication and media infrastructure’, enforces ways of working and learning. In “new” normal, the pandemic definitely affects various educational practices and policies.
The American Dictionary defines new normal as “a previously unfamiliar or atypical situation that has become standard, usual, or expected.” The lockdowns, quarantines, masks, washing hands, physical distancing, and the omnipresent support technology are a “must” to continue for a lifetime.
Learning in the new normalIn society, education, and specifically in the curriculum, the pandemic has brought nothing new but rather has accelerated already existing trends that can be summarized as technologization. Covid-19 has moved curriculum online, all schools have purely on-line courses, forcing us physically apart from each other and especially from the in-person dialogical encounters that classrooms can provide. Technology supports standardized testing and enforces software-designed conformity and never-ending self-evaluation, while all the time erasing lived, embodied experience and intellectual independence.
A one-size-fits-all curriculum does not work for all learners
The current school disruption has amplified education inequities across social-economic classes and regions. In this fast-moving digital world, education needs to be inclusive, ensure equitable quality education, and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Despite all the COVID-19 maladies, the pandemic disruption has brought awareness to new possibilities in reviving our education systems and reshaped schooling perspectives and practices. Lessons learned during the current school disruption should drive educators to change their perspectives and practices. The isolation of each learner in his or her own space should drive teachers to unlearn old habits and acquire new skills of online learning engagement.
Covid has given an impetus to schools to adopt, roll out and use more of the functionality of EdTech tools. After all that teachers and students have gone through during this disruption, the new normal should be blended learning. We’ll move to blended models, where remote and digital platforms support in-person classroom teaching and contribute to minimizing teacher workload.