With the outbreak of Coronavirus being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, people worldwide are facing a major challenge. Coronavirus has significantly affected all of our lives, but it is also challenging our ability to adapt and be resilient.
We are in a state of emergency and must react with different ways of working, shopping, learning and communicating. Online shopping and social networks are not new to us, nor is distance learning. However, COVID-19 is reviving the need to explore online teaching and learning opportunities.
The education sector is responding to quarantine with a sudden shift to online learning. Nonetheless, online teaching requires careful thinking about how learners and teachers are equipped for the shift and serious consideration about whether the teaching style is still effective when taken from the classroom and transposed to technological devices. Moreover, inequalities are exacerbated when it comes to access to technology and to digital devices. Many learners suffer a form of digital inequality whereby they lack the connections and devices to learn remotely. In fact, this outbreak widens the gap between those able to access digital learning opportunities and those who are shut out. Access is not equal, and we see inequality growing.
And yet, even though the immediate focus is now on technology and tools, the most compelling quality is still human compassion.
Digital learning management systems, communication tools and e-learning platforms are playing a crucial role during this pandemic. Software and apps can help learning providers to manage, plan, deliver and track the learning process.
Let’s have a look at a few useful tools. The list is not exhaustive and adapted for adult education; is an excerpt of a more comprehensive list published by UNESCO.
Digital learning management systems
Moodle is a free open source software designed to help educators create effective online courses
Zoom is a tool enabling video communications, video and audio conferencing, chats and webinars
Canvas offers free online courses and classes aimed at the professional development of educators
These are just a few tools that can help ensure continuous learning during this Coronavirus pandemic.
As you already know, no technology will be able to replace your expertise, your enthusiasm and your human approach to education!
Feel free to comment and share your experiences!
By the way…
The World Health Organisation’s Regional office for Europe offers various online training courses.These are aimed at healthcare workers and public health professionals. In other words, those working on the front line in emergencies.
Discovery Education offers learners various resources and instructional materials about viruses and the outbreak
Morevover: the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Educational Resources and its definition and more open educational resources in literacy and basic education.
[last update 24/03/2020]