Resilient Students, Responsive Teachers
2020 has been a tough year all around. Children especially have been hard hit by the societal shifts that have happened due to the global pandemic, and the daily routine changes have been difficult for younger kids to understand. They’re used to going to school on weekday mornings, socializing with their classmates and interacting with their teachers. Now many students are learning from home, only communicating with peers and educators through a computer.
While a remote learning environment isn’t what anyone expected at the beginning of the year, students are facing the challenge head-on – and succeeding – thanks to their early exposure to technology. Many children are adept smartphone and tablet users before their first day of kindergarten because of how prevalent devices are in our society.
While leading health experts such as the World Health Organization strongly encourage limiting children’s access to screens, especially for kids under age 5, research shows that when technology is used appropriately, it can be a valuable learning tool.( 7, 8 )
Young learners can use tech tools to explore new worlds and engage in activities that encourage the development of social, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, to name just a few. Now that many students are learning entirely online, understanding how to use technology is even more critical for academic proficiency.
Just a year ago I was teaching my own kids, then in kindergarten and first grade, how to log in and open a web browser,” says Annica Harrison, a San Diego-based STEM learning specialist. “Now they are completing assignments, recording videos and documenting their written work on their own. We all know it has been a very tough year in education especially, but it has been amazing to see how resilient the students are and how strong and amazing our educators are.”
It's not only resiliency that has propelled the success of remote learning. The responsiveness of teachers has played a big role in helping students flourish in the current educational climate.
Educators are noticing how remote learning seems to be advantageous for many students.( 9 ) Some thrive in an environment where they can learn at their own pace instead of following the typical school day schedule, others no longer feel pressured to fit in socially, and still others have more time to focus on schoolwork rather than extracurricular activities – which, while beneficial, can cause students to feel overwhelmed if they’ve committed themselves to multiple clubs and sports.
While some students are floundering in remote learning situations, teachers understand that education is not one-size-fits-all and are moving away from the traditional classroom model. Instead, they’re working to better respond to the needs of individual students and implement changes when in-person learning resumes full time.