Digital Learning in the Times of COVID-19
Computers and the internet have become powerful tools for improving the way we do almost everything in our daily lives. From communication to entertainment and, perhaps most importantly, education. The increasing popularity of digital learning is a reality that we all need to embrace.
During Covid-19, technology has become more important than ever in the education sector. According to UNESCO, in 2020, more than 1.2 billion students were affected by school closures in 190 countries. Nevertheless, EdTech solutions have assisted in the shift from traditional classes to at-home learning.
Educators can design the curriculum based on the needs of each student. They can also track easily the performance of the students to adjust education strategies.
Abundance of information
Thanks to the internet and technology, we can access a wide range of information for free. They also allow people to create and share content online with just a click.
Better retention of material
Remote learning has seen an increase in students’ ability to retain study material. According to the World Economic Forum, learning retention has been 25% – 60% when participating in online lessons, compared to only 8-10% when learning in classrooms.
The Other Side of The Sword
The advanced state of technology allows parents, students, and teachers to access numerous educational resources such as language apps, video conferencing tools, and online learning systems. However, remote learning has also contributed to widening the digital divide. UNICEF reported that ‘463 million children globally were unable to access remote learning when COVID-19 shuttered their schools’.
While many individuals embrace digital learning, it has not been advantageous to others who might be suffering financial stress and have limited access to technology and internet connection, poorer home learning environment, or are digitally illiterate.
There is an urgent need for new policies and strategies to reduce inequities that exist for vulnerable students, so we can guarantee free and equitable access to technology, the internet, and educational resources for all children regardless of their socio-economic condition.
For instance, the World Literacy Foundation is implementing two edTech projects; Sun Books and DINGO, to enhance the education of children in off-the-grid communities in Africa and Colombia respectively. They provide teachers with solar-powered tablets preloaded with educational content and eBooks.
We are thrilled to see what other digital learning projects arise from this global crisis to support the education of disadvantaged students around the world.