Online Pedagogy

Is the coronavirus a great opportunity for education?

We must acknowledge it: The virus is a great opportunity for education

Let's stop pretending that children will be harmed by having to learn at home during the virus and school closures

It's actually a great opportunity

The problems caused by the closure of schools are evidence of the digital deficiencies of education. Despite the large amount of free technology and resources available and the goodwill of teachers and students.

The same chaos that the virus is causing in various sectors of industry and the economy makes us focus on the possibilities of the online world.

Educational institutions are faced with the need to transform traditional (and rigid) teaching presence into distance education from one day to the next.

Let's relax our rigidity in education. Let's change the role of the teacher. Instead of repeating information (in the hope that it is enough to learn), we should suggest that a child produce something (anything) and help him or her when necessary and then provide some form of evaluation of the quality of what is produced. We need to encourage children to learn what they want to learn and to be motivated and attracted to learning.

Teachers must stop "teaching instructionally" and start helping children to achieve what they really want to achieve. Teachers can encourage children to work together as a team.

Imagine if school were fun and allowed you to learn what you've always wanted to learn. How many would decide to learn the quadratic formula, or how to balance a chemical equation, or memorize a physics formula?

We must recognize that a lot of learning happens outside of school (informal learning), with the help of parents (and friends). Teachers should stop being the ultimate authority and instead learn to mentor and provide support when needed (also online) and stop pushing test preparation.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, once colleges develop the ability to meet more of their students' needs remotely, there is not much reason to return to previous models.

Instead of online learning becoming a disaster because schools don't really understand how to educate, the virus could become the savior of education. Let's make school closure a positive thing.

In these times of physical isolation, we need and can strengthen human connections, even if they are not face-to-face. In general, we have the technology to maintain social relations at a distance. Technology helps us to stay close, especially in these moments of physical distance.

By Jaime Oyarzo Espinosa

Jaime Oyarzo Espinosa -
Honorary Professor of Research University of Alcalá, Spain
Cátedra UNESCO de Educación Científica para América Latina y El Caribe EDUCALYC
Professor, Master in Experimental Sciences and Technology, National University of Córdoba, Argentina
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Awards for educational innovation, member of research groups and scientific councils of conferences and scientific journals.
Instructional design experience, advisor in virtual universities, curricular redesign and university online strategy.
European Union and European Universities projects for Ethiopia and Latin America. Coordination of workshops and courses in instructional design and digital teacher competencies.
I am passionate about the integration of technology and the contribution to a paradigm shift in education.
I maintain a network of contacts with specialists in different areas and countries. I consider education as a key factor for the economic development of developing countries and regions.