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September 26, 2020 September 26, 2020

Education during COVID-19

Posted on April 21, 2020 by Sunny South News

We need to add the parents of school age children to the list of people we appreciate during these challenging times.

Additionally, these moms and dads are supported by the dedicated education staff who have scrambled to get education plans in place, establish delivery and monitoring systems, all while often having children of their own to look after.

Grandma and grandpa see pictures of our kindergarten age grandson joined by his three-year-old brother who proudly participates in his own assigned activities at the kitchen table. When we had a video chat last week and the boys were called up from their play in the basement, I asked if they were on their recess. Perhaps, I should not have introduced this recess concept between their homeschool work and play, as their homeschooling appears to currently be a fun novelty experience.

Listening to a phone-in radio show regarding home schooling, many students report accomplishing a day’s worth of schooling in about three to four hours. This is not surprising but it is definitely not any endorsement for home schooling. People who I know to have successfully home schooled their children were exceptionally organized and well-educated people. Though school is often not a great experience for many students, it is indeed preparation for life and includes grounding in logical thinking, social interaction and coping with difficult situations. Many of us remember a teacher who really cared or helped us through a bad spot. I half-heartedly tried to give our sons music lessons when they were young but found work and household duties competed for my time. It became quite clear that their respective music teachers had great knowledge and skills to share that were well beyond me. Therefore, I considered these music lessons a good investment – especially when their skills surpassed mine.

I had completed an in-person and online Adult Education Course Diploma in preparation for hosting practicum students and went on to complete a completely online program through U of A in Information Access and Protection of Privacy. I was surprised in sharing with a colleague (with a teaching background) how well these platforms are suited to the adult learner, that he did not share my views of distance learning effectiveness. I wondered if he worried his profession might be rendered obsolete – though everyone should approach a career with the knowledge that it will evolve to fit current technology.

Since that time, I have marked on-line course material and taken an international series of courses and am amazed at the sophistication of platforms to deliver and assess learning. One of the best features of some on-line learning is the ability to stop and repeat lectures or modules. I could have used this in high school as there are a few concepts that still are not clear to me since missing those crucial classes – like how differentials work – not that it is anything I really need to know. Now I can Google this & get a better answer than from my dad.

Whether we like it or not, our COVID-19 experience will change how many institutions and industries operate. The adaptability of our species will go on to revolutionize careers and business. Even though we are retired and don’t need to worry about our jobs, we still need to cope with changing technology – I miss my old email! Wait – maybe I can get help with my email online.

BARB GOERTZEN

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