During the widespread shutdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, many educational institutions struggled with how to best deliver knowledge to students. Some private schools had to shut down entirely because they had no way to teach their children digitally. However, many Adventist schools were able to cope with the disruption of Covid-19 and learned a lot about technology that can help us as we move forward.
The use of technology during the pandemic has shown several benefits of technology for the classroom. While use of web tools increased by necessity, their increased use has brought a paradigm shift to teaching and learning. A study published in Education Sciences found several benefits that web tools brought to learning and teaching during the pandemic:
- Social connections. Students and teachers connected with each other through technology during Covid-19. It allowed them to feel close even when they were not physically in the same space.
- Sharing information. Students and teachers were able to talk and exchange information through technology.
- Motivation and encouragement. Teachers and students were able to motivate and encourage each other virtually and students were able to support each other’s learning.
In addition, webtools can bring excitement and variety into the classroom. Although Covid-19 shutdowns are over in most areas now, we can still access all of these benefits moving forward. Helping students to connect, encourage each other, and share information outside of classroom time can be very helpful.
The use of technology during the pandemic has also made clear some potential problems to consider when using technology for education. Axmedova and Kenjayeva observed these issues associated with the use of web tools during the pandemic:
- Internet connectivity. Some students do not have reliable access to the internet at home, which can make it hard for them to access learning that needs to be done online.
- Increased screen time. Too much screen time can create mental exhaustion, problems with eyesight, and decreased attention span.
- Decreased physical interactions. Use of technology can hinder the physical contact and conversations that students and teachers have in a classroom. There is a kind of isolation that one experiences in virtual classrooms.
- Hands-on activities. Online education can be especially difficult in disciplines that require hands-on activities, such as science and music. Some activities work well online, while others are more difficult to transition to the online space.
These issues may have decreased with the end of Covid-19 closures, but they are still worth considering as we use technology inside and outside of the classroom. Technology use needs to be balanced with other activities and we need to consider access when assigning online work to be done outside of the classroom.
By keeping in mind the benefits and issues of technology that the pandemic has shown us, we can use it more effectively moving forward. Web tools can be a blessing as well as a hindrance in the teaching field, and by using them well, we can help our students to learn effectively and to draw ever closer to God.