As this year comes to a close, students, parents and teachers are all more than ever thinking about spending more time outside of their homes.
However, the new Omicron variant has brought with it the same looming uncertainty we encountered so frequently over the last year. As a result, the new year of 2022 is likely to be full of plans to return to school in a hybrid format. As this year comes to a close, students, parents and teachers are all more than ever thinking about spending more time outside of their homes. However, the new Omicron variant has brought with it the same looming uncertainty we encountered so frequently over the last year.
As a result, the new year of 2022 is likely to be full of plans to return to school in a hybrid format.
The largest change that hybrid schooling will bring to private schools is a permanent move towards using technology in schools for all learning. The COVID pandemic revealed to schools that we’re able to successfully make the switch to using technology and its potential. A number of schools were finally forced into experiencing the benefit of technology for learning without being prepared. Thus, as we now prepare to go back to school, leaders, teachers and students are likely to recognize the potential of devices for learning in the classroom and at home and will push to make these available.
Why technology in the classroom? First and foremost, our contemporary world or the information and communications age can only be successfully navigated with the support of technology. And if schooling is meant to enable children to prepare for the real world, how then can learning take place without it? We must be raising our students to use, leverage and be responsible users of technology. The post-pandemic world has provided us with the opportunity to make this switch and it is ripe for picking for private schools.
Especially since schools experienced the benefits and conveniences first hand. For instance, previously students attended class and relied on their teachers and selected a set of textbooks that were likely written a few years ago to access the information they were learning. However, with the use of devices, students are now being given access to a much wider selection of relevant and current multimedia while also learning how to find reliable and relevant information themselves. What’s more, they have had opportunities to interact with experts from around the country and the world who come into the classroom via video calls with great ease. Thus, going forward, private school classrooms will no longer be restricted to four walls and archaic textbooks. Instead, we will see classrooms where students and teachers access a variety of up to date resources that may be student sourced or teacher sourced!
Technology in schools has also dramatically changed how schools and parents engage with each other.
During the pandemic, interactions with teachers revealed that online parent-teacher meetings had a much higher rate of attendance than ever before. A move to online meets makes it more convenient than ever before for parents to attend. Additionally, teachers and students are able to put together valuable showcases of student work in the format of personalised digital portfolios that accompany student report cards. Moreover, by leveraging email, schools and parents are in touch with each other on an ongoing basis. Schools are now able to send frequent, interactive, multimedia updates to parents to showcase what is going on at school. Come 2022, schools are likely to make effective use of technology to more meaningfully connect with and involve parents in school activities.
Finally, a big change that we can expect to see in 2022 is more meaningful feedback regarding learning for students as schools work towards building teacher capacity to use technology well and build data literacy skills. Traditionally learning involved exploring a new concept in class with all your peers and from the teacher. This meant studying an entire concept or area of study followed by an evaluation at the end of the unit or end of the term. The evaluation was typically an indicator of one’s success but rarely led to further learning or improvement. This cycle of evaluation will change with the introduction of technology in the classrooms.
With the support of devices in classrooms, teachers will be able to more frequently assess student learning – during and after lessons. And online assessment tools make correction quicker and easier for teachers too. As teachers check for students’ understanding more regularly, they will be able to give students feedback more quickly, meaningfully and also alter their instruction basis student learning. What’s more, is that students will have more data on their performance and can take intentional steps to make improvements to their learning and performance. As private schools begin to adopt technology more widely, we can expect to see a shift towards more data-driven instruction in classrooms and more meaningful feedback to students, both of which have the potential to dramatically improve student learning.
If private schools are successful in making technology available in classrooms and for all students, schooling in the new year and going forward can change dramatically in the future. The new year will come with small changes of access to better resources, improved parent engagement and more data-driven learning. These changes can put schools in a much better position to equip learners for the age we live in – the age of information and communication.