Pandemic, Education, & Innovation

Today, in response to the question of: “what have we learned from this pandemic time and what innovative ways of education are emerging as a result of having to do everything differently?”- I sighed, once again.

I’ve learned that I miss being in a classroom with learners, a whiteboard, some markers, and a few brilliant questions to discuss and debate. I miss not having to worry about connections, about whose camera is off, about whom I should call next to cover the sound of silence-crickets. I miss being able to make a small joke, laugh together and make memories. Unmediated communication would feel really innovative right now.

Innovation would be facilitating a lesson plan that allowed most of the time for active learning instead of struggling to make sure everyone – those in class, those online, and those who’ll be watching the recording later on – is included in the learning experience. It’s hard to do anything other than presenting when I am catering to so many audiences, trying to be time and modality agnostic!

Despite the heavy presence of technology in classes that I see these days, innovation is not the first thing that comes to mind. Many educators feel desperate rather than innovative. Teaching feels like running a TV show, except there are no cameraperson, no special effects, no editors, and no décor, light, or makeup specialists. Just a lone teacher … and plenty of hats to wear!

Somewhere amid the chaotic changes, the IT support and the educational developer are trying to get ahead of the game, support, and make sense of this new show we call teaching and learning during a global pandemic.