What did we learn whilst schools were closed?

Published: June 9th, 2020

In recent months, many schools experienced temporary closures to ensure the health and safety of students and staff – but education didn’t stop completely. Schools worldwide temporarily adapted to support students learning from home, and the role of technology in education was put to the test.

So, what did we learn? Distance learning has its drawbacks, but there are a few key lessons that schools can take back to the classroom.

When learning from home, students across the world suddenly had much more responsibility for their own education. This newfound sense of student agency and self-motivation has taught students new skills and encouraged them to take a more active and self-aware role in the learning process.

A part of this was the move to project-based learning. With direct communication between students and teachers limited, the importance of independent learning projects became clear. Giving students the opportunity to manage a project and complete it within a set timeframe helped them to develop skills that will be vital throughout their adult lives.

Having the majority of students learning from home is not ideal for a number of reasons, however. Education is a social experience, and the interpersonal skills that students develop are just as important as their academic achievements. Whilst technologies such as video calls support some interaction, there is no replacement for time spent in the classroom or even playing between lessons.

Another key downside to supporting learning from home is its impact on teacher workloads. Many teachers felt that they needed to create new resources for online learning whilst adapting to the situation on a personal level, taking a toll on their wellbeing.

Education technology solutions such as Promethean’s ActivPanel interactive display reduced this burden for some teachers. Those that used ActivInspire in their schools, for example, could take advantage of the ActivInspire Screen Recorder to quickly adapt existing flipcharts into video lessons, capturing both voice and on-screen actions.

One key lesson that we can take from the temporary shift to distance learning is the importance of adapting existing resources to new situations. By investing in effective technology solutions, schools can ensure their teachers have the tools they need to deliver engaging learning experiences for different situations.

Teachers should also encourage students to maintain the skills that they developed whilst learning from home by continuing to offer project-based activities. In doing so, students can continue to build upon their sense of responsibility and sharpen their time management and problem-solving skills. By placing trust in their students, teachers can best prepare them for a rapidly changing world.

Whilst schools were closed, the importance of technology was reinforced – but so was the importance of the social aspect of education. The relationships between students and teachers, and between young people, are at the heart of every education system.

To learn more about how Promethean’s education technology solutions could benefit your school, please visit our interactive displays page.