By Beatriz Amairani Dvila Flores
The question we all ask ourselves is whether education with this situation of the pandemic caused by COVID-19 is being carried out appropriately? Is it possible that students can be affected in the future? How will teachers and principals together with the tutors solve this problem? And finally, what are the security measures that will be chosen when students return to classrooms?
It has been a lot of changes for schools, but the challenge that every single teacher has is to update themselves; because no one was prepared for this situation which in part has managed to innovate in their practices and activities. To be more in contact with colleagues, exchanging techniques and information to carry out activities adapted to the new school year.
To achieve the goal of learning, it is essential to think about all the students and the main needs they have today; mainly access to the internet and having a computer or tablet. This reflection helps us understand the panorama; regarding what it will be like to work from home with young people knowing that only 6 out of 10 have access to these technologies. We also have to consider if they live in a rural or urban area.
The biggest change that education requires in these times is flexibility.
Considering the technological and digital tools as the central means for this new turn of education; I firmly believe that the only educational level that was prepared to attend this new virtual teaching format; is the universities since most have platforms that they used for different student activities such as school services; online events, student reports (assignments, grades, etc.), evaluations, and many others…
Young university students have access to more useful apps and have the knowledge to be able to handle technology more responsibly; be it a computer, tablet, or cell phone with internet access to be able; to carry out their tasks, projects, and activities that their schools demand them.
Those in charge of education in the Mexican government are working to address issues of awareness among young people regarding the pandemic; health issues as well as emotional issues, knowing how to deal with this problem in-depth and keeping students motivated; understanding their technology and communication needs to be able to have the best teacher-student interaction. Implementing these changes helps both actors benefit and the educational knowledge is achieved. They are also implementing a class system through the network of some television stations; to be broadcast live throughout the country, where qualified teachers at all levels will teach all the students; and then they will be complemented by their teachers for the delivery and review of the activities. This plan was implemented by the Mexican government.
Of course, the disadvantages are many, the classroom interaction is not the same face to face as it is online or through means of communication; such as cell phones and text messages, but one of the advantages we have now is the accompaniment of the tutors and parents, it is playing an important role by getting involved in this new role of the student as it makes them commit to their activities. Universities have a great disadvantage because they have increased school dropouts by up to 50%, it is clear that the costs of a university have been inaccessible to many, all caused by the pandemic. There are initiatives in study centers to combat this problem by initiating campaigns and creating different kinds of scholarships to prevent students from abandoning their studies.
The modifications to the educational process of the universities and the new normal have the students concerned about how the classes will be applied since the higher education centers are adapting to the assigned regulations when they can or have to be face to face as classrooms arranged in a specific way to follow the distance measures. Also adjusting the schedules based on the number of students, since it will not be possible to receive the same amounts per classroom as before. This to ensure the health of university students.
On the other hand, in terms of digital and technological tools, we must understand the needs of the student, whether they do not have the devices, or do not have the knowledge of how to use them. We have to adapt to be able to deliver activities and tasks by means such as telephones, which is now the most widely used device and there is at least one device per family; the most common text messages, through different apps such as WhatsApp, where you can send photos of activities and evidence of work, in this way is how the teacher becomes flexible, understanding that not all young people have the same possibilities making these adaptations.
Digital study platforms are gaining relevance and education has untimely migrated to the digital age, in that option, there are also payment tools such as cryptocurrency wallets, which will allow financing some studies with scholarships.