October 2, 2023

Key points:

  • The pandemic was tough on education, but wider access to virtual learning is a positive outcomes
  • In particular, edtech helps students and teachers stay connected when they would otherwise have to miss school for medical reasons
  • See related article: Prioritizing teacher well-being can help schools retain talent

There’s no disputing the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on almost every aspect of daily life — from the ways we interacted with the people around us to how we earned our living, received our medical care, and even did our weekly food shopping. However, few areas of modern life were more significantly affected than education.

Students, parents, and teachers alike were compelled to rapidly adjust to new learning methods, environments, and technologies. Today, in the aftermath of the pandemic, the results of this sudden and unprecedented shift to remote learning are being roundly, but not always justifiably, criticized. Though pandemic-related learning loss is a legitimate and profound concern, to discredit virtual learning on this basis would be to misread the situation and to miss out on an invaluable opportunity.

The true lesson of the pandemic is that virtual learning can be an incredible tool for accessing education during crisis periods, including sickness. But creating a remote learning space is not in itself sufficient. Teachers and students alike can stay connected during periods of illness through the effective and strategic use of edtech.

Maintaining connection

Students who experience significant illness are likely to feel cut off and isolated from their peers, their teachers, and their school. The experience of illness in and of itself can be alienating for children, who are often all too cognizant of how their daily reality differs from that of their friends.

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