What to Look for, Post Pandemic

Market Insight

 

Advice to our industry partners in the coming year.

The fact is, in this post-pandemic period, going back to normal really didn’t happen. There is no “normal” anymore.

One of the things our research organization has its eye on is the fact that a shortfall in the number of teachers needed will likely create chaos by the start of the 2022-2023 school year for many schools. We’re advising schools they will see as high as 28 percent less teachers on deck to start the new school year.

In reality, tech really needs to do some work for teachers; it can’t all be supplemental, or even to automate how they’ve always done things before. Tech is not “just a tool,” but should be considered more of a partner that does things for you if you are teaching. Things like animating a lesson, auto-cohorting groups, delivering the right quiz to the right student at the right time, distributing modules of learning without the teacher having to do it, and more -  all so that the teacher can then focus the majority of attention on real interactions to help students fully grasp what they are supposed to grasp.

The management of whole groups, sequencing lessons, distributing random digital files and then fielding questions about what is in which folder - that’s all ridiculous trivial work in this tech age.  There are systems to do these things; it’s just that they haven’t had the advisement universally understood that tech can and should do work, not to marginalize the teacher but to elevate teaching to the true artform that it is. Teaching isn’t supposed to be an endless drudgery, but a sort of hawk-eyed individual help in the same way a doctor gives help to individual patients. Education is the same sort of intensive human activity that is best done when knowledge systems do their job behind the front line, so educators are free to interact and personalize.

 

This is Job-One

Job-One, post-pandemic, is to understand that the whole-group way of teaching and learning really took a beating in the last few years. Too much time spent online, and conversely, high quality online Apps bought by millions of parents for their kids during the pandemic, opened up a storm of questions about the structure of education being all wrong for students today, especially because of equity concerns.

Education can’t continue to run classrooms with a focus on normalizing all students who happen to be in that class because they are the same age and are required to be graded and passed on the manufacturing line up to the next teacher.  That’s just not equitable, as we learned during the pandemic that we are not all alike. We are infinitely diverse in how we learn and when we learn, and yet we continue to be in a construct of one-to-many in schools. Teachers are still encouraged to be leaders of many when their mindset should be they teach to one; even when they have more than that single one, they are all single ones. The more we can use systems and courseware to address students individually, the more equity we will have, and the more human teachers we be.

As leaders in the supply side of education, we have a remarkable opportunity - to help our schools realize the benefits of technology to solve the challenges of the post-pandemic world, and for our learners to receive the world’s best educations.

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