What did education learn from the pandemic?

The pandemic changed everything, everywhere, all at once.  In the Spring of 2021, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona declared, “There may be an opportunity to reimagine what schools will look like.  It’s always important we continue to think about how to evolve schooling so the kids get the most out of it.” Now, more than another year later and with the pandemic still not over, within education the sense is that momentum is building to ‘return to normal.’ 

My role is focused on working with K-12 teachers who are integrating technology into teaching and learning. At the start of the pandemic and throughout the subsequent distance learning era, teachers embraced technology because they feared the unknown. Schools and teachers sought to utilize technology for specific purposes and to fill in the gaps. Change was still difficult but there was unity in understanding its necessity and immediacy.

In a recent discussion, one teacher at our school shared that during distance learning she encouraged students to be more creative and was more open to students choosing how to show what they learned.  Once she and students were all back together in the classroom, there was a tendency to have the students do things the same way.

As we approach the start of the 2022-23 school year, the questions of ‘What can we let go?’ as well as ‘What should we keep?’ from our pandemic experience may have been considered but have not been actually implemented.  What will you keep and what will you let go?


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