By Dr. Mark Friske
Faculty Member, School of Business, American Public University
Recently, our educational system shifted from the traditional brick-and-mortar institutions to an online format, due to public health concerns from the conoravirus pandemic. This shift included not only colleges and universities, but also K-12 school systems.
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The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Created Barriers to Traditional Education
Right now, many states have issued stay-at-home policies that make traditional brick-and-mortar education impossible.
In addition, most local schools have limited space and are often overcrowded. While these conditions in local schools might work in regular circumstances, they will not work in a time of social distancing and isolation.
Social distancing has become a huge concern for many people now. Even simple acts, such as going to local stores to shop for needed items like food and other household supplies, have become more difficult and rigorous.
Education Is Essential to Personal and Professional Growth
Even during the current coronavirus pandemic, however, education is essential for personal and professional growth. Our current situation should not be a reason for anyone to just stop learning.
Learning is fundamental for our society and economy. Our local educators have had to get more creative to enable students to continue their education. In the current pandemic situation, online education works well; it provides a means of learning while also providing a way to self-isolate.
Brick-and-Mortar Schools Have Adjusted to Online Learning During the Coronavirus Pandemic, But That Change Has Not Been Simple
Any change to what and how we might learn something is not easy to adopt. Many local school systems have had growing pains in setting up the required access points and needed servers to provide the ability for students to be educated online.
This shift to online learning was a natural progression that existed before the coronavirus pandemic. But only a few schools actually used online education formats. Now, there is only the online option for students.
Teachers have also had to get more creative in order to engage their students online instead of face to face. It is easier to talk to struggling students face to face or to contact their parents for help, but the same levels of engagement can also occur online. All that is required is a different outlook and focus.
Online education has become easier to accomplish with all of the technological advances we have had. Some of us can remember when the internet did not exist, but now the ability to learn online and the ease of online education is a definite possibility.
More Changes to Education Will Likely Occur in the Future
Over the years, we have seen many changes to our educational systems, specifically where and how we might learn and grow. These changes will definitely continue in our future.
The key is to be open and ready for possible opportunities. By changing and growing as educators, we might end up being more effective in teaching others new ways to learn and grow. We also might find that there might be more alterations needed to online learning and that those changes will need to occur to ensure our students have a successful educational journey.
Our focus should be on learning and if our students are actually learning at the same level or a better level than before. If our students are learning successfully, then we have achieved this goal. If not, we still have more work to do. As educators, we need to remember that today, we train the leaders of tomorrow.
About the Author
Mark Friske, Ph.D., is a part-time instructor in the School of Business at APU. He holds an MBA in business administration and a Ph.D. in organization and management, both from Capella University. In addition, Mark has a B.A. in pre-law from Bob Jones University.
Mark is a U.S. Navy veteran and has 25 years of management and leader experience with Apple, Citibank, UPS and other companies. He is a management and leadership consultant with Disney.
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