THE SILVER LINING

Post Covid-19 in education: We must adopt new technology

Stakeholders in education cannot afford to go back to status quo

In Summary

•Stakeholders and policymakers in Kenya’s academic sector will need to be receptive and open minded to ideas in a world where tech-based learning will soon be the norm.

•Mwalimu PLUS, an intelligent e-learning platform that shares this vision, has already taken the leap into the future.

Students of St Thomas Amagoro Girls High School at during the launch of an ICT wing at Kiwimbi public library.
ADJUSTING TO HARD TIMES: Students of St Thomas Amagoro Girls High School at during the launch of an ICT wing at Kiwimbi public library.
Image: EMOJONG OSERE

The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed education systems worldwide into an unexpected realm and Kenya’s education sector has not been spared.

Schools are closed and children remain stuck at home. Parents have little to no idea what this means for their children academically.

This may come as a shock to some but I see a silver lining to all this. I see an opportunity that could change education for the better.

The pandemic has left many teachers and schools experimenting with various tools to find what works and what doesn’t.

What is clear thus far is that stakeholders in education cannot afford to go back to status quo: there is need to create a post Covid-19 vision for education.

Researchers Michel Fullan and Maria Langworthy have highlighted three new forces that are converging to break open extraordinary learning possibilities.

In their book, ‘A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning’ they state that the first force, ‘quality pedagogies’, springs from new learning partnerships between and among students and teachers when digital tools and resources become more common.

Pedagogy here means any teaching and learning approach that maximises learning.

The second force, according to Fullan and Langworthy is, ‘change management’, a process that aims to generate change that is “faster and easier than anything seen in past efforts at reform.”

This means that stakeholders and policymakers in Kenya’s academic sector will need to be receptive and open minded to ideas in a world where tech-based learning will soon be the norm.

The third force is ‘technology’ – the powerful learning tools and resources that make the first two forces affordable for everyone.

We have to re-define learning, understand where we are and where we want to go, and then create a roadmap to get there.

Ally Mohamoud: "Part of our response to the destabilisation we have felt in the education sector is to adopt the future now."
Ally Mohamoud: "Part of our response to the destabilisation we have felt in the education sector is to adopt the future now."
Image: FILE

There are two roadmap frameworks that are tried and tested, which we can adapt. The first is the International Society of Technology Education Standards for students. The second is the Future Ready Framework.

Personally, I prefer the ‘Future Ready Framework’ which was developed by the Future Ready Institute. Let me tell you why.

It serves as a structure for digital learning, visioning, planning and implementation as a means to personalise student learning.

The Future Ready Framework emphasises the use of digital tools to maximise learning opportunities and help schools prepare students for future careers.

The Future Ready Framework places personalised student learning at the center of knowledge acquisition. It then builds other aspects of learning upon this centerpiece which are described as gears.

The gears are: Curriculum Instruction and Assessment; Use of Space and Time; Robust Infrastructure; Data and Privacy; Community Partnerships; Personalized Professional Learning; and Budget and Resources.

Partnerships between governments, academic institutions, technology companies, along with telecommunication service providers will help make this a reality.

Part of our response to the destabilisation we have felt in the education sector is to adopt the future now. We have little choice but to get this done.

If all stakeholders play their roles and work together, it is possible that the education system will be better in a post-Covid-19 Kenya.

POST-COVID EDUCATION

The future of education is tech-based: where a student can learn and study from wherever and whenever.

In fact, it will be so good that when the next pandemic hits education will barely be disrupted.

Mwalimu PLUS, an intelligent e-learning platform that shares this vision, has already taken the leap into the future.

What we are looking for now are partners like schools and hardware suppliers such as laptop, tablet, and PC distributors.

Change – especially of this magnitude – is always difficult. But change is the only constant in our lives.

The future of education is tech-based: where a student can learn and study from wherever and whenever.

This is the new normal. And we have to be quick to embrace it or the rest of the world will leave us behind.

Mohamoud is the CEO of Mwalimu Plus Limited,  Email: [email protected]