The new normal

There are certain key features to ensure that educating in a digital environment is successful.
There are certain key features to ensure that educating in a digital environment is successful.

Many schools have prepared content for a digital environment in case of emergencies or shutdowns but shifting to these digital platforms can be a challenge for both pupils and teachers.

The method we use to teach children, and the curricula that we use to educate, has not changed much over the past hundred years or so. According to Sir Ken Robinson, the education system as we know it today was developed and implemented during the Industrial Revolution, with class sessions even being divided by bells (much like a 19th century factory), having separate subjects, and children being segregated and educated in batches by age.

We’re now living through the Digital Revolution (or the 4IR as it is more commonly designated). Considering the digital tools available to us, and in light of recent global events which have driven increasing numbers of people to work and learn at home, there’s never been a more apt time to revolutionise the way we teach our children.

Go Digital or Go Home

For many parents, there’s no longer a distinction. In the midst of global crises, children are being forced to learn at home. According to research conducted by The California Department of Education, there are certain key features to ensure that educating in a digital environment is successful. Included in these key features are Accessibility, Tools and Devices and Pedagogy & Content.

Ensuring that educators can create a blended learning environment, where pupils get enough individual attention, while managing to interact and participate in digital learning groups online can be key here. Microsoft Teams is one platform that is creating a collaborative digital hub for moving classrooms into the online space. It’s also currently free for schools and universities.

Accessibility

This can be a barrier to entry in a country like South Africa where until recently data prices have remained high. Apart from the price of data, and its subsequent impact on learning, a second consideration is constant internet access through an LTE connection. HP’s Education edition devices, in particular the 1000 series and selected 800 series, come LTE enabled for such purposes.

Tools & Devices

While accessibility is critical, educators have no control over what device their pupils choose to learn on. A favourable home set-up is crucial in creating the best learning environment for pupils to thrive. Having a device that has been specifically created with education in mind is key in such circumstances. HP has created a range of products that are specifically targeted at teachers and students, empowering them to learn from home. This home set-up should include a powerful tool such as an HP Chromebook or HP ProBook to facilitate participation in digital classes, along with a second screen, such as an HP E273m, a keyboard, mouse and HP stereo headset to cancel out background noise and improve attention span (for both pupils and educators).

Pedagogy & Content.

Once devices have been set up, there are a range of pre-loaded tools that can assist in the transition to educating in an online environment. For example, HP School Pack comes preinstalled on all EE Windows devices. With features like Digital Portfolio, these tools can be used to share videos and rich media files, while apps like Kortex provide access to relevant e-textbooks for learning at home.

Preparation is key

As a country, we’re being pushed into the Digital Age faster than we may have planned. Fortunately, our children are digital natives, having never known a world where the internet does not exist. Perhaps it’s time to leverage the educate-at-home opportunity that is being presented to us to transform the way we do education, using the right tools and resources to guide us along the way.

This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by HP.
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