The outbreak of COVID-19 marked the start of a new historical era, one that witnessed unprecedented social, economic, cultural, and educational transformations. For us in education, the far-reaching effects of the pandemic have been felt in every aspect of the learning/teaching process. Modes of instruction have suddenly shifted to the cloud thus enforcing a new reality where digitality takes central stage.
The e-migration of education has created various forms of educational inequity increasing the digital divide and creating new challenges especially for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Distance education does not only require Internet connection but a high bandwidth connection which is not always available for low income families. Digital literacy is another key challenge. Many students and teachers are caught unprepared and lack the necessary digital skills to create, communicate, share, and publish digital content. Needless to mention the cost of digital devices and technical hardware needed to mediate these digital modalities of learning.
Certainly, the COVID-19 pandemic will leave indelible effects on the psyche of our students, effects that will linger for very long period of time. However, as teachers and educators, our role is to minimize the disruptions triggered by this pandemic and help our students regain their balance, enhance their learning, and develop critical skills and a growth mindset to help them convert hardships into meaningful learning experiences.
The first step in this process is to help students learn about the pandemic and understand its effects on their educational, social, and emotional well-being. To this end, I am sharing with you these practical resources to use with your students in class.
The NYT’s Learning Network has this excellent collection of educational resources to help students become informed citizens about the current pandemic. These resources include writing prompts, lesson plans, guides, students activities, articles, and many more.
Facing History “offers an array of resources that speak to the various challenges that COVID-19 has posed and the multiple roles that educators are playing amid the pandemic.”
The U.S department of education offers helpful COVID-19 resources that include “guidance and policies related to elementary and secondary education, special education, postsecondary education, and other aspects of lifelong learning.”
This list I shared a few months ago features 5 insightful books on pandemics. These are reads that will “take you into a historically and educationally insightful journey into the world of pandemics and will introduce you to the stories behind the most devastating epidemics in human history (e.g., the Great Influenza, the Black Death, Ebola, Cholera, etc) and how they have forever changed the world, stories that bear much resemblance to the one being constructed right now as we deal with the current pandemic”.