Silver linings in K-12 online learning

No one could have imagined the impact a global pandemic would have on the education landscape. Educators were asked to pivot and teach online with almost no notice. Across the nation, teachers have been learning new technologies and pedagogies to ensure students are successful, often with little to no training and few resources. Students have been working hard, trying to adjust to the new online learning environment, and doing their best to keep up.

These efforts have been heroic, but they have also taken their toll. Tales of exhaustion and burnout by teachers, and isolation and frustration by students, are common and often accompanied by cries of wanting to go back to schools and get back to “normal.” For many, this crisis has resulted in serious negative outcomes, including academic backsliding and depression.

However, there is a silver lining — not everyone is merely “surviving” the pandemic; many students are thriving in the online environment. These stories are vital because they remind us that when it comes to education, one size does not fit all. While getting back to school is critical to the success of many, we must also consider what is working in the online environment and recognize for whom it’s working–to create a more equitable landscape for those who struggle in traditional models, including many students of color.

Karen Santos Rogers, Associate Dean of Education, Trinity Washington University

Karen Santos Rogers is the Associate Dean of Education at Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC. Her research focuses on literacy and instructional technology.

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