Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, excellence and equity, cornerstones of good education systems, are being challenged in every part of the world. Our greatest concern is that differences in parental involvement and access to technology exacerbate inequality. At the same time, as with every major challenge, this is an opportunity to improve.
And as important as continuing quality education is, it is just as important to maintain mental and physical wellbeing for students and parents. Maybe you can even use this situation to connect with the rest of the world. There are areas for individuals as well as educators to reflect on how to improve.
For this unique Spotlight, in a matter of seven days we received 102 submissions from educators worldwide offering innovative solutions to challenges raised by the novel Coronavirus. We additionally researched hundreds of examples - big & small - on how to help children learn in these extreme times. Our goal is not to provide one recommendation to solve all problems, but rather solutions for different types of challenges around education during this crisis.
Everything has happened so fast and unexpectedly. It does not seem realistic that there is a holistic solution that is easy to implement and works for everyone. However, inspiring individual solutions have been developed in every country. Perhaps we can even combine these different approaches to create a new and impactful education for students around the world.
In that spirit, we have grouped solutions in 3 ways. The first being high-quality resources that we admire such as Khan Academy, TEDed, & Minecraft Education. These global organisations continually provide relevant and engaging resources for students, teachers & parents. And another one we want to highlight is Wide Open School that was created as a co-operation of 25 organizations for this emergency.
The second, a collection of scalable innovations that have the potential to spread. These simple and easy to implement solutions vary from real-time virtual lessons at Outschool, a dynamic language app like Duolingo to learning to code with the leading organisation Scratch.
Most of the education system is trying to tackle problems by themselves. However, since the crises is truly global, how about testing something cross-cultural like for example Stories for Solidarity or PenPal Schools.
There is no shortage of news coverage, if you want to stay informed about this situation globally, a relevant tool is the NewsLit Project. This time is all about balance and taking care of our health as well, both physical (Go Noodle @Home) and emotional School Day @Home.
The dedication of the global education community continues with the third group: Bold Ideas to be Inspired by ranging from communities coming together through simple yet beautiful ideas like #frommywindow and Bear Hunt, virtually connecting with the world using platforms like Link Online Learners and Love for the Elderly, and reaching children and families in remote locations by connecting them with teachers and lessons in other ways than online.
Additionally, we commend educators for adapting quickly to meet the needs of their students and preparing for the uncertain future. We are inspired by virtual professional development like Learning Creative Learning, Pop-Up PLNs, Love letters for Computers, focusing on Educating Educators for the Future. Along with initiatives at the grassroots level, we acknowledge governments, for example, Politicians Addressing Children and public-private partnerships like Kaikille Kone providing Computers for Everyone in Finland.
We have also released a specific section on our website and a summary report, Quality Education For All During Coronavirus, in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), expanding on the opportunities and challenges for education during this unprecedented time. From the opportunity for teachers to form much stronger connections with parents, students (especially for students with disabilities) to challenges of untrained teachers and lack of access to digital learning resources, the report has plentiful insights and resources.
In the report’s Foreword, Andreas Schleicher, Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills, OECD, mentions,
“These innovators exist, and there are many of them. And while our school systems were sleeping, organisations like HundrED have spent years to mobilise, curate and share the world’s most innovative learning environments. Their ideas are now available and ready to use in this moment of crisis. This Spotlight provides an example. It can inspire students to learn better, teachers to teach better, and school systems to embrace more innovative learning environments.”
To learn more about thirty selected solutions, and read the summary report, check out the Quality Education for All during Coronavirus page.