The education sector has been one of the most affected amid Covid-19 pandemic, with over 1.5 billion students around the world experiencing significant interruption in their learning routine (UNESCO). School closure, and more recently reopening, has posed new demands for rethinking the school system, such as increasing the role of online pedagogical tools, reforming the curriculum to adjust to the “new normal”, and dropping teaching practices that cannot be integrated to a hybrid format of education, among others.
Regarding the readiness of the education stakeholders for remote/hybrid education, the technological knowledge of teachers and administrators varies a lot. Some have already used different kinds of virtual tools, but a big portion of them are not capable of taking any complicated e-learning and resource planner platforms to use on such a tight schedule. Therefore, it is essential that edutech solutions support teachers’ and admins’ work, while being simple enough to be useful with minimal (or non-existent) training – because as soon as the stakeholders face a slight difficulty with the digital solution and the learning curve steeps, the chances of engaging with the new product decreases.
In a short-term perspective, such a selective process of edutech products allows schools to position themselves as active centers towards change in their community. By concentrating most of the education stakeholders that will use the digital solutions, schools condense the power to demand reliable, easy-to-learn, and curriculum-based edutech services that will guarantee a concrete implementation of a high quality remote/hybrid education. Meanwhile, virtual tools also become strong facilitators of school transformation, since its use requires changes on teaching methodologies, increases the access of children in remote areas to education, allows teachers and admins to continue working remotely, breaks the strict divisions between the inside and outside of a classroom etc.
In the medium-term perspective, schools can become reference centers for other education agencies also in need for technological solutions. Covid-19 disruptions demand local, regional and national decision makers to strongly consider digitization of education management as a key player in the near future. Now is the time governments, NGOs and other civil organizations think of ways of implementing not only short-term measurements to deal with the routine duties of teachers and learners, but to rethink the organization of collecting data and managing education processes. The most vulnerable learners are the most affected, and the digital gap will increase education (and social) inequality for the next months, if not years. Therefore, it is essential to get tools able to collect and process data in order to mitigate the effect of increasing education inequality, targeting those who have the greatest needs. For this, education agencies can look for edutech solutions that have school approvals and recommendations based on usability, reliability, and efficiency.
In sum, although the pandemic crisis is bringing chaos, intense distress, and malfunctions to the school system worldwide, schools are finally witnessing an intense (and forced) reform that, if well administrated by its leaders, can reposition schools from a 19th century model to a globally connected, locally engaged 21st century paradigm. And because such metamorphosis happens beyond the physical limitations of the school classrooms, the school changes end up affecting the whole community engaged with such transformations.