The Education System Isn’t Ready for Another Widespread Closure

Yves here. This article looks into why online learning was such a bust during Covid school closures. It attributes the poor outcomes significantly to a lack of planning and engagement of students. But despite the touching faith in technology, it’s not obvious that there are good alternatives to in-person instruction, even before getting to other important benefits, like socialization and (hopefully) learning to work in groups.

Remember the MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) boomlet, which was widely seen as a threat to higher education? Remember how fast that fad faded?

The short version of the results is highly motivated students could get a lot of benefit from MOOCs, but everyone else seemed to lose interest, or at least not apply themselves hard enough to master the material.

By Katherine Reynolds Lewis, an award-winning journalist covering children, race, gender, disability, mental health, social justice, and science. Originally published at Undark

The transition to online learning in the United States during the Covid-19 pandemic was, by many accounts, a failure. While there were some bright spots across the country, the transition was messy and uneven — countless teachers had neither the materials nor training they needed to effectively connect with students remotely, while many of those students were bored, isolated, and lacked the resources they needed to learn. The results were abysmal: low test scores, fewer children learning at grade level, increased inequity, and teacher burnout. With the public health crisis on top of deaths and job losses in many families, students experienced increases in depression, anxiety, and suicide risk.

Yet society very well may face new widespread calamities in the near future, from another pandemic to extreme weather, that will require a similarly quick shift to remote school. Success will hinge on big changes, from infrastructure to teacher training, several experts told Undark. “We absolutely need to invest in ways for schools to run continuously, to pick up where they left off. But man, it’s a tall order,” said Heather L. Schwartz, a senior policy researcher at RAND. “It’s not good enough for teachers to simply refer students to disconnected, stand-alone videos on, say, YouTube. Students need lessons that connect directly to what they were learning before school closed.”

More than three years after U.S. schools shifted to remote instruction on an emergency basis, the education sector is still largely unprepared for another long-term interruption of in-person school. The stakes are highest for those who need it most: low-income children and students of color, who are also most likely to be harmed in a future pandemic or live in communities most affected by climate change. But, given the abundance of research on what didn’t work during the pandemic, school leaders may have the opportunity to do things differently next time. Being ready would require strategic planning, rethinking the role of the teacher, and using new technology wisely, experts told Undark. And many problems with remote learning actually trace back not to technology, but to basic instructional quality. Effective remote learning won’t happen if schools aren’t already employing best practices in the physical classroom, such as creating a culture of learning from mistakes, empowering teachers to meet individual student needs, establishing high expectations, and setting clear goals supported by frequent feedback. While it’s ambitious to envision that every school district will create seamless virtual learning platforms — and, for that matter, overcome challenges in education more broadly — the lessons of the pandemic are there to be followed or ignored.

“We haven’t done anywhere near the amount of planning or the development of the instructional infrastructure needed to allow for a smooth transition next time schools need to close for prolonged periods of time,” Schwartz said. “Until we can reach that goal, I don’t have high confidence that the next prolonged school closure will be substantially more successful.”

Before the pandemic, only 3 percent of U.S. school districts offered virtual school, mostly for students with unique circumstances, such as a disability or those intensely pursuing a sport or the performing arts, according to a RAND survey Schwartz co-authored. For the most part, the educational technology companies and developers creating software for these schools promised to give students a personalized experience. But the research on these programs, which focused on virtual charter schools that only existed online, showed poor outcomes. Their students were a year behind in math and nearly a half-year behind in reading, and courses offered less direct time with a teacher each week than regular schools have in a day.

The pandemic sparked growth in stand-alone virtual academies, in addition to the emergency remote learning that districts had to adopt in March 2020. Educators’ interest in online instructional materials exploded, too, according to Schwartz, “and it really put the foot on the gas to ramp them up, expand them, and in theory, improve them.” By June 2021, the number of school districts with a stand-alone virtual school rose to 26 percent. Of the remaining districts, another 23 percent were interested in offering an online school, the report found.

But the sheer magnitude of options for online learning didn’t necessarily mean it worked well, Schwartz said: “It’s the quality part that has to come up in order for this to be a really good, viable alternative to in person instruction.” And individualized, self-directed online learning proved to be a pipe dream — especially for younger children who needed support from a parent or other family member even to get online, much less stay focused.

“The notion that students would have personalized playlists and could curate their own education was proven to be problematic on a couple levels, especially for younger and less affluent students,” said Thomas Toch, director of FutureEd, an education think tank at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. “The social and emotional toll that isolation and those traumas took on students suggest that the social dimension of schooling is hugely important and was greatly undervalued, especially by proponents for an increased role of technology.”

Students also often didn’t have the materials they needed for online school, some lacking computers or internet access at home. Teachers didn’t have the right training for online instruction, which has a unique pedagogy and best practices. As a result, many virtual classrooms attempted to replicate the same lessons over video that would’ve been delivered at school. The results were overwhelmingly bad, research shows. ​​For example, a 2022 studyfound six consistent themes about how the pandemic affected learning, including a lack of interaction between students and with teachers, and disproportionate harm to low-income students. Numb from isolation and too many hours in front of a screen, students failed to engage in coursework and suffered emotionally.

After some districts resumed in-person or hybrid instruction in the 2020 fall semester, it became clear that the longer students were remote, the worse their learning delays. For example, national standardized test scores for the 2020-2021 school year showed that passing rates for math declined about 14 percentage points on average, more than three times the drop seen in districts that returned to in-person instruction the earliest, according to a2021 National Bureau of Economic Research study. Even after most U.S. districts resumed in-person instruction, students who had been online the longest continued to lag behind their peers. The pandemic hit cities hardest and the effects disproportionately harmed low-income children and students of color in urban areas.

“What we did during the pandemic is not the optimal use of online learning in education for the future,” said Ashley Jochim, a researcher at the Center on Reinventing Public Education at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. “Online learning is not a full stop substitute for what kids need to thrive and be supported at school.”

Children also largely prefer in-person school. A 2022 Pew Research Center survey suggested that 65 percent of students would rather be in a classroom, 9 percent would opt for online only, and the rest are unsure or prefer a hybrid model. “For most families and kids, full-time online school is actually not the educational solution they want,” Jochim said.

Virtual school felt meaningless to Abner Magdaleno, a 12th grader in Los Angeles. “I couldn’t really connect with it, because I’m more of, like, a social person. And that was stripped away from me when we went online,” recalled Magdaleno. Mackenzie Sheehy, 19, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, found there were too many distractions at home to learn. Her grades suffered, and she missed the one-on-one time with teachers. (Sheehy graduated from high school in 2022.)

Many teachers feel the same way. “Nothing replaces physical proximity, whatever the age,” said Ana Silva, a New York City English teacher. She enjoyed experimenting with interactive technology during online school, but is grateful to be back in person. “I like the casual way kids can come to my desk and see me. I like the dynamism — seeing kids in the cafeteria. Those interactions are really positive, and they were entirely missing during the online learning.”

During the 2022-2023 school year, many districts initially plannedto continue online courses for snow days and other building closures. But they found that the teacher instruction, student experience, and demands on families were simply too different for in-person versus remote school, said Liz Kolb, an associate professor in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. “Schools are moving away from that because it’s too difficult to quickly transition and blend back and forth among the two without having strong structures in place,” Kolb said. “Most schools don’t have those strong structures.”

In addition, both families and educators grew sick of their screens. “They’re trying to avoid technology a little bit. There’s this fatigue coming out of remote learning and the pandemic,” said Mingyu Feng, a research director at WestEd, a nonprofit research agency. “If the students are on Zoom every day for like, six hours, that seems to be not quite right.”

Despite the bumpy pandemic rollout, online school can serve an important role in the U.S. education system. For one, online learning is a better alternative for some students. Garvey Mortley, 15, of Bethesda, Maryland, and her two sisters all switched to their district’s virtual academy during the pandemic to protect their own health and their grandmother’s. This year, Mortley’s sisters went back to in-person school, but she chose to stay online. “I love the flexibility about it,” she said, noting that some of her classmates prefer it because they have a disability or have demanding schedules. “I love how I can just roll out of bed in the morning, and I can sit down and do school.” Some educators also prefer teaching online, according to reports of virtual schools that were inundated with applications from teachers because they wanted to keep working from home. Silva, the New York high school English teacher, enjoys online tutoring and academic coaching, because it facilitates one-on-one interaction.

And in rural districts and those with low enrollment, some access to online learning ensures students can take courses that could otherwise be inaccessible. “Because of the economies of scale in small rural districts, they needed to tap into online and shared service delivery arrangements in order to provide a full complement of coursework at the high school level,” said Jochim. Innovation in these districts, she added, will accelerate: “We’ll continue to see growth, scalability, and improvement in quality.”

There were also some schools that were largely successful at switching to online at the start of the pandemic, such as Vista Unified School District in California, which pooled and shared innovative ideas for adapting in March 2020; the school quickly put together an online portal so that principals and teachers could share ideas and the district could allot the necessary resources. Digging into examples like this could point the way to the future of online learning, said Chelsea Waite, a senior researcher at the Center on Reinventing Public Education, who was part of a collaborative project studying 70 schools and districts that pivoted successfully to online learning. The project found three factors that made the transition work: a focus on resilience, collaboration, and autonomy for both students and educators; a healthy culture that prioritized relationships; and strong yet flexible systems that were accustomed to adaptation.

“We investigated schools that did seem to be more prepared for the Covid disruption, not just with having devices in students’ hands or having an online curriculum already, but with a learning culture in the school that really prioritized agency and problem solving as skills for students and adults,” Waite said. “In these schools, kids are learning from a very young age to be a little bit more self-directed, to set goals, and pursue them and pivot when they need to.”

Similarly, many of the takeaways from the pandemic trace back to the basics of effective education, not technological innovation. A landmark report by the National Academies of Sciences called “How People Learn,” most recently updated in 2018, synthesized the body of educational research and identified four key features in the most successful learning environments. First, these schools are designed for, and adapt to, the specific students, building on what they bring to the classroom, such as skills and beliefs. Second, successful schools give their students clear goals, showing them what they need to learn and how they can get there. Third, they provide in-the-moment feedback that emphasizes understanding, not memorization. And finally, the most successful schools are community-centered, with a culture of collaboration and acceptance of mistakes.

“We as humans are social learners, yet some of the tech talk is driven by people who are strong individual learners,” said Jeremy Roschelle, executive director of Learning Sciences Research at Digital Promise, a global education nonprofit. “They’re not necessarily thinking about how most people learn, which is very social.”

Another powerful insight from pandemic-era remote schooling involves the evolving role of teachers, said Kim Kelly, a middle school math teacher at Northbridge Middle School in Massachusetts and a K-8 curriculum coach. Historically, a teacher’s role is the keeper of knowledge who delivers instruction. But in recent years, there has been a shift in approach, where teachers think of themselves as coaches who can intervene based on a student’s individual learning progress. Technology that assists with a coach-like role can be effective — but requires educators to be trained and comfortable interpreting data on student needs.

For example, with a digital learning platform called ASSISTments, teachers can assign math problems, students complete them — potentially receiving in-the-moment feedback on steps they’re getting wrong — and then the teachers can use data from individual students and the entire class to plan instruction and see where additional support is needed.

“A big advantage of these computer-driven products is they really try to diagnose where students are, and try to address their needs. It’s very personalized, individualized,” said WestEd’s Feng, who has evaluated ASSISTments and other educational technologies. She noted that some teachers feel frustrated “when you expect them to read the data and try to figure out what the students’ needs are.”

Teacher’s colleges don’t typically prepare educators to interpret data and change their practices, said Kelly, whose dissertation focused on self-regulated online learning. But professional development has helped her learn to harness technology to improve teaching and learning. “Schools are in data overload; we are oozing data from every direction, yet none of it is very actionable,” she said. Some technology, she added, provided student data that she could use regularly, which changed how she taught and assigned homework.

When students get feedback from the computer program during a homework session, the whole class doesn’t have to review the homework together, which can save time. Educators can move forward on instruction — or if they see areas of confusion, focus more on those topics. The ability of the programs to detect how well students are learning “is unreal,” said Kelly, “but it really does require teachers to be monitoring that data and interpreting.” She learned to accept that some students could drive their own learning and act on the feedback from homework, while others simply needed more teacher intervention. She now does more assessment at the beginning of a course to better support all students.

At the district or even national level, letting teachers play to their strengths can also help improve how their students learn, Toch, of FutureEd, said. For example, if a teacher is better at delivering instruction, they could give a lesson to a larger group of students online, while another teacher who is more comfortable in the coach role could work in smaller groups or one-on-one.

“One thing we saw during the pandemic are smart strategies for using technology to get outstanding teachers in front of more students,” Toch said, describing one effort that recruited exceptional teachers nationally and built a strong curriculum to be delivered online. “The local educators were providing support for their students in their classrooms.”

Remote schooling requires new technology, and already, educators are swamped with competing platforms and software choices — most of which have insufficient evidence of efficacy. Traditional independent research on specific technologies is sparse, Roschelle said. Post-pandemic, the field is so diverse and there are so many technologies in use, it’s almost impossible to find a control group to design a randomized control trial, he added. However, there is qualitative research and evidence that give hints about the quality of technology and online learning, such as case studies and school recommendations.

Educational leaders should ask three key questions about technology before investing, recommended Ryan Baker, a professor of education at the University of Pennsylvania: Is there evidence it works to improve learning outcomes? Does the vendor provide support and training, or are teachers on their own? And does it work with the same types of students as are in their school or district? In other words, educators must look at a technology’s track record in the context of their own school’s demographics, geography, culture, and challenges. These decisions are complicated by the small universe of researchers and evaluators, who have many overlapping relationships. (Over his career, for example, Baker has worked with or consulted for many of the education technology firms that create the software he studies.)

It may help to broaden the definition of evidence. The Center on Reinventing Public Education launched the Canopy project to collect examples of effective educational innovation around the U.S.

“What we wanted to do is build much better and more open and collective knowledge about where schools are challenging old assumptions and redesigning what school is and should be,” she added, noting that these educational leaders are reconceptualizing the skills they want students to attain. “They’re often trying to measure or communicate concepts that we don’t have great measurement tools for yet. So they end up relying on a lot of testimonials and evidence of student work.”

The moment is ripe for innovation in online and in-person education, said Julia Fallon, executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association, since the pandemic accelerated the rollout of devices and needed infrastructure. There’s an opportunity and need for technology that empowers teachers to improve learning outcomes and work more efficiently, said Roschelle. Online and hybrid learning are clearly here to stay — and likely will be called upon again during future temporary school closures.

Still, poorly-executed remote learning risks tainting the whole model; parents and students may be unlikely to give it a second chance. The pandemic showed the hard and fast limits on the potential for fully remote learning to be adopted broadly, for one, because in many communities, schools serve more than an educational function — they support children’s mental health, social needs, and nutrition and other physical health needs. The pandemic also highlighted the real challenge in training the entire U.S. teaching corps to be proficient in technology and data analysis. And the lack of a nimble shift to remote learning in an emergency will disproportionately harm low-income children and students of color. So the stakes are high for getting it right, experts told Undark, and summoning the political will.

“There are these benefits in online education, but there are also these real weaknesses we know from prior research and experience,” Jochim said. “So how do we build a system that has online learning as a complement to this other set of supports and experiences that kids benefit from?”

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  1. JohnnyGL

    Online learning is a useful supplementary tool, much like a microwave is useful to heat up leftover food.

    No one is trying to cook all their food in a microwave and replace toasting, baking and frying. You just end up with poorer quality cooking when you try to replace everything with a microwave.

    My kids had as good of a set up as possible for online learning…and they fell behind. It’s just not a replacement for in-class instruction.

  2. Kurtismayfield

    I am currently “teaching” an online course. The students still need someone there to assist them, and I really just set up the curriculum, “grade” the questions and writing that they submit, and give feedback if they ask. Most do not ask for my help, because there is someone there to handle questions. It is inefficient, does not take the students needs into account , and probably costs more. And it’s only effective for students that desire to do it.

    This feels like grift, syphoning money away from local systems that should be spending it on more local instructors.

  3. Jeff

    The costs for online learning will be felt for years. Education and public health leaders exposed themselves as the petty power tyrants they are and too many of us rationalized absurd measures away, myself included.

    Now many of these same ‘leaders’ are running away from their actions, lying about what they said and did.

    If/when another pandemic occurs in our lifetime, the collapse of public trust will haunt all of us.

  4. John Steinbach

    Thankfully, the U.S. has embarked on a massive program to ventilate all public schools and educate teachers, student’s and parents about Covid safety and the importance of non-pharmaceutical intervention. -oh wait.

  5. KLG

    Similar observations apply to medical schools, depending on how long remote learning was used (and according to good sources, law schools). A few medical schools returned to in-person (with masks) by August 2020 after remote learning from March 2020 through July 2020. More schools seem to have extended the hiatus in real contact for more than a year. The maladaptive consequences were obvious from the beginning, and these are generally highly motivated students or they would not be in medical school. It seems the leadership at these medical schools were counting on their “special” students to adapt as a matter of course. The reports should be appearing in the MedEd literature soon, if they haven’t already. I should look but that would be a dreary slog.

    One change that has worked surprisingly well is the remote interview. All applicants to medical school who make the cut, however that is established, are interviewed. Applicants typically apply to multiple schools. This is expensive to the applicant when requiring travel, as most interviews do. Zoom or equivalent has removed that expense in money and time while standardizing the process. A minor improvement with major consequences that would never have been attempted otherwise. Very small comfort, though.

  6. Acacia

    Hmm… evidently, the author of this article assumes the pandemic is “over” and the issue is preparing for another one. That’s fine and salutary, except that the pandemic isn’t “over”.

    Been teaching online since the pandemic began. Needless to say, I would prefer to return to the classroom, but the school isn’t going to do diddly to ensure a safe working environment. No testing of air quality, no testing of ventilation, no CO2 monitors, no amelioration of poor ventilation — nada.

    Of course, I could build my own C-R boxes and drag them into and out of the room for every class, open all the windows, etc., but the fact that the school isn’t doing anything to protect the teachers and students raises the obvious question: why should it all fall on me? And, if I have the option to teach online, why should I return to the classroom, putting myself and the students at risk of Covid and its potential complications…?

    So, I’ll continue online as long as possible.

  7. Gregory Etchason

    I would check how much students were learning before the Pandemic. My daughter is a 3rd grade teacher and she has great question about what she actually accomplishes in class. I guess when you stop teaching the test in the classroom test scores decline. But I suspect learning was better at home for motivated students absent all the distractions by those who aren’t motivated. Motivated students aren’t teacher dependent per se.

  8. samm

    I had a middle school kid at home with online learning for a year and a half and it was an extremely difficult time. Being far removed from the learning environment and far removed from her fellow students made the experience into an emotional and intellectual wasteland. She did put in the time but it was clear there wasn’t much learning going on. That combined with the easy grades made the whole time basically a wash.

    Now of course the pandemic is the rampaging elephant in the room and it’s impossible to see how the school district will ever be able to get out of that hole, let alone prepare for any other widespread closures. Will any other emergencies now just be ignored in hopes they will just go away too? That seems the more likely outcome from my perspective.

    1. Laura in So Cal

      I had a high school student and it was pretty much a disaster for us even though the district tried it’s best and my son had a parent working from home (me) to make sure he was up and on-line.

      It was so bad that my son was super happy to go back to in person school in the Fall of 2021 for his senior year. I never thought I’d see the day that my kid was saying “Yay…get to go to school today”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I would note your son was a sophomore when things closed. He would have had many of his “skills” and worked on things like “self-discipline”, responsibility, and so forth. Imagine a 5th grader or a 2nd grader in a state like Virginia or Maryland where they missed the most days.

        1. Laura in So Cal

          Yes, I have family where all the kids were elementary age. Two of the kids were in a private christian school that only shut down in Spring 2020 but reopened in the fall. The other 4 kids were in two different local public districts and ranged from 1st grade to 6th grade. Both boys (1st grade and 4th grade) had a huge amount of difficulty with the 1st grader just having a whole wasted year. One 3rd grade girl did beautifully, but she is usually a GREAT student and loves school. The other girl in 6th grade did just okay in school but did spend time teaching herself to sew and use a sewing machine so the time at home wasn’t a total waste.

  9. Alex Cox

    What has the RAND corporation got to do with public education? It’s a military think tank designed to garner money for Raytheon and Boeing.

  10. KR

    Brighter kids love online learning — average kids, or those with a shorter attention span, can’t handle it. So why not target online learning to the kids who can speed ahead while limiting it to those who can’t or won’t benefit?

  11. GramSci

    Historically, formal K-12 education was a private system, possibly religious, but always reverent, if often sanctimonious. This system was largely organized and managed by well-to-do mothers. Its curriculum taught “liberal arts” in a manner that resembled polite play groups where tutors occasionally engaged students in thoughtful reflection. Until the industrial revolution, most people were farmers and did not participate in this kind of formal education, but after Gutenberg, successful farmers’ wives taught their children to read and reflect, often widely and well.

    Public education emerged with the industrial revolution. It typically has been managed by the owners of the local factories and fact-checkeries where the students’ mothers work. In the wealthiest jurisdictions these public schools can resemble the private school system, but most public systems focus on a “practical” (dare I say “STEM”) curriculum. Here the manner of education canonically resembles a factory floor led by bosses. By demanding blind obedience, the bosses discourage reflection, and any “liberal education” served comes with an extra helping of humiliation.

    Despite considerable financial hardship, my daughters-in-law were able to stay at home during the ‘official pandemic’. It was ‘hard’ on everyone, but I think my grandchildren learned their most important lessons during lockdown, when the computers weren’t working: They learned to play (and learn and teach and work) with their siblings and two or three neighbors/cousins. No matter the multiplication facts they didn’t learn at age eight; they learned them twice as fast at age ten. (Thank fortune that they appear to have evaded Covid brain fog.)

    The best reform for public education is to enact a Maximum Wage, so that all moms can stay home, teach their children family values, and allow their children to reflect upon the world they are entering free from want and fear.

  12. Petter

    This could have been written about Norway. Here there are endless discussions about the the effects of “digitalization” of schools, the crisis of exploding child mental health issues and lack of services – an alarming rise in autism cases as an example – tripled since 2012.
    Thankfully, the government is setting up commissions to study the issues, otherwise, ummm….
    As for me, feeling great. A short stay in the hospital to crack my latest COPD exacerbation and while I was there, they thought why not and exchanged my blood with embalming fluid. Discharged me with a thumbs up. I tried to reciprocate but for some reason my arms were really stiff.
    We are all corpses on vacation – Edward Limonov quoting some old poet.

  13. Big River Bandido

    I teach college level, and my institution was all-remote for about one year. So much of what we had to deal with didn’t even get a mention in this article.

    Some of the things this article seems blind to:

    1) the biggest barrier for students in remote learning was not having a dedicated, proper space in which to learn. Many of my students had to go home, where they had sick family members, lack of quiet, studious environment in which to “attend” their classes…that’s before getting into the technological questions of internet connection, etc.

    2) The biggest problem with online teaching — which has still not been resolved — is that it takes about a thousand words to point to something. If a student is displaying a creative project, in class I can point to something on their screen and everyone can see it. Generally not possible in Zoom, and it’s something that we so take for granted. It eats up a tremendous amount of time. There’s no real way around that, though, because in order for students to learn, we have to engage them, and that’s just not possible through the internet unless the class sizes are drastically reduced.

    3) Another big problem is that giving assignments, getting them back, correcting them and returning them to students entails way more time than in an in-person class. Just having students show their work in my classes slows everything down by a factor of 3 or 4, because you then become dependent on the student’s computer skills. This was less of a problem in classes with only 5-8 students — having small sections meant that you actually could take the time to engage with each student, even though it took longer to do so. But in my classes that are “fully populated” (i.e., 15 students) — it is absolutely impossible to cover all the necessary content. Online instruction requires vastly more time to accomplish the same amount of in-classroom work.

    Katherine Reynolds’ writing — especially all the important things she leaves out — conveys the impression that she has no teaching experience whatsoever. To me this piece has the whiff of propaganda, that her sole purpose was to make online learning so unpalatable that people will believe “there is no alternative” to poorly ventilated, underfunded, understaffed in-person schools with student-to-teacher ratios above 30:1.

  14. jrkrideau

    Disclaimer: Not a teacher, no kids

    I have been thinking that on-line learning as it was hurriedly implemented was simple the transfer of a manual process to an on-line process. It’s a bit like university lectures which as far as I can see is the long-term continuation of the medieval university lecture system. I believe the major reason for this method was that books were rare and amazingly expensive.

    It may be that me need a rather complete re-think of how to implement teaching in the modern world. I was speculating back in 2020 that we might want to bring in computer games designers to provide a different conceptual approach Does anyone know if this is being done?

    I cannot see that completely on-line instruction is likely to be optimal as we would be losing much or all of the social component but we might be able to craft a decent combination with some or much time, work, and better designed technology. In particular, if we cannot ave a mixed model of in-class/on-line schooling we may be able to develop on-line co-operative work.

    I get the impression that we are in the early steam railway era when for the wealthy personal horse-drawn carriage was loaded onto a flat car and third class was an open railway car with benches. It took a while it actually custom-build passenger carriages, or even put a roof on third class

  15. podcastkid

    I haven’t been a teacher of advanced skills, some others yes. No kids.

    Some are going to be arguing that some highly motivated kids (very healthy and with healthy families) should go to school, at least until the next killer variant, or some other bug happens along posing a new (“fresh”) and equivalent threat. I may even end up supporting such strongly. The key thing as others have stated is funds for two approaches…thought through and workable in each case. I’d like to see a chart that breaks down what percentage school age kids got covid, and what percentage ended up with long covid. Estimated serious adverse reactions to the vaccines also. I grew up not distant from grandparents, but, if there are children that are distant on long term bases, seems like they’d have less chances of seriously endangering others.

    Words along the axises of graphs I’d prefer be very readable

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