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Posts Tagged ‘gap

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You do not have to watch this feature by CNA to point out the flaw in their premise. 

The premise: School closures caused by regional pandemic lockdowns have widened the gap between the have and have-nots.

The flaw: The pandemic has exposed the previously unseen or ignored gaps. The wide disparities have always been there. We have either been unaware or we have ignored them. When we admit that such gaps exist, a media group sensationalises them as widening.

This is not to say that the yawning gaps are not urgent or unimportant. We need to collectively bridge and fill those gaps by donating our time, effort, money, and resources. 

We also need to stop blaming online learning for exacerbating these gaps (see its lede: costs of online learning). Online learning enables continuity even though it has been largely relegated to a last resort. This shift has laid bare the poor efforts of stakeholders in not preparing infrastructural broadband, socioeconomic policies, pedagogical development, etc.

About five minutes into the video, the storyline vilifies online learning with unspecified sources on the harmfulness of screen time. The flawed research behind these claims has been exposed, so we need to be more critical about what the loose treats that media tosses about.

School and schooling are important. Among its many functions are providing basic literacy, social interaction, and childcare. Schools and schooling are not without its flaws, but place them beside something new and scary and it is the latter that seems worse.

A more balanced video feature would not just romanticise school and bash online learning. It could have highlighted the efforts of governments, corporations, and individuals to enable effective out-of-school and online learning. It could also have highlighted how the latter augments schooling and improves practices. But it did not because that would have exposed ugly priorities.

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This simultaneously truthful and exasperated tweet exposed a serious gap in the expectations of progressive educators and students schooled in teacher talk:

It is the ability of an educator to design for asynchronous work and the student’s desire to work independently.

There is another gap: What exactly constitutes the design of asynchronous work? Doing this requires knowledge and skills on scaffolding, personalising, cooperating, critiquing, and evaluating.

Each of those topics could be two or three weeks worth of content in a semester-long crash course on redesigning for blended learning. Better still, each of those topics could be semester-long courses for a higher diploma on the designs of blended and online learning.

Never heard of such a diploma? Well, that’s another gap that needs filling. I would bet that most teachers and educators are not pushed to pursue such a qualification even though it exists.

At best, they are left to their own designs and pick these up these skills by trial and error. Maybe they attend rushed and mandatory “professional development” that does little to level them up.

At worst, they do not care to learn something new because they want things to return to normal. But things will not return to normal. And we will still be left with these gaps.

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