In my work in ICT and as a part of a development project designing the classrooms for the coming 10 years, I have really had to take a step back to have a look at where we are headed with all this. During the first year after the emergency remote teaching the situation was a real wild west. It was a time where every teacher had the chance to do whatever they wanted when it came to how and where they held their courses, as long as they stored the material in the same LMS.
As I see it, the pandemic was great in the way that we finally got rid of all the printed papers lying around in classrooms and we finally offered both students and teachers the freedom to basically sit wherever they wanted (except at the school). I also really hope that the teachers have taken the opportunity to reflect on all the tools they really need in order to teach. No, we don’t need the 50 pedagogical online tools that fill up my email inbox. All you need is the laptop you have been provided, an LMS and a few tools from Google Workspace. A good headset is also important.
Simply switching a lecture to an online format overnight proved to be a bad idea and as discussed in the previous topic, especially the social presence part of the educational experience (Garrison 2007) was lacking in the case of many educators’ teaching designs, including my own. Asynchronous methods seem wiser in many ways. It offers you the flexibility of online teaching but without the technical difficulty of synchronous hybrid teaching. Courses can be designed in a way that the learners meet each other physically at times but then have the flexibility to work wherever and whenever they want at other times.
In our PBL group work we took this one step further and instead of discussing how online teaching during the pandemic might have worsened the wellbeing of our learners during the pandemic, we instead discussed how online methods actually can be used to improve the wellbeing of learners. More than old school classroom teaching can offer as well. As a base for this we used the Community of Inquiry framework. In the end we ended up with quite a long list of methods for building an atmosphere in the classroom where everyone feels comfortable. Comfortable to share their thoughts and express their feelings.
Garrison, D. R. (2007). Online community of inquiry review: Social, cognitive, and teaching presence issues. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 11(1), 61-72.