Online learning has provided many South African students with the opportunity to stay on top of their schoolwork during the Covid-19 lockdown. This has shifted the responsibility of learning from teachers and schools, to students and families. With the planned phasing in of the school year, following on from Covid-19 restrictions, the lessons learned from lockdown will influence education moving forward.
“This is an opportunity to use this time to relook at the way we do things; to determine the good things we want to keep and the things that aren’t working that we should stop doing,” says Rebecca Pretorius, country manager for Crimson Education, a university admissions support consultancy.
Pretorius believes that schools will continue with forms of blended learning for the foreseeable future. “The lockdown has forced the education sector to rethink its strategies for remote and digital learning going forward. By using distance learning tools, we’ll see students, teachers, parents, and carers develop new skills to communicate and collaborate differently.”
She highlights some of the valuable lessons from the lockdown that parents and students can carry forward as schools return:
- Individualised learning: School classrooms are designed to go at the pace of an average student, not considering individualised learning styles and pace. Those learning online are working at their own pace, covering additional work, and using newfound time to learn new skills not previously covered in class.
- Digital literacy: A major part of the shift in education is the integration of technology. Digital literacy is an essential skill moving forward. With social media completely embedded in their lives as a way of both communicating, accessing, and putting out information, learning online is a way to build safety into their everyday online usage.
- Flexibility in the curriculum: Students and families have seen the value of a flexible education approach with students able to work at their own pace; cover additional work, focus more on their interests and passions, and even take more challenging subjects and curricula. Schools, businesses, and institutions then that can support this approach will be well positioned for the future.
- The role of teachers: With students being able to gain access to knowledge, and even learn a technical skill, through a few clicks on their phones, tablets and computers, the role of the educator in the classroom and lecture room is redefined. The role of educators will move towards facilitating young people’s development as contributing members of society.
Crimson Education will launch the local arm of their online high school in September. The Crimson Global Academy will help students meet their individual needs and achieve their full potential through the internationally recognised, academically rigorous A-level qualification with, world class teachers; small classes; synchronous learning; flexible class scheduling; one-to-one support, and a wide variety of examination and testing options.
With a presence in 30 cities, the company launched in South Africa in 2018. Crimson supports students applying to universities in the US, UK, Europe and China. They also offer regular webinars with experts, former Ivy League admissions officers, and Crimson alumni on a range of relevant admission topics. For more information, visit www.crimsoneducation.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.