Our Prime Minister Mark Rutte prepared us; the 5 feet economy could be here for a while. How does that work in education? And what problems do we see around us?
I (try to) teach coworkers and clients on a regular basis, and do this mostly on-site to get the interaction going between everyone in the room, and also to get a sense of how people react to my presentation or my talk. I personally find it hard to get the same feedback while working remotely.
Mind you; we are ‘Technology Leaders‘ and are capable of doing our job and all sessions remotely. We have the tech, but do we really have the same impact? At this moment, we do not have a choice, and have to do things online.
As a father-of-three, I see these issues also on the side of education. Kids in pre-school really learn a lot in the classroom, and also from their friends in class. Want to be engaging and keep the attention of your coworkers? Try doing that for 6 or 7-year-olds…
My belief is that, especially for children, learning from each other is key. This cannot be replaced by an online tool. Still, in these ‘5 feet times,’ you have to make concessions. Digital skills are important, so make sure your kids and your friends can work online.
I see schools struggle with Microsoft Teams, Skype, with MOOC environments and with technology in general. I see this as a fail from IT companies; We always talk about inclusion, but it is still difficult to get everyone online working together. We have done a very good job making sure ‘we’ the IT people can do everything online, but we see educators or parents in general struggling with technology.
Help the educators, help each other
Big things start small; My door is always open, and I (time permitting) am always available for a quick tip or some help. Keep in mind that using Teams or Skype or Zoom is second-nature to ‘us’, for some parents or teachers this can be challenging. By helping another parent, simply by explaining how a tool works, you already have one more person that uses the tool. Maybe you can lend out a spare laptop for someone not having those resources. Maybe you can fix their internet, or setup their environment.