The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of educational technologies. But experience and know-how about using those technologies to their greatest advantage has not been so easy to transplant. Survey results revealed that 42 percent of teachers started the school year with a version of remote learning that resembled a conventional school day’s worth of synchronous instruction (i.e., teaching live from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. over Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams). Replicating a regular school day online, however, is not the best approach to online learning.

To put things in perspective, there is often a lag between when new technologies get adopted and when people figure out the best ways to put those technologies to use. For example, after factories were hooked up to electrical power in the early 1900s, it took 30 years for factory managers to figure out how to use electricity to boost productivity. Similarly, many of the first movies were basically stage productions captured on film, and early automobiles resembled horseless buggies. It often takes multiple iterations of experimentation for the pioneers in a field to fully realize advantages new technologies have to offer.

When the 2020–21 school year started, there were so many challenges for educators that the practical path forward was to stick to tried-and-true methods as much as possible. However, many teachers are already exploring innovative approaches to online instruction. A large majority of surveyed teachers (79 percent) reported that they’ve discovered new resources or practices that they plan to continue using after the pandemic.

Now is a good time for educators to begin discovering new ways to leverage what online learning does and doesn’t have to offer.

Read the full article about teaching remotely by Thomas Arnett at Edutopia.