Miami EdTech

I’m a Survivor: Coronavirus and the Impact on Learning


‘Work’ from home. ‘Learn’ from home. STAY at home. 

We’ve all seen the meme (I counted 6 times in 24 hours): 

Many of us have experienced that feeling (one too many times). And as a professor/teacher, I’ve had experiences where class, well, it should’ve/could’ve been online and fortunately, I’ve been doing online classes since 2007 (AOL Dial-up!). The feeling was far too common as a student. (#brutalhonesty) 

And now, this chaos that is the coronavirus, is driving organizations and educational institutions to make their employees/students carry-on at home. For many organizations, working remotely is not a new concept. According to Flexjobs.com

“In the span of one year, from 2016 to 2017, remote work grew 7.9%. Over the last five years it grew 44% and over the previous 10 years it grew 91%. Between 2005 to 2017, there was a 159% increase in remote work. In 2015, 3.9 million U.S. workers were working remotely. Today that number is at 4.7 million, or 3.4% of the population.” 

But guess what? Remote work was found to be more common in cities with high income levels. Why? “Remote work positions tend to be knowledge work that pays higher salaries, such as software engineering and accounting.” Unfortunately, the same can be said for Online Education as an article from Inside Higher Ed sited a report that states:

“Online education has not lived up to its potential…online course work contributes to socioeconomic and racial achievement gaps while failing to be more affordable than traditional courses.”

The Future of Work = The Future of Learning.

I think you see where I’m going with this. A worldwide epidemic (not pandemic at time of writing) should NOT be the main reason companies (and schools) put the ‘bat’ sign in the sky to figure out how to incorporate online learning (and work) in their practice. We have so much work to do to democratize WHO benefits from EdTech. 

As a refresher, EdTech is defined as “a study and ethical practice for facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.” EdTech goes beyond the K-12 classroom (despite the ‘stigma’) and in 2019 Global Edtech Investments Reach a Staggering $18.66 Billion. The most surprising pattern? Funding dropped significantly for PreK-12 learning technology companies in 2019. PreK-12 edtech firms garnered $1.42 billion in investment but they obtained “only” $855.32 million. 

Once this passes, we need to take a serious look at how we’re leveraging technology in the workplace and at school and what we’re doing to make sure that Remote Work (and at least learning) is available to more than just those supporting and fixing mainframes. (snort) 

For many people, working/learning from home solely involves a computer with a webcam and a session on skype (hangouts/zoom/gotomeeting…). But, haven’t we evolved? Aren’t there other ways to WORK or LEARN from home? We’re getting there. And, that’s a whole other topic. So, in closing, if you want to learn how to determine if the EdTech you’re using actually REDEFINES the process, check out this article put together by my good friends at Schoology – SAMR Model: A Practical Guide for EdTech Integration. 

Now, go wash your hands you filthy animal


Carlos Vazquez

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