Faculty News

How COVID-19 has Impacted K-12 Education

The COVID-19 pandemic has closed schools for the remainder of the year, requiring educators and students to adjust the ways they are teaching, learning, and engaging—but public schools are generally not prepared for fully online classrooms, and many students could be left behind because of the digital divide. 

In this episode of Michigan Minds, Liz Kolb, clinical associate professor of education technologies and teacher education at the School of Education, explains how schools are scrambling to train teachers and make remote learning an equitable approach for all students. 

“Public schools were not well prepared because who could predict we were going to have a pandemic? But it is an opportunity to be better prepared in the future,” Kolb says.

She explains that the pandemic has brought the issue of a digital divide to the forefront of the education conversation, and that many school districts have traditionally discouraged virtual learning because not all students have access. 

“One of the things we know about virtual learning is that it can exacerbate some of the gaps that we have in education,” says Kolb. 

The move to online education requires teachers to significantly change their normal routines, Kolb says, because although the way students learn doesn’t change the way the teachers deliver does.

“Teachers have to learn how to provide their information in small increments and not see their students all week,” she says, adding that teacher-training institutes typically focus on content knowledge and technologies for in-class instruction rather than remote-learning tools. 

Kolb also identifies resources available to help teachers with virtual classrooms, including FERPA and Virtual Learning During COVID-19 and the Michigan Department of Education

Learn more in this episode of the Michigan Minds podcast. 

You can download and subscribe to Michigan Minds from wherever you listen to podcasts: Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySoundCloudStitcher, and Spotify.