A positive consequence of the COVID-19 disruption in the education and training sectors is benevolence. Beyond the heroic and selfless sacrifice that essential workers and frankly non-essential workers such as store clerks and maintenance caretakers are performing to keep societies safe, educators are exhibiting an unprecedented level of generosity and cooperation. For the purposes of this post, I include vendors, organizations, individuals, social groups and governments in the education realm. The following list reveals how we are all experiencing an abundance of support and information with our peers. It is amazing to see how people are at their best during a crisis.
Social media sharing
It seems that most of the current traffic on social media is related to the COVID-19 crisis. As an educator, these resources are now a treasure trove of ideas, resource suggestions, exemplars and support. To be honest it is overwhelming. I personally am using Twitter with the folks I follow, who are mostly educators to learn more about new tools, techniques and variations of online instruction. Not to mention other important issues such as self-care and health tips.
Corporate discounts and freebies
In mid-March, a deluge of digital resource offers appeared across the Internet and they continue to be offered as the COVID_19 crisis deepens. Outright free premium accounts are now commonplace. Many have terminal dates, but they are a generous, if not wise, marketing tactic. Tools that many of us wanted to try but were put off because of the cost and the up take by students and instructional peers. Now that these impediments are non-factors, it is time to have a look what resources are being offered.
Education bloggers are now focused on issues relating to coping to teaching during the COVID-19 crisis. These concise opinions and practical advice pieces are broadcast through social media communities. This is a great opportunity for edtech bloggers to comb through their archives for relevant posts to revise and re-post or smiley share on social media. Educators who are discovering more about online education are becoming first time posters. More perspectives can lead to more opportunities.
Once overlooked by most educators, digital edtech newsletters are now sought-after documents. The editors of these resources have refocused their publications on strategies and resources for educators to deal with COVID-19 drawing from their years of experience. Digital newsletters, as with edtech blogs, can be mined to shed light on techniques and tools that can assist teachers new to online instruction.
Many groups, organization, businesses and individuals are offering free, live, online webinars. Since mid-March there are and continue to be a tidal wave of free webinars focused on all aspects of teaching online. The strength of webinars is the ease at which they can be archive for future viewing by educators around the world.
These have been commonplace for a decade now; the difference is the trend of converting traditional face-to-face conferences to online formats. Organizations who have been blending online elements into their conferences have experience and volunteers who can make this process less arduous. Online conferences reach a broader audience and usually require a lower entry fee.
Financial relief for students
Institutions and governments are now issuing policy statements related to the COVID-19 pandemic and student tuition and housing payments. In North America, governments are suggesting schemes to support student summer work. Since most student jobs reside in the gig economy, innovative arrangements are required. At this time, these policies are evolving.
In my recent experience, instructors are now more open to sharing towards a common purpose. Egos are checked and genuine cooperation is now the norm for many of us.