COVID-19 has changed education.

Dear Parent / Student

I hope you are all keeping well and safe and thank you for your co-operation in the roll out of our recent online lessons which through feedback has been a successful undertaking. Play Piano will look forward to re-opening for the new term with a blend of face to face and online lessons at the end of August. I will address this issue in the next newsletter but in this one I just wanted to share my thoughts on how I perceive the COVID-19 has changed or perhaps better to say fast tracked the mode of delivery of education for the future.

As we all know by now the COVID-19 has resulted in schools shut across the world and as a result education has dramatically changed with the distinctive rise in e-learning whereby teaching is undertaken remotely disseminated from digital platforms. 

Research has suggested that online learning has shown to increase retention of information and take less time and a shift away now from the conventional classroom model will have a major impact on the worldwide education market. In this regard it was wonderful to see that the convention centre in Dublin hosted the World Conference on Online Learning last November where they showed the new ways in which distance education will be disseminated. 

Prior to COVID-19 the online education market was growing at a steady pace whether it be through language apps, virtual tutoring, online learning software etc meaning the sudden changes brought about by the Coronavirus Virus might just be here to stay.

With the advent of the Internet and as a teacher for many years I have always believed in the benefits of online learning while also being conscious of the many challenges it brings with it but for the future of learning I believe that the integration of information technology in education will be further accelerated and that online education will become an integral component of education in general.

Education Nudged to Change

With the curtailment of movement during this COVID-19 period all the teachers at Play Piano were delighted to have seen how our very own online learning platform has paid dividends. From feedback from our online lessons we have seen a lot of students using their own critical thinking and adaptability to learn via our academic tutorials, going back and forth over music pieces or theory papers learning at their own pace and even accelerating as they moved from the sudden disruption of face to face lessons to the online virtual learning world. 

With the recent RIAM exams having to be submitted online we know from reports that students were busy shooting and re shooting their videos and not only will this process make them into better musicians it will also help them learn new digital skills.

Students will learn to embrace the concept of “learning anywhere, anytime and see how the traditional face to face set lesson time type classroom model can be complimented with new e learning modalities such as live streaming broadcasts, following educational influencers and how this new learning can become a habit and integrated into daily life routines. 

Digital Divide

The quality of digital learning is obviously dependant on the level and quality of digital access. While approximately 60% of the world’s population is online it will be especially important to make sure that there is digital access for everyone. We are aware that virtual classes have become the norm in some schools in Ireland and across the world and have moved totally to personal devices. The strive for e-learning must also be equal and thus it is of the utmost importance that families and students who are less affluent are not left behind. In this regard it is imperative to see that the digital divide is not exacerbated if educational access is dictated by access to the latest technologies.

Resilience.

Resilience must become an integral part of our educational systems. This pandemic has shown how the world can change very quickly from climate change to a novel virus. In this regard with the push now for new e-learning concepts students can become more innovative and realise the potential of new ways of approaching problem solving and most importantly the importance of being able to adapt.

In closing I have to say that I have always believed in the blend of traditional offline learning and e-learning going hand in hand and as we look to reopen our own school with our own e-learning endeavours we will be well ready to roll out our lessons in this nature as we also look to explore now even further the full potential of this mix.

Gerry Nulty

Founder 

www.playpiano.ie

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112 Broadmeadows, Swords, County Dublin, Ireland

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