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How the teachers pandemic is transforming education in the 5G era

How the teachers pandemic is transforming education in the 5G era

Mark Davidson remembers the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as a "slow, rolling jolt". He could see it coming, but it was still shaking when it hit.

“We heard from the government on Friday that we will be back to school on Monday. Then we heard Sunday: 'No, you won't, and you need to enable at-home learning as soon as possible,'" says Davidson, superintendent of Medicine Hat Public Schools Division in southern Alberta.

Even with such a short time, the division managed to develop online resources and reorganize classrooms in a matter of days so that all 7,500 students from 17 schools—from kindergarten to high school seniors—have access to home learning. have the necessary things.

Teachers across the country faced similar challenges with equal courage. While the transition to this new distribution format was cumbersome, many found a silver lining in the rapid adoption of digital technology.

"Employees felt that some of the online tools they feared were accessible to them and required skills that were already within their reach," says Davidson.

future of digital education
Even as students return to the classroom as the pandemic rages, digital technology will become a vital part of their education system.

Therefore, the rollout of 5G technology across Canada is an essential resource for teachers and students going forward. TELUS 5G is already available in all major cities and is expanding rapidly in all regions, preparing Canadian schools for a future of digital education – a future that teachers are already embracing. By the end of the year, TELUS 5G is expected to cover more than 70 percent of Canada's population.

Toronto-based Future Design School helps schools in North America innovate and plan for new ways of teaching and learning. The company's CEO and serial entrepreneur Sarah Prewett says teachers are excited about the technological advances and advances in delivery strategies during the pandemic, which have made it possible for them to adopt new teaching methods in addition to more traditional ones.

"Certainly what we've seen from teachers is that there is a reticence to go back to what is considered normal, and they really want to take advantage of all these new ways of leveraging technology to deeply engage students. Looking at ways," she says.

Amid the pandemic-induced changes, more teachers are employing "flipped classrooms," a concept that has existed for a long time but only became mainstream in the switch to online learning.

With the flipped classroom, students receive taped lectures or lessons ahead of time. They are encouraged to do their own research, then come to class ready to practice, discuss, or be involved in group projects.

The evaluation of students is also being reconsidered. As Prevet points out, "If I asked you a question and you can Google it with the answer, that's not a real assessment of knowledge."

Access to reliable connectivity is important
At Medicine Hat, where TELUS 5G is expected to come online this year, Davidson says teachers are making good use of educational software and apps. The division has come together to form its own online school called "The Hub", a distance learning option for children in elementary education up to class 9.

The 480-student center began in the fall of 2020 as an option to return to a physical school location or receive a pencil-and-paper package, and could continue permanently if enrollment remains stable. The services it provides benefit people with immune sensitivities, anxiety issues, and other challenges that make it difficult to attend school in person.

Face-to-face schools attract the majority of students, however, Davidson says that "we have found that there is a place and there are students for whom online learning is something we must keep and make sure it is of high quality." and is stable."

These types of developments provide even more space for students living in remote communities and who already rely on distance learning as a tool for learning. They will directly benefit from improving online offerings.

However, access to reliable, high-speed connectivity is the key to students' success and this is something TELUS is actively addressing. Recently, the tech company announced that it would be bringing its gigabit high-speed fiber network to more than one million homes and businesses in the coming years, including underserved and indigenous communities in BC. and Alberta.

Such efforts, as well as the tech company's ongoing 5G rollout, allow educators and educational platforms to think big. For example, Simbi is working with elders in First Nations and Indigenous communities to tell stories in their local dialects or languages, and Friedland is excited that expanding wireless connectivity could streamline this effort.

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