For this post I decided to reflect on the importance of one specific technology in teaching that has been available for a while… the Internet. It may seem foolish to discuss the importance of the internet, as it’s been around for many years now, and newer generations don’t even know what it’s like to be in a world without one. And I would agree with that argument if we were talking about other fields other than education. The rate in which other human fields have adopted the internet to perform daily tasks is remarkable (Take, for instance, transportation! You can click on a button in your phone, and a car will pick you up in the next 10 minutes and take you anywhere you wish to go). But we can’t say the same about the use of technology in education. The use of internet to deliver education has always been seen with skepticism. That was, until 2020.
In 2020 internet was the only way in which education was possible to happen. We all remember how uncertain we were, early in 2020 summer, about whether the fall semester would even happen or not. The only way it was made possible to happen, is because the majority of the classes are being held online, and education could be safely delivered. Another educational impact driven by the COVID-19 pandemics was that companies, and universities would share their extension work, with expert speakers, online with the incapacity of holding in-person events. These lectures are always free and are great opportunities for professional development.
I believe that there are many features of the internet that have been forced into the educational system in 2020 that have come to stay. I expect that we will have much more use of internet for teaching after COVID-19 than we had prior to it, and I believe this is good! Zoom, for example, has proven to be an efficient way to deliver education, and often facilitates the life of both the students and the teacher (based on my experience as a student… Feel free to disagree).
Despite of my support for adopting of internet in education, I also strongly believe that universities must return to in-person classes as soon as possible, specially for lab classes. Some of the content we teach can not be delivered properly without live exercises, and if we remain teaching only through the internet, universities won’t be very different than Youtube, for example.