During the past 2 years with the beginning of 2020 almost all of the schools worldwide had to shift to online education or to a form of hybrid type of training - both on site and online training.
While many schools were unprepared for this over-night change this was at no time anything new for the online schools which were already actively employing virtual classroom software and learning management systems in their daily activities.
Moreover - students from the traditional schools and mostly their parents were not prepared for such an overnight switch. Neither were their teachers.
There were several big challenges that all parties had to overcome:
The management of traditional schools had a very difficult task - they had to choose the right and efficient way to quickly switch to online schooling. Most of them turned to several popular online meeting platforms trying to just move the in-classroom activities online.
Was this enough and a successful move? To large extent - No! The web conferencing software is only good choice for team meetings and discussions but it has never been designed to serve well in online education. In other words - software for online meetings cannot efficiently replace the professional virtual classroom software which is especially designed for live online teaching and training.
Teachers and Trainers
The other affected group were the teachers. They had to overcome several difficulties: lack of experience in online teaching and training, difficulties of adapting software which is not meant for online training. The latter could be overcome easier had the school managers chosen the proper virtual classroom tools for their online education. Another task newly converted online teachers had to deal with was helping children and parents with the new environment. Another big issue was the lack of of proper online training content that they could use in their live virtual classrooms.
Parents and Students
Parents and students were most affected. Particularly younger students where motivation is not that strong being placed in a video conferencing software had plenty of distraction, thus further losing their motivation. Parents had to become teachers after school or had to invigilate their children during the online classes.
All these problems could have been reduced to minimum, had the school managers made the proper choice of adopting a professional virtual classroom software designed especially for synchronous online teaching and training. Virtual classroom software offer a large set of tools in an instructor-led environment. The teacher focuses mostly on the teaching activities. Students remained focused on the online whiteboard.
Still there were multiple schools who chose the proper virtual classroom software as a part of a turn-key online teaching solution for their educational institutions. Such schools became hybrid schools, which I believe are the schools of the near future.