Change is never easy, and, in fact, most of us resist change. But generally, change is good – it forces us to think and move outside of our comfort zone, and after a while, we usually embrace the change that occurred. Some changes are gradual and barely noticeable, like the growth of our children, while other changes are forced upon us abruptly, altering our routines profoundly, as in the case of the changes required during this current pandemic.
If we look back over time, we can see the importance of change in our lives. Just 10 years ago, in 2010, although the smartphone existed, we hadn’t yet started using our phones as alarm clocks. Starbucks was a favorite beverage, but a toasted White Chocolate Mocha wasn’t on the menu, and you couldn’t order your drink on your phone. Apple Music was not yet available, nor were AirPods.
In the previous decade, beginning in the year 2000, we saw the advent of the camera phone, the USB flash drive, Bluetooth, Facebook, and YouTube. (How did we function in the years heading up to the 20th century?) The first web server, which led to the foundation for the World Wide Web was realized in 1990, and in the last decade of the millennium, the first gene therapy trial was underway. Video game consoles included Super Nintendo, PlayStation, and Nintendo 64, and hip hop spread around the world.
In a few years, when we look back on 2020, we will no doubt point to this year as a time of profound change and growth. Perhaps the habit of shaking hands will no longer be the custom, and it is likely that we will, for some time, be much more conscientious about germs – washing hands, using hand sanitizer, wearing a mask when we are sick, and cleaning and disinfecting will likely always be part of our routines going forward.
From an educational standpoint, we have recognized great opportunities in teaching and learning because of our current situation, and these changes will undoubtedly continue. From here on out, children who are home ill will always be able to join their classmates in learning remotely, and not lose valuable days of instruction. Educational applications such as Padlet, Nearpod, and Flipgrid allow students to express themselves and share their learning in more authentic ways, and the concept of a flipped classroom allows teachers to spend more time coaching students during the school day rather than primarily focusing on didactic instruction.
These changes were imposed upon us quickly. It was a bit painful making the transition, but I believe that once this pandemic is over, whether in a few months or a year from now, the changes we have made will stay with us for the long haul. Just as the improvements from previous decades made a lasting impact on the future, we, too, will look back and wonder how we ever did things differently.
What changes have you experienced in your family over the past several months that you plan to continue?