It’s no secret that many students and educators struggled to adjust to last year’s rapid change to remote learning. Both groups faced a variety of obstacles, including lost lab time and increasing knowledge gaps, as well as learning loss and disengagement.
As a result, it’s unclear how much mastery pupils gained in their classes during the pandemic, and how much retention they’ll show when we return to class. Which begs the question: how can chemistry teachers prepare themselves (and their students) for success with a new school year approaching and so much uncertainty still hanging in the air?
Challenges To Be Faced In 2022
With so much ambiguity surrounding immunizations, the constant threat of new variations, and the general health concerns linked with in-classroom learning, educators must adapt at breakneck speed. This might result in abrupt changes to curriculum design or the need to plan for unexpected changes in teaching approaches.
As a result of this unprecedented demand on educators, one out of every four instructors polled said they were considering retiring by the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year. This could result in a last-minute shortage of certified instructors for higher college courses such as chemistry, which require specific skills to teach.
From the perspective of the students, many are trapped between wanting to keep themselves and their loved ones safe by staying at home and grappling with the many limits that a year of remote learning imposed. For a variety of reasons, staying at home may also imply sacrificing their level of mastery (access or familiarity with technology, difficulty staying engaged, etc).
Chemistry Education Has Evolved
In 2022, there will be more alternatives for remote teaching than ever before (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Classroom to name a few). While these tools are great for remote meetings, they lack the kind of functionality that helps teachers teach highly conceptual (and technical) subjects like chemistry.
Fortunately, the rise of new educational technologies has been one of the most favourable things to occur in the recent 12 months. Beyond the basics of remote access, new technologies that focus on active learning and skill development have been fast emerging and will only improve in the future. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for bridging learning gaps and engaging students more effectively.
Possibilities For the Future
In 2022, teaching will entail being prepared to recognise and address student knowledge and learning gaps while also incorporating flexibility and adaptability into your course design. It also entails utilising chemistry-specific, student-centred instructional technology tools, such as Active Chemistry, to provide students with actively engaging information, concept visualisation, and practise.
Finally, instructors that incorporate a student response mechanism that can be used both in-person and online will be ahead of the game and prepared for any eventuality.