While the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak are indescribably tragic, the adaptive capacity of our society found new ways to deliver goods, services, and other necessities through the use of digital platforms and tools. In particular, the challenges of distance learning opened up new opportunities to imagine how to deliver education online to students and parents physically cut off from their schools.
While it remains unclear precisely what the fall will bring in terms of students back in classrooms, one thing is sure: Technology is an even more important educational component than it was even four months ago.
Over the last three months, online learning software companies filled an important gap by enabling school districts to develop expanded remote-learning resources, including online discussion portals, assessment platforms, and digital submission capabilities. For school districts who did not previously subscribe, many companies made our digital tools available through the end of June at no additional cost.
Other technology companies across the country are stepping up as well. Google, for example, has made a number of online resources and platforms available to educators and students, including easily accessible online webinar templates, free use of Google Hangouts, and even laptops for students who did not have computer access at home. It will take the support of companies like Google to truly equip our country’s educators and students with the tools they need as we prepare for the future impacts of the coronavirus.
Especially at a time like this, it would be wise for our elected officials to focus their efforts on helping the tech industry grow and continue to innovate new solutions, embracing the incredible toolbox of digital platforms that will surely mean the difference in ensuring our younger generations make it out of this pandemic without missing a beat.
Charlie Kratsch of Blaine, Minnesota
The writer is founder and CEO of Infinite Campus (infinitecampus.com).