The school districts serving Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, and Houston have all said they intend to continue offering a fully virtual option this fall. This week, the head of Los Angeles’ schools, Austin Beutner, said he knew some students and staff would want a virtual option until they can be vaccinated, or because they live with an immunocompromised family member.
Professor Andrea Jones-Rooy brilliantly stated in Quartz: “Data doesn’t say anything. Humans say things. We’ve conflated data with truth. And this has dangerous implications for our ability to understand, explain, and improve the things we care about.” Data is important, but it can be manipulated and generated in the way questions are asked. The value is often suspect, and conclusions can be pre-determined.
COVID caused an unprecedented and massive shift to online learning, and while online learning isn’t new itself, it became the primary mode of education delivery for most students. Even as most districts plan for a return to in-person learning in the fall, “the need for online remote access for K-12 instruction and learning resources is now integral to the U.S. education system.”
We live in a world where learning and technology are intrinsically linked, especially in the minds of our youth. But do today’s students process information differently because it comes on a digital device? Is there a correlation between technology use and plummeting literacy rates? And is the way our young people consume information negatively impacting their growth as learners?