New Information Brief: Resources to Accelerate Learning Recovery for All Students
Throughout the world, the effects of COVID-19 on education are dramatic. Internet connectivity evolved from a want to a need. Without it, the outside world was inaccessible. Two-thirds of children in poor countries did not have access to the internet (Avanesian, Garen, Amaro, Diogo, Mishra, Sakshi, Schaaper, Martin, Jones, Christopher, Park, Hyunju, Wang, Yixin, Egorova, Kamei, Akito, Mizunoya, & Suguru, 2020). Though unfinished learning among vulnerable populations always existed, the pandemic amplified its effects (Dorn, Hancock, Sarakatsannis, & Viruleg, 2020; Kuhfeld, Soland, Tarasawa, Johnson, Ruzek, & Liu, 2020), widening achievement gaps. Attendance during in person and virtual instruction dropped among marginalized populations. Food, shelter, and basic necessities took precedence. Trauma magnified unfinished learning, potentially having life-long effects.
Though the pandemic grossly exposed inequities throughout the world and global digital divide, technologies impact on education is transformative. Teacher comfort with technology and confidence in delivering virtual instruction improved. The proliferation of instructional technologies that enhance the education of all students became more widespread. These technologies can level the playing field for many students with disabilities, as teachers implement universal design for learning (UDL) into lesson plans. The pandemic transformed teacher professional development, extending opportunities to learn research-based practices into remote parts of the world. Through synchronous and asynchronous professional learning, teachers can learn as long as they have internet connectivity.