The corona crisis has unexpectedly posed a huge challenge to our education system and many teachers have become themselves students of emergency teaching overnight. But…
Online ’emergency education’ is not the same as ‘full-fledged, quality distance education’. There is definitely a difference.
A good teacher is, among other things, stress-resistant, problem-solving, communicative, creative and flexible. A good online teacher combines all these characteristics with technical and digital skills, maintains an overview from a distance and can intervene in an appropriate manner from a distance. European research shows that only 25% of teachers feel digitally competent. And few will dare call themselves masters in all fields. This is why all online teachers need professional training, feedback and a helpdesk in case of problems.
Since the beginning of the corona crisis, d-teach has given 41 free online webinars to nearly 4,000 teachers.
d-teach is currently the only 100% online school in Belgium and has been providing successful and high-quality online education to expat children abroad for years. d-teach is a strong and motivated 40-strong team of pedagogues, speech therapists and recognized teachers in Belgium and abroad at the level of nursery, primary, secondary and adult education. d-teach stands for “Distance Teaching” and was founded 8 years ago as a start-up, originating from the student entrepreneurship of educationalists at Ghent University. It derives its inspiration from many good practices and online schools abroad, where the need for e-learning, due to the far distances, was a necessity.
In Belgium, it is not yet possible to be recognized as an online school. However, the corona crisis has immediately increased awareness regarding the usefulness of and the need for distance learning. This crisis, therefore, offers unprecedented opportunities for innovation in our education. However, this must be done in a pedagogically responsible manner.
Distance learning should not be limited to a simple “copy-paste” story. High-quality distance learning has a clear pedagogical vision of online didactics, is well thought out and planned in advance, interactive, efficient, and structured. It requires the conversion of offline lesson content into a full online story, with a good balance of what is offered synchronously and asynchronously.
We urgently need “sustainable emergency education” that is based on the pillars of high-quality distance education – a “distance education emergency plan”, in order to be able to respond more quickly when a new crisis situation arises.
High-quality distance learning offers so many possibilities and added value that it deserves its place as a fully-fledged and complementary mode alongside contact education.
d-teach, with its enthusiastic, multidisciplinary team and years of experience, is ready to take up this challenge:
PhD-researcher Maaike Grammens (Baekeland-mandaat d-teach/UGent),
Joke Hollants, advisor digital skills (d-teach online training),
Marlies Van Assche, pedagogical advisor, (d-teach online school),
Lieselot Declercq, founder and coordinator (d-teach).
Thanks to Prof. Dr. Bram De Wever (Tecolab, Department of Educational Studies, Ghent university) for his feedback and joint research on distance learning.