Is technology reducing creativity during lessons in the course of the coronavirus pandemic?

Teachers have had to rethink their teaching styles and adapt it for online due to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown period. No more interactive lessons using a whiteboard or active physical education lessons. The majority of teachers across education have had to re-think and re-plan all their lessons to make it accessible for all students online. Teachers through the Government website can access a step by step process to help them through the transition of making their lessons attainable online. This allows teachers to cover the curriculum online however, this is limiting the amount of creativity being shared within the classroom (Adapting teaching practice for remote education, 2020).

Through this transition teachers are facing new obstacles in making their lessons interactive and creative through a computer screen. Teachers have to find ways to motivate children during an online lesson, overcome technical difficulties with wireless internet and ensure activities are the required length of time (5 Challenges of Online Teaching (and How to Rise Above Them), 2020). Teachers with a few years’ experience may struggle with the change of digital learning and technology. In an article on Forbes it states that 56.7% of teachers were not prepared to facilitate remote learning ( Newton, 2020). Those teachers which are reluctant to teach online lack the confidence to transfer their original resources into online versions which affects the way they can educate students to their full potential. By teachers limiting their resources for online lessons it restricts children and young people’s growth in creativity as there is no freedom in online activities.

With the coronavirus, students and teachers are being required to isolate which can lead to the feeling of loneliness and reduce their enthusiasm for online lessons therefore students overall education is affected (5 Challenges of Online Teaching (and How to Rise Above Them), 2020 ). During online lessons teachers are the main image on the screen speaking about a topic with very little interaction which leads to them feeling like a robot, as in the majority of lessons children are just spectating. An opinion from reddit.com states that teachers are expected to combine and perform lessons pre planned for them. However, they all have a variety of teaching styles so may struggle to deliver the same lesson the way they would have designed it (I feel like a robot teacher : Teachers, 2020). Because of this students are being deprived of their way of interpreting the activity and cap their creativity during their learning process online.

With teachers creating the correct online lessons they are starting to lose the amount of time they can give to each student to support them. This means that teachers have lost the interaction and relationship between them and their students, so the support they receive is limited and rely on help from home. A study completed in June 2020 demonstrated that four out of ten students are not receiving regular contact with their teacher (Weale, 2020). With reduced interaction and creativity in online lessons it can hinder the education of students , particularly below seven years old who use flexible physical learning equipment and group tasks to understand the curriculum.  A survey by YouGovTeacherTrack with 820 school teachers found that 34% have greater anxiety and stress of the demands of what’s happening and what may be in place in a year’s time (Coronavirus: impact on teacher wellbeing as school uncertainties continue, 2020). If a teacher feels anxious or stressed this could reflect in their lessons as there would be little aspect of creativity within the activities due to reduced motivation to think of new ways to present and deliver their lessons.

The coronavirus has tested student-teacher relationships where they  believe that by not seeing their students each morning the relationship is affected as they are unable to check on their general well-being and guide them when necessary ( Strauss, 2020 ). Glick believes that “If you don’t have a relationship with them, they won’t learn,” so with online lessons relationships are being affected so students are not being supported through their education. With limited contact with students from teachers they are unable to tailor a lesson to suit individual student needs especially if they learn in a creative manner.

This new way of teaching online is made easier with extra technology to support teachers while educating. Teachers are able to arrange online one to one sessions with students to help and support them during new subjects or topics. An article written in August 2020, revealed that due to the more flexible timetable teachers are able to mutually organise meetings easier to check students’ understanding of lessons (Ooi, 2020). By teachers understanding the technology and how to utilise it they create more interactive and original lesson plans where children can participate freely within smaller group lessons as they feel more confident to explore the topic in their own way.

Secondary school students have benefited more from online teaching as they tend to be able to work individually and manage their time and studies better. However, with primary school children they thrive on social interactions to help build their characteristics and personality. Therefore, with online lessons they don’t receive the same connection with their teacher or peers. Coronavirus has demonstrated that parents have a large impact on younger children’s education in the amount of support they require and are able to use household objects to help broaden their creativity within learning. A blog supports the idea that younger students need the support of parents to achieve the same education they would obtain in a classroom (Is online teaching effective for younger children? | Simply Learning Tuition, 2020).

These new challenges within education have tested both teachers and students during online lessons to involve a creative way of teaching/learning the curriculum. Teachers need to explore new ways to use technology that encourages students to be creative and motivated in lessons even outside of the classroom environment.

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