A recent study has found that one in five U.S. schools will adopt virtual learning as a permanent part of their teaching - even after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and teaching has returned to normal.
According to a new RAND corporation study, entitled, Remote Learning is Here to Stay, researchers found there is both student and parent demand for continuing various forms of online instruction.
Further reasons provided by schools also centred on both convenience and practicality: offering students more flexibility, meeting the diversity of students’ needs, and maintaining student enrolment.
Schools were united in their concerns about students' unequal opportunities to learn during COVID-19, which was among their top-rated challenges for the 2020–2021 school year.
“We found three common concerns: disparities in students' opportunities to learn, students' social and emotional learning needs, and insufficient funding to cover staff,” said Heather Schwartz, lead author of the report and director of the Pre-K to 12 educational systems program at RAND.
“But just as reopening plans differ based on local approaches to both schooling and the pandemic, district leaders' opinions differed on the degree to which they prioritized these needs and concerns.”
The RAND study also found that 69 percent of district leaders cited a moderate or great need for additional professional development to help teachers use technology tools to provide high-quality instruction.
In two separate studies GBH Education concluded that while online teaching was on the increase, teachers now felt less confident in their edtech tools than before the pandemic.
This is attributed to the fact that educators had previously used technology to supplement teaching, as opposed to becoming the dominant feature of teaching during the pandemic.
Market research firm HolonIQ had previously released charts to explain the global spend in the global educational technology market, finding that it only accounted for 3.6 percent of total spend on education.
However, it forecasts that investment in this area, from early childhood through adulthood at school, will double in the coming years to an estimated global investment of over $400 billion by 2025.