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Covid-19 and education: how can we help the young generation missing the ‘best years of their lives’?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital2 October 2020

Emma Watson.

Post-millennials, or GenZ, have been described as the first true digital natives, growing up without memory of a time before smart phones or social media. So when England moved into lockdown in March 2020, and life moved online, you might expect this generation to be the most prepared to handle the change. However, our research suggests that this generation feel they are missing out on the “best years” of their lives, having been told to stay inside, losing access to university campuses, their social lives, and job opportunities.

Between May and July this year, the ASPIRES study recorded 48 interviews with 20- and 21-year-old participants who we’ve been fortunate enough to talk to every few years, since they were ten. ASPIRES is led by Professor Louise Archer, Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education at UCL Institute of Education. We’re interested in their science and career aspirations, their life experiences and views on a range of issues. The majority of these interviews were with individuals who were graduating from university this summer, others were mid-way through university, and a handful were either already working, about to start new jobs, or looking for work in a post-pandemic economy.

The young people we spoke with shared the financial difficulties they were experiencing. For instance, university students who depended on paid work during holidays or term-time to support their living costs had been particularly hard hit. As Luna* (more…)

Covid-19 and higher education – a chance to re-imagine the sector, at system and classroom level

Blog Editor, IOE Digital9 July 2020

IOE Events.

In the third and final debate in our mini-series on Covid-19 and education we took a look at what the future could – or should – resemble for our higher education system. For What if… our education system changed for good in light of COVID-19? Part 3: higher education we heard from professors of higher education and of learning technology, a specialist in university regulation and governance, and a former universities minister.

Prior to the arrival of Covid-19, the debate about the right path for England’s higher education sector was still very much a live one. Debate was rooted in value positions running from ‘more means worse’ elitism through to calls for comprehensivisation, as well as contrasting attitudes towards marketisation. For the moment, it is not clear where the experience of the pandemic will take government policy on higher education over the medium term. In the meantime, our panel (more…)

Higher education in the era of COVID-19: have universities considered all the issues for moving teaching online?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital7 July 2020

Gillian Stokes, Alison O’Mara-Eves, Antonia Simon, Preethy D’Souza, Meena Khatwa and Michelle Richardson

The coronavirus pandemic arrived like Nature’s curveball from the blue, and it has had a huge impact on the landscape of higher education (HE). Teaching and learning from home have rapidly become the new normal, with no clear end in sight.

The discourse surrounding HE teaching and learning just as rapidly shifted focus.

Universities’ ability to deliver ‘fit for purpose’ remote learning is under scrutiny. Staff, parents and students are raising worries about privacy, technology and teaching methods. Lecturers have engaged readily and adapted teaching to try to ensure the best experience for their students. But they also have concerns.

We believe discussions about HE and online teaching need to become more nuanced. Here, we identify four key issues (more…)