A New Era After Corona – what has changed sustainably in education?
In an international comparison the status of digitization in Germany is poor. This became particularly apparent in the educations system through the corona pandemic. Fewer lessons, closed schools and limited social interaction massively impacted students in the short and long term. Wößmann (2020) describes a partially dark scenario. The subsequent costs of closed schools range from economic consequences, such as lower growth due to a lack of developing cognitive skills, to socio-emotional costs due to a lack of social contact with people of the same age, as well as decreased professional success (e.g. lower income, lower probability of taking up employment at all). Since learning is a dynamic process, i.e. content and competencies build on one another, these must be tested and improved continuously, which could not be guaranteed at all times during the corona pandemic. If something is not learned or not learned sufficiently, the basic skills for further knowledge acquisition are missing. Therefore, it is not surprising that many students have lost their motivation to learn during home schooling during the corona pandemic (see Geis-Thöne 2020).
But there are also positive effects from the corona pandemic. Above all, it led to a general digitizing boost, also in the education system. While we are far from providing content digitally and permanently, it is a good basis. In addition, the asynchronous teaching approach enabled the learners to determine their own learning pace, which, among other things, promoted self-learning skills and individual time management. One result from this time is that the learning success is not only attributable to teachers, but everyone involved has to make a significant contribution. This affects both students and parents, as well as teaching staff and politics.
Resulting from the advantages and disadvantages that arose in education during the times of Corona we may ask: To what extent does the corona pandemic have a lasting effect on the education sector?
Further questions can be: Will we return to face-to-face teaching and paper-based learning after the shutdown due to the pandemic? How can we succeed in taking the digitisation momentum with us? What does the education system in Germany need, for example with regard to the media competence of those involved (students, parents and teachers), the equipment of schools or the change in learning procedures – understanding and application instead of pure replication.