COVID-19, education in times of crisis and simple things to support with

Large scale outbreaks of epidemic disease, natural disaster or serious air pollution take place in the global wide, affecting not only humans’ wellbeing, but also education. Somehow, suddenly, education becomes another victim, and sustainable, effective learning and teaching are in danger. In this context, people care and share.

All these initiatives and people want to contribute and give a hand, based on their competences and capabilities

Smart Learning Institute at Beijing Normal University (BNU) put together a set of recommendations to prevent contagion from COVID-19. They are now available in 11 languages, including Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Korean and Urdu, to name a few. They have worked in collaboration with The Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO). The translation into Spanish has been carried out by the Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED) at Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR), and includes 1) Basic Information about Novel Coronavirus;  2) Protection from the Novel Coronavirus (Masks, Hands, Household Prevention); and 3) Seeking Medical Treatment.

Further, that very same Smart Learning Institute hosted in March, 13th, 2020, an International Webinar with over 20 speakers about how the educational system is facing the epidemic. The online conference gathered educational experts, concerned for the outbreak and about the mark on education that the crisis can leave. The Handbook on Facilitating Flexible Learning During Educational Disruption was presented.

International Webinar about Education and COVID-19

Out of this experience, Springer has offered to publish a book with working title “Education in a crisis context. COVID-19 as an opportunity for global learning” which will be edited with my friends Ahmed Tlili and Anita Tabacco, from universities in Spain, China and Italy, three of the most critical spots right now. This book will present how to keep working on education in contexts of crisis, like emergencies, zones of conflict, wars and health pandemics, like with COVID-19. Specifically, this work will show a number of strategies to support global learning and teaching in online settings, and will guide readers with insights and guidelines on how to maintain learning undisrupted during contexts of crisis.

In addition, Daniel Massó a colleague from UNE (The Spanish Association for Standardisation, meaning the Spanish National standardisation body) that also leads the AENOR-UNIR Chair in Quality and Technology Standards in Certification at UNIR sent us a link with a preventive and simple measure to avoid contagion with a simple message: Health is in your hands.

All these initiatives and people want to contribute and give a hand, based on their competences and capabilities. Many others do the same in their context like actors (Arnold, Chris Hemsworth), elite sportmen and women (Nadal & Gasol, Contador) and business people (Inditex). They want to give basic and practical recommendations to the various stakeholders in educational contexts like, i.e. students, content providers, technology services, policy makers, school teachers, university lecturers, academic managers, and others, about flexible, personalised and effective education in the context of a crisis. Nowadays, any support is welcome.

March, 26th, 2020