Institutions that store and protect cultural heritage, such as museums and archives, are vital resources for mental health, well-being, social cohesion, and cultural learning. Today, more than ever, the importance of culture and creativity for society is clear. During the Covid-19, those with access to the Internet have constantly resorted to online cultural production provided by institutions and private initiatives. Who, during the past months, has not watched a live session with their favourite singers, read an e-book temporarily available during the months of lockdown, or visited a museum “walking” through its digital corridors in a 360-degree view?
Unfortunately, the lockdown measures over this year and the impossibility of physical visiting have caused massive loss of revenue for cultural institutions such as museums and archives. In addition, the digital gap due to lack of Internet accessibility in many regions around the world have increased largely and strongly affected those institutions that cannot resort to such resources, especially the smaller and private initiatives in small cities or rural areas.
When I arrived in Finland in 2016 to start my Master degree in Education, I was stressed. I had to carry luggage everywhere, buy and arrange furniture, organize University papers, attend meetings with supervisors… I also had to deal with the fact that I was in a new place, far away from home, my family and friends. But I was where I wanted to be and I was familiar with stress.
Eventually I started to focus on integrating myself in the University life. I had over 30 ECTS to complete and I was excited and ready to work “full-on”, get stressed by deadlines, reduce my social life and increase my Education expertise. After all, I didn’t come to Finland to make friends, I came to study and get a Master diploma. Well, things happened in a different way.
“We can’t organize the course exam as a mass event with everyone in the classroom. The exam will be organized online. How that happens, well, to me that might be an even bigger mystery than to you. I will get back to this, when we have come up with a solution.”
This is a direct quote from my professor in one of my university courses at the beginning of the semester. This is just one course that has been monstrously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiply this by the amount of courses and the amount of education institutions around the globe, and we can say that the education sector is facing huge challenges and a pressing need for re-organization due to the current crisis.
If you are a teacher or educator of any sort that have already organized a virtual lecture, and at some point of your presentation you wanted to engage your audience by asking a question, you know what I am talking about.
It takes about 5-15 seconds for someone to find the mic icon, turn it on, and speak up. But these seconds are enough time for you to wander around all your insecurities about teaching in a virtual setting. It goes more or less like this: “OMG, nobody is paying attention to what I am saying and I am speaking alone here” – since in many situations the video camera is off and you cannot actually see what your audience is doing.
Now that a new academic year/semester is about to start, the hot topic of the past weeks has been how to proceed with the reopening of schools amid the Covid-19 pandemic, taking into consideration the implications of it for the population health and education. Among teachers, parents, school leaders, and academic researchers there seems to coexist opposite, but also complementary, opinions.
So far, children who attend kindergarten and initial years of primary education seem to be the safest cohort of pupils to come back to school routines thanks to the shared evidence that the vast majority of them do not suffer from hard symptoms due to the virus. Additionally, parents with younger children might need a faster return of them to school activities, so parents can have better conditions to work. However, although younger children are safer to be exposed to physical and face-to-face socialization, they can also be potential carriers and spread the virus among family members, affecting mostly the ones who are in the risk groups (e.g. grandparents who take care of them).
Glowdom and Eduix have joined forces to provide a national-grade education digitalisation ecosystem for Namibia. Eduix is the leading education software ecosystem in Finland. Glowdom has in-depth knowledge about the opportunities in Namibia and a hands-on experience on delivering local solutions. Our goal is to completely and rapidly change the way school and student management and related services are done in the country.
In order to share our experience with all our contributors and partners (that is, you!), we decided to organize a webinar series to share what we have learned and connect with relevant stakeholders to join efforts in bringing Namibia education to the next level.
The education sector has been one of the most affected amid Covid-19 pandemic, with over 1.5 billion students around the world experiencing significant interruption in their learning routine (UNESCO). School closure, and more recently reopening, has posed new demands for rethinking the school system, such as increasing the role of online pedagogical tools, reforming the curriculum to adjust to the “new normal”, and dropping teaching practices that cannot be integrated to a hybrid format of education, among others.
During Covid-19, many countries had to interrupt their school routines and establish distance education as the only way to continue teaching. However, this situation poses several challenges for all stakeholders, especially teachers.
The co-operation project with Haaga-Helia, Eduix Ltd. and Glowdom has progressed to first concrete pilot tests.
During February, Altti Lagstedt had a very busy time in Namibia, together with Sebulon David of Glowdom. They met interesting groups, refined the Ahaa ecosystem model and planned the pilot tests of both Formjack and Wihi products with education representatives. They also attended the Python conference “PyCon Namibia 2020”, where Altti was a keynote speaker and Sebulon had a “light talk” presentation.