Transforming education systems: Why, what, and how

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Rebecca winthrop and rebecca winthrop director - center for universal education , senior fellow - global economy and development @rebeccawinthrop the hon. minister david sengeh the hon. minister david sengeh minister of education and chief innovation officer - government of sierra leone, chief innovation officer - directorate of science, technology and innovation in sierra leone @dsengeh.

June 23, 2022

Today, the topic of education system transformation is front of mind for many leaders. Ministers of education around the world are seeking to build back better as they emerge from COVID-19-school closures to a new normal of living with a pandemic. The U.N. secretary general is convening the Transforming Education Summit (TES) at this year’s general assembly meeting (United Nations, n.d.). Students around the world continue to demand transformation on climate and not finding voice to do this through their schools are regularly leaving class to test out their civic action skills.      

It is with this moment in mind that we have developed this shared vision of education system transformation. Collectively we offer insights on transformation from the perspective of a global think tank and a national government: the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings brings years of global research on education change and transformation, and the Ministry of Education of Sierra Leone brings on-the-ground lessons from designing and implementing system-wide educational rebuilding.   

This brief is for any education leader or stakeholder who is interested in charting a transformation journey in their country or education jurisdiction such as a state or district. It is also for civil society organizations, funders, researchers, and anyone interested in the topic of national development through education. In it, we answer the following three questions and argue for a participatory approach to transformation:  

  • Why is education system transformation urgent now? We argue that the world is at an inflection point. Climate change, the changing nature of work, increasing conflict and authoritarianism together with the urgency of COVID recovery has made the transformation agenda more critical than ever. 
  • What is education system transformation? We argue that education system transformation must entail a fresh review of the goals of your system – are they meeting the moment that we are in, are they tackling inequality and building resilience for a changing world, are they fully context aware, are they owned broadly across society – and then fundamentally positioning all components of your education system to coherently contribute to this shared purpose.  
  • How can education system transformation advance in your country or jurisdiction? We argue that three steps are crucial: Purpose (developing a broadly shared vision and purpose), Pedagogy (redesigning the pedagogical core), and Position (positioning and aligning all components of the system to support the pedagogical core and purpose). Deep engagement of educators, families, communities, students, ministry staff, and partners is essential across each of these “3 P” steps.    

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Our aim is not to provide “the answer” — we are also on a journey and continually learning about what it takes to transform systems — but to help others interested in pursuing system transformation benefit from our collective reflections to date. The goal is to complement and put in perspective — not replace — detailed guidance from other actors on education sector on system strengthening, reform, and redesign. In essence, we want to broaden the conversation and debate.

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Search Kids Discover

An educator’s reflections on “a new normal” for schools.

August 21, 2020 by Justin Birckbichler

In this post, educator and instructional technology coach, Justin Birckbichler, shares his thoughts on the “new normal” that schools across the country are facing. 

Educator, Classroom, Teacher Tips, Kids Discover

In Virginia, where I work as an instructional technology coach, all schools completely shut down for in-person instruction in March due to the pandemic. While the state gave an option to reopen schools in the fall, my district chose to begin this school year in an all-virtual manner. Given that the current situation has only gotten worse since spring, this was clearly the safest choice. Despite knowing this was the best option from a seemingly impossible decision, I’m still left with a hard to describe feeling.

While I don’t have my own classroom anymore, I do have the pleasure of connecting with over 650 kids each and every day. Although the vast majority of them don’t quite grasp my job – I’m either the science, computer, TV, or maintenance guy, depending who you ask, none of which are my official job title – I like to think they know that I’m there for them. I already miss seeing every single kid from the beginning of the day to the end, but it’s not about me.

For many of these kids, school is a safe, special, and important place for them… even if they don’t always show it in the “best” ways. The ones who will fight you hardest are the ones who secretly love being there most. Through the shutdown, throughout the summer, and beginning this year, my thoughts have been with these students – my current Lions, as well as my former Cardinals, Bobcats, and Bears. Wow, I really need to learn to stay in one school for a while.

However, we have a unique opportunity here to make a commitment to being there for the kids. Undoubtedly, it sucks that they’ve missed out on face-to-face instruction for over six months and counting now, but realistically they will be fine in the long run. When was the last time you added fractions with unlike denominators, or had to know the French nobleman who aided the Continental Army? We’ll work out the logistics of distance/e-learning in time, but we can start on the far more important mission immediately.

We can’t change the decision to be virtual or this scale of virus (although wearing a mask will help). But what we can change is how we use this time to impact our students’ lives on a far greater scale.

What we must do (and now is a good time to say that this is solely my views and are not necessarily reflective of the opinions of my school, district, or state) is use this time to connect with the kids on a daily basis. When I missed three months of school as I underwent chemo in 2017 , I wrote back and forth on Google Classroom with each of my kids every single day. I learned more about those kids through that three months of writing than I did in an entire year of some previous classes. I made video calls and phone calls to keep up with them. These were moments that the students and I truly treasured, even when one student exclaimed, “Wow Mr. B you’re really fat now and have no hair!” Yes, Neil, that’s what chemo does.

Though I wasn’t physically present with them, I never felt like I was missing out on anything because I was there in the only way I could – and we worked together to make it count.

The point of this post is to focus on what matters. It’s not how we feel about it. Yes, we’re upset and sad. It’s not about the teaching and curriculum that’s being missed. Yes, these skills are important and it’s literally our job to provide them with the required knowledge. But what truly matters is growing strong connections and creating safe spaces for our students.

Ten years from now, they’re not going to remember how they did on their end of year tests or what they learned in class… unless it’s that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell – that’s important and they will remember that forever.

They will remember how we rallied around them to make them feel loved and supported even when we couldn’t physically be there.

So I will wrap up this “teacher as a martyr post that Justin usually hates” and get off my soapbox by saying I know educators are all upset about the decisions of their respective districts. There’s really no right answer and not everyone will be pleased with whatever choice is made. 

But we must – and I repeat, must – do everything in our power to make sure that our students know just because school will look drastically different than in any previous year, our love, support, and care for them will never change.

Be sure to check our blog for new posts from our amazing community every week!

Kids Discover

Justin Birckbichler

Justin Birckbichler Justin Birckbichler is an Instructional Technology Coach in Spotsylvania, VA and a Google for Education Certified Innovator. In his work, he is very passionate about forming strong relationships with students, purposeful technology integration, and thinking outside the box. Connect with him on Twitter at @MrBITRT and read his blog at Outside of the education world, he’s is a testicular cancer survivor and spreads awareness at

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The New Normal policy has made a tremendous effort on the Philippine educational system since the inception of the COVID-19 Pandemics in early February 2020. The Department of Education has made a tremendous effort in organizing the system for such an unexpected event. Whereas, the whole institution planned on several readiness steps to bring the teachers and the staffs to a level where they would be the one to provide the learning modules for the students. Thus, the whole public school system has busied itself in module making and has been part of various and endless webinars from various institutions-both public and private. However, the problem and challenges encountered by our educational system has been so because the country is not yet ready to provide the technology that has been available beforehand to other countries especially in some ASEAN countries. Thus, the adaption and the implementation of such system may be said to be late. The effect of this late subscription of the Department of Education to various alternative means of education, rather than the traditional, has gotten our country's readiness to a starting point. That while other countries effectively supplanted these alternative forms of education to their learners, the Philippines has just started-and, to this means, what other country has been doing before is said to be the country's New Normal. The research established the current status of the ICT integration in the South East Asia and the world in general as compared to the Philippines as an overview of the country's ICT condition. The result shows that majority of the respondents believed that there is good adaption and implementation of the New Normal policy in the various areas.

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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic changed the course of delivering quality education to learners. This study analyzed the level of digital competence of school administrators, the readiness of schools, and perceived challenges on the delivery of distance learning. Using a descriptive research design, the researchers used an online survey to gather pertinent data for the study. Thirty-six (36) administrators took part in the online survey using universal sampling from a school division in the province of Bulacan, Philippines. The researchers created an online research instrument and subjected it to validation before the actual administration. After data gathering, the researchers encoded and tabulated the data. This study used the following statistical tools to analyze the data: frequency, percentage, and rank. The study found that the administrators have varied results on the aspect of digital competence based on the statistical analysis. In terms of school readiness on distance learning, the schools were not yet ready to implement a distance learning scheme. For the perceived challenges, internet connection/ connectivity is the primary concern. Other challenges involve preparation, competencies, funding, and devices for distance learning. Based on the result of the study, the researchers provided some essential recommendations for the administrators, teachers, and other stakeholders.

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This research study explored the aspects of different Alternative Learning Delivery Modalities (ALDMs)such as Home-Based/Modular Learning, the Blended Learning and Online Class Learning for utilization of Secondary Social Studies Teachers aimed to address teaching pedagogies in the new normal. It also focused on ascertaining the preferred support from their school on ALDMs. The respondents were the Junior and Senior Social Studies teachers from Secondary Schools of Zone 2, DepEd, Division of Zambales, Philippines. It was conducted during the second quarter of the school year 2020-2021. The research study is descriptive and quantitative in its analysis. The Social Studies teachers are very much ready in ALDM mainly on Home-Based/Modular Learning. The Social Studies teachers strongly agreed that they preferred to be supported on ALDMs primarily on technological infrastructures and trainings and seminars. Specifically, the teachers aimed and needs to be more familiar on the guidelines of blended learning utilization inside the classroom and the need to be supplied with sufficient, strong and stable Internet bandwidth or speed. The analysis of variance result revealed a significant difference in the perceived readiness/preparedness in the ALDMs.


Jopet Vincent Medalla , Mark Anthony D. Dipad , Christian Paulo De Vera

The emergence of Corona Virus Disease 2019 pandemic required educational institutions to shift to new instructional paradigm to ensure learning continuity. With the restrictions on mass gathering, online distance learning has emerged as one of the alternative modalities. This descriptive study primarily aimed to assess the faculty readiness of St. Louise de Marillac School of Bulan (SLMSB), Inc., a private secondary school in the Municipality of Bulan in Sorsogon Province, Bicol Region of The Philippines, in implementing online learning as an alternative instructional mode. Using an adapted survey-questionnaire, twenty (20) faculty members participated in this research which is a total enumeration of the teachers in the school. Employing descriptive statistical tools on quantitative data which are supported by qualitative data collected through interview, it was found out that the faculty members of SLMSB are sufficiently ready on online learning in terms of their technology access, considering the measures being undertaken by the school administration. They are also ready in terms of their technology skills and their attitude towards online learning. However, despite the general result on readiness, analysis of the indicators revealed that they need to be trained in terms of use of online learning management system, and use of tools for developing learning materials. With these results, it is recommended that a capability-building program for faculty members of SLMSB be conducted to prepare them in facilitating online learning through an extension program that may be offered by Sorsogon State College-Bulan Campus.

International Journal of Pedagogical Development and Lifelong Learning

Jose Z . Tria

The present COVID-19 pandemic has brought extraordinary challenges and has affected the educational sectors, and no one knows when it will end. Every country is presently implementing plans and procedures on how to contain the virus, and the infections are still continually rising. In the educational context, to sustain and provide quality education despite lockdown and community quarantine, the new normal should be taken into consideration in the planning and implementation of the "new normal educational policy". This article presents opportunities for responding issues, problems and trends that are currently arising and will arise in the future due to COVID-19 pandemic through the lens of education in the Philippines-the new educational norm.

IOER International Multidisciplinary Research Journal

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Schools' stakeholders are the most affected during this time of the pandemic. They are mostly the ones at a loss and are the ones sacrificing, may it be either academically, financially, or both. The different gathered data aimed to provide clarity on the issues and provide propositions on how to conduct the schools' organic functions, possibly during and after the pandemic. In this study, a total of 220 participants came from 44 different schools. The study employed a concurrent-triangulation research design in which an online survey was sent to the participants. Also, teachers coming from international schools and schools outside the Philippines were contacted to have them share their experiences in regards to how their schools handle the situation. Lastly, document analysis was also utilized as a data-gathering procedure.

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The study aimed to assess the parentteacher-learner collaboration in facilitating modular instruction in San Juan Daan Elementary School for school year 2020-2021. It used the qualitative research method since a structured interview was utilized in gathering the primary data. Using this method, interviews were conducted to get the needed data from the 40 participants. The participants were the 20 learners with their 20 respective parents of San Juan Daan Elementary School in Bulan District. This method was able to showcase the collaborative efforts of the parents, the learners, and the teacher in ensuring the continuity of the teaching and learning process amidst the new normal.

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The incursion of COVID-19 to various states has set forth the challenge for the educational institutions to transition to the New Normal teaching and learning scheme. In the scarce of the studies driven by the perception of Senior High School (SHS) teachers on its ways and challenges using learning management system (LMS), this qualitative study was conducted. Specifically, the study aimed to explore the strategies and methods of teachers using LMS in (a) facilitating and (b) assessing learning; and (c) to determine the perceived dilemmas of teachers in online learning in the New Normal. Respondents were purposively chosen and underwent semi-structured in-depth interviews by dint of video conferencing. Data were transcribed, coded, and thematically analyzed. Results revealed three themes on facilitating learning such as maximizing LMS features, employing adaptive tools, and utilizing class structures: and two themes on assessing learning, namely item-based and output-based assessments. Four emerging themes on SHS teachers' perceived challenges were lumped as "EASE": Establishing connection; Access to online learning demands; Stable wellness amidst the pandemic; and Ensuring quality learning experience. Findings revealed that despite this unprecedented transition, the use of LMS does not necessarily equate to an optimum edge in an online teaching and learning environment. Nevertheless, this paper describes how educators embody the commitment to quality education by concretizing adaptive and responsive measures to the demand of the New Normal setup.

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The “new normal” in education

José augusto pacheco.

Research Centre on Education (CIEd), Institute of Education, University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal

Effects rippling from the Covid 19 emergency include changes in the personal, social, and economic spheres. Are there continuities as well? Based on a literature review (primarily of UNESCO and OECD publications and their critics), the following question is posed: How can one resist the slide into passive technologization and seize the possibility of achieving a responsive, ethical, humane, and international-transformational approach to education? Technologization, while an ongoing and evidently ever-intensifying tendency, is not without its critics, especially those associated with the humanistic tradition in education. This is more apparent now that curriculum is being conceived as a complicated conversation. In a complex and unequal world, the well-being of students requires diverse and even conflicting visions of the world, its problems, and the forms of knowledge we study to address them.

From the past, we might find our way to a future unforeclosed by the present (Pinar 2019 , p. 12)

Texts regarding this pandemic’s consequences are appearing at an accelerating pace, with constant coverage by news outlets, as well as philosophical, historical, and sociological reflections by public intellectuals worldwide. Ripples from the current emergency have spread into the personal, social, and economic spheres. But are there continuities as well? Is the pandemic creating a “new normal” in education or simply accenting what has already become normal—an accelerating tendency toward technologization? This tendency presents an important challenge for education, requiring a critical vision of post-Covid-19 curriculum. One must pose an additional question: How can one resist the slide into passive technologization and seize the possibility of achieving a responsive, ethical, humane, and international-transformational approach to education?

The ongoing present

Unpredicted except through science fiction, movie scripts, and novels, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed everyday life, caused wide-scale illness and death, and provoked preventive measures like social distancing, confinement, and school closures. It has struck disproportionately at those who provide essential services and those unable to work remotely; in an already precarious marketplace, unemployment is having terrible consequences. The pandemic is now the chief sign of both globalization and deglobalization, as nations close borders and airports sit empty. There are no departures, no delays. Everything has changed, and no one was prepared. The pandemic has disrupted the flow of time and unraveled what was normal. It is the emergence of an event (think of Badiou 2009 ) that restarts time, creates radical ruptures and imbalances, and brings about a contingency that becomes a new necessity (Žižek 2020 ). Such events question the ongoing present.

The pandemic has reshuffled our needs, which are now based on a new order. Whether of short or medium duration, will it end in a return to the “normal” or move us into an unknown future? Žižek contends that “there is no return to normal, the new ‘normal’ will have to be constructed on the ruins of our old lives, or we will find ourselves in a new barbarism whose signs are already clearly discernible” (Žižek 2020 , p. 3).

Despite public health measures, Gil ( 2020 ) observes that the pandemic has so far generated no physical or spiritual upheaval and no universal awareness of the need to change how we live. Techno-capitalism continues to work, though perhaps not as before. Online sales increase and professionals work from home, thereby creating new digital subjectivities and economies. We will not escape the pull of self-preservation, self-regeneration, and the metamorphosis of capitalism, which will continue its permanent revolution (Wells 2020 ). In adapting subjectivities to the recent demands of digital capitalism, the pandemic can catapult us into an even more thoroughly digitalized space, a trend that artificial intelligence will accelerate. These new subjectivities will exhibit increased capacities for voluntary obedience and programmable functioning abilities, leading to a “new normal” benefiting those who are savvy in software-structured social relationships.

The Covid-19 pandemic has submerged us all in the tsunami-like economies of the Cloud. There is an intensification of the allegro rhythm of adaptation to the Internet of Things (Davies, Beauchamp, Davies, and Price 2019 ). For Latour ( 2020 ), the pandemic has become internalized as an ongoing state of emergency preparing us for the next crisis—climate change—for which we will see just how (un)prepared we are. Along with inequality, climate is one of the most pressing issues of our time (OECD 2019a , 2019b ) and therefore its representation in the curriculum is of public, not just private, interest.

Education both reflects what is now and anticipates what is next, recoding private and public responses to crises. Žižek ( 2020 , p. 117) suggests in this regard that “values and beliefs should not be simply ignored: they play an important role and should be treated as a specific mode of assemblage”. As such, education is (post)human and has its (over)determination by beliefs and values, themselves encoded in technology.

Will the pandemic detoxify our addiction to technology, or will it cement that addiction? Pinar ( 2019 , pp. 14–15) suggests that “this idea—that technological advance can overcome cultural, economic, educational crises—has faded into the background. It is our assumption. Our faith prompts the purchase of new technology and assures we can cure climate change”. While waiting for technology to rescue us, we might also remember to look at ourselves. In this way, the pandemic could be a starting point for a more sustainable environment. An intelligent response to climate change, reactivating the humanistic tradition in education, would reaffirm the right to such an education as a global common good (UNESCO 2015a , p. 10):

This approach emphasizes the inclusion of people who are often subject to discrimination – women and girls, indigenous people, persons with disabilities, migrants, the elderly and people living in countries affected by conflict. It requires an open and flexible approach to learning that is both lifelong and life-wide: an approach that provides the opportunity for all to realize their potential for a sustainable future and a life of dignity”.

Pinar ( 2004 , 2009 , 2019 ) concevies of curriculum as a complicated conversation. Central to that complicated conversation is climate change, which drives the need for education for sustainable development and the grooming of new global citizens with sustainable lifestyles and exemplary environmental custodianship (Marope 2017 ).

The new normal

The pandemic ushers in a “new” normal, in which digitization enforces ways of working and learning. It forces education further into technologization, a development already well underway, fueled by commercialism and the reigning market ideology. Daniel ( 2020 , p. 1) notes that “many institutions had plans to make greater use of technology in teaching, but the outbreak of Covid-19 has meant that changes intended to occur over months or years had to be implemented in a few days”.

Is this “new normal” really new or is it a reiteration of the old?

Digital technologies are the visible face of the immediate changes taking place in society—the commercial society—and schools. The immediate solution to the closure of schools is distance learning, with platforms proliferating and knowledge demoted to information to be exchanged (Koopman 2019 ), like a product, a phenomenon predicted decades ago by Lyotard ( 1984 , pp. 4-5):

Knowledge is and will be produced in order to be sold, it is and will be consumed in order to be valued in a new production: in both cases, the goal is exchange. Knowledge ceases to be an end in itself, it loses its use-value.

Digital technologies and economic rationality based on performance are significant determinants of the commercialization of learning. Moving from physical face-to-face presence to virtual contact (synchronous and asynchronous), the learning space becomes disembodied, virtual not actual, impacting both student learning and the organization of schools, which are no longer buildings but websites. Such change is not only coterminous with the pandemic, as the Education 2030 Agenda (UNESCO 2015b ) testified; preceding that was the Delors Report (Delors 1996 ), which recoded education as lifelong learning that included learning to know, learning to do, learning to be, and learning to live together.

Transnational organizations have specified competences for the 21st century and, in the process, have defined disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge that encourages global citizenship, through “the supra curriculum at the global, regional, or international comparative level” (Marope 2017 , p. 10). According to UNESCO ( 2017 ):

While the world may be increasingly interconnected, human rights violations, inequality and poverty still threaten peace and sustainability. Global Citizenship Education (GCED) is UNESCO’s response to these challenges. It works by empowering learners of all ages to understand that these are global, not local issues and to become active promoters of more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable societies.

These transnational initiatives have not only acknowledged traditional school subjects but have also shifted the curriculum toward timely topics dedicated to understanding the emergencies of the day (Spiller 2017 ). However, for the OECD ( 2019a ), the “new normal” accentuates two ideas: competence-based education, which includes the knowledges identified in the Delors Report , and a new learning framework structured by digital technologies. The Covid-19 pandemic does not change this logic. Indeed, the interdisciplinary skills framework, content and standardized testing associated with the Programme for International Student Assessment of the OECD has become the most powerful tool for prescribing the curriculum. Educationally, “the universal homogenous ‘state’ exists already. Globalization of standardized testing—the most prominent instance of threatening to restructure schools into technological sites of political socialization, conditioning children for compliance to a universal homogeneous state of mind” (Pinar 2019 , p. 2).

In addition to cognitive and practical skills, this “homogenous state of mind” rests on so-called social and emotional skills in the service of learning to live together, affirming global citizenship, and presumably returning agency to students and teachers (OECD 2019a ). According to Marope ( 2017 , p. 22), “this calls for higher flexibility in curriculum development, and for the need to leave space for curricula interpretation, contextualization, and creativity at the micro level of teachers and classrooms”. Heterogeneity is thus enlisted in the service of both economic homogeneity and disciplinary knowledge. Disciplinary knowledge is presented as universal and endowed with social, moral, and cognitive authority. Operational and effective knowledge becomes central, due to the influence of financial lobbies, thereby ensuring that the logic of the market is brought into the practices of schools. As Pestre ( 2013 , p. 21) observed, “the nature of this knowledge is new: what matters is that it makes hic et nunc the action, its effect and not its understanding”. Its functionality follows (presumably) data and evidence-based management.

A new language is thus imposed on education and the curriculum. Such enforced installation of performative language and Big Data lead to effective and profitable operations in a vast market concerned with competence in operational skills (Lyotard 1984 ). This “new normal” curriculum is said to be more horizontal and less hierarchical and radically polycentric with problem-solving produced through social networks, NGOs, transnational organizations, and think tanks (Pestre 2013 ; Williamson 2013 , 2017 ). Untouched by the pandemic, the “new (old) normal” remains based on disciplinary knowledge and enmeshed in the discourse of standards and accountability in education.

Such enforced commercialism reflects and reinforces economic globalization. Pinar ( 2011 , p. 30) worries that “the globalization of instrumental rationality in education threatens the very existence of education itself”. In his theory, commercialism and the technical instrumentality by which homogenization advances erase education as an embodied experience and the curriculum as a humanistic project. It is a time in which the humanities are devalued as well, as acknowledged by Pinar ( 2019 , p. 19): “In the United States [and in the world] not only does economics replace education—STEM replace the liberal arts as central to the curriculum—there are even politicians who attack the liberal arts as subversive and irrelevant…it can be more precisely characterized as reckless rhetoric of a know-nothing populism”. Replacing in-person dialogical encounters and the educational cultivation of the person (via Bildung and currere ), digital technologies are creating uniformity of learning spaces, in spite of their individualistic tendencies. Of course, education occurs outside schools—and on occasion in schools—but this causal displacement of the centrality of the school implies a devaluation of academic knowledge in the name of diversification of learning spaces.

In society, education, and specifically in the curriculum, the pandemic has brought nothing new but rather has accelerated already existing trends that can be summarized as technologization. Those who can work “remotely” exercise their privilege, since they can exploit an increasingly digital society. They themselves are changed in the process, as their own subjectivities are digitalized, thus predisposing them to a “curriculum of things” (a term coined by Laist ( 2016 ) to describe an object-oriented pedagogical approach), which is organized not around knowledge but information (Koopman 2019 ; Couldry and Mejias 2019 ). This (old) “new normal” was advanced by the OECD, among other international organizations, thus precipitating what some see as “a dynamic and transformative articulation of collective expectations of the purpose, quality, and relevance of education and learning to holistic, inclusive, just, peaceful, and sustainable development, and to the well-being and fulfilment of current and future generations” (Marope 2017 , p. 13). Covid-19, illiberal democracy, economic nationalism, and inaction on climate change, all upend this promise.

Understanding the psychological and cultural complexity of the curriculum is crucial. Without appreciating the infinity of responses students have to what they study, one cannot engage in the complicated conversation that is the curriculum. There must be an affirmation of “not only the individualism of a person’s experience but [of what is] underlining the significance of a person’s response to a course of study that has been designed to ignore individuality in order to buttress nation, religion, ethnicity, family, and gender” (Grumet 2017 , p. 77). Rather than promoting neuroscience as the answer to the problems of curriculum and pedagogy, it is long-past time for rethinking curriculum development and addressing the canonical curriculum question: What knowledge is of most worth from a humanistic perspective that is structured by complicated conversation (UNESCO 2015a ; Pinar 2004 , 2019 )? It promotes respect for diversity and rejection of all forms of (cultural) hegemony, stereotypes, and biases (Pacheco 2009 , 2017 ).

Revisiting the curriculum in the Covid-19 era then expresses the fallacy of the “new normal” but also represents a particular opportunity to promote a different path forward.

Looking to the post-Covid-19 curriculum

Based on the notion of curriculum as a complicated conversation, as proposed by Pinar ( 2004 ), the post-Covid-19 curriculum can seize the possibility of achieving a responsive, ethical, humane education, one which requires a humanistic and internationally aware reconceptualization of curriculum.

While beliefs and values are anchored in social and individual practices (Pinar 2019 , p. 15), education extracts them for critique and reconsideration. For example, freedom and tolerance are not neutral but normative practices, however ideology-free policymakers imagine them to be.

That same sleight-of-hand—value neutrality in the service of a certain normativity—is evident in a digital concept of society as a relationship between humans and non-humans (or posthumans), a relationship not only mediated by but encapsulated within technology: machines interfacing with other machines. This is not merely a technological change, as if it were a quarantined domain severed from society. Technologization is a totalizing digitalization of human experience that includes the structures of society. It is less social than economic, with social bonds now recoded as financial transactions sutured by software. Now that subjectivity is digitalized, the human face has become an exclusively economic one that fabricates the fantasy of rational and free agents—always self-interested—operating in supposedly free markets. Oddly enough, there is no place for a vision of humanistic and internationally aware change. The technological dimension of curriculum is assumed to be the primary area of change, which has been deeply and totally imposed by global standards. The worldwide pandemic supports arguments for imposing forms of control (Žižek 2020 ), including the geolocation of infected people and the suspension—in a state of exception—of civil liberties.

By destroying democracy, the technology of control leads to totalitarianism and barbarism, ending tolerance, difference, and diversity. Remembrance and memory are needed so that historical fascisms (Eley 2020 ) are not repeated, albeit in new disguises (Adorno 2011 ). Technologized education enhances efficiency and ensures uniformity, while presuming objectivity to the detriment of human reflection and singularity. It imposes the running data of the Curriculum of Things and eschews intellectual endeavor, critical attitude, and self-reflexivity.

For those who advocate the primacy of technology and the so-called “free market”, the pandemic represents opportunities not only for profit but also for confirmation of the pervasiveness of human error and proof of the efficiency of the non-human, i.e., the inhuman technology. What may possibly protect children from this inhumanity and their commodification, as human capital, is a humane or humanistic education that contradicts their commodification.

The decontextualized technical vocabulary in use in a market society produces an undifferentiated image in which people are blinded to nuance, distinction, and subtlety. For Pestre, concepts associated with efficiency convey the primacy of economic activity to the exclusion, for instance, of ethics, since those concepts devalue historic (if unrealized) commitments to equality and fraternity by instead emphasizing economic freedom and the autonomy of self-interested individuals. Constructing education as solely economic and technological constitutes a movement toward total efficiency through the installation of uniformity of behavior, devaluing diversity and human creativity.

Erased from the screen is any image of public education as a space of freedom, or as Macdonald ( 1995 , p. 38) holds, any image or concept of “the dignity and integrity of each human”. Instead, what we face is the post-human and the undisputed reign of instrumental reality, where the ends justify the means and human realization is reduced to the consumption of goods and experiences. As Pinar ( 2019 , p. 7) observes: “In the private sphere…. freedom is recast as a choice of consumer goods; in the public sphere, it converts to control and the demand that freedom flourish, so that whatever is profitable can be pursued”. Such “negative” freedom—freedom from constraint—ignores “positive” freedom, which requires us to contemplate—in ethical and spiritual terms—what that freedom is for. To contemplate what freedom is for requires “critical and comprehensive knowledge” (Pestre 2013 , p. 39) not only instrumental and technical knowledge. The humanities and the arts would reoccupy the center of such a curriculum and not be related to its margins (Westbury 2008 ), acknowledging that what is studied within schools is a complicated conversation among those present—including oneself, one’s ancestors, and those yet to be born (Pinar 2004 ).

In an era of unconstrained technologization, the challenge facing the curriculum is coding and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), with technology dislodging those subjects related to the human. This is not a classical curriculum (although it could be) but one focused on the emergencies of the moment–namely, climate change, the pandemic, mass migration, right-wing populism, and economic inequality. These timely topics, which in secondary school could be taught as short courses and at the elementary level as thematic units, would be informed by the traditional school subjects (yes, including STEM). Such a reorganization of the curriculum would allow students to see how academic knowledge enables them to understand what is happening to them and their parents in their own regions and globally. Such a cosmopolitan curriculum would prepare children to become citizens not only of their own nations but of the world. This citizenship would simultaneously be subjective and social, singular and universal (Marope 2020 ). Pinar ( 2019 , p. 5) reminds us that “the division between private and public was first blurred then erased by technology”:

No longer public, let alone sacred, morality becomes a matter of privately held values, sometimes monetized as commodities, statements of personal preference, often ornamental, sometimes self-servingly instrumental. Whatever their function, values were to be confined to the private sphere. The public sphere was no longer the civic square but rather, the marketplace, the site where one purchased whatever one valued.

New technological spaces are the universal center for (in)human values. The civic square is now Amazon, Alibaba, Twitter, WeChat, and other global online corporations. The facts of our human condition—a century-old phrase uncanny in its echoes today—can be studied in schools as an interdisciplinary complicated conversation about public issues that eclipse private ones (Pinar 2019 ), including social injustice, inequality, democracy, climate change, refugees, immigrants, and minority groups. Understood as a responsive, ethical, humane and transformational international educational approach, such a post-Covid-19 curriculum could be a “force for social equity, justice, cohesion, stability, and peace” (Marope 2017 , p. 32). “Unchosen” is certainly the adjective describing our obligations now, as we are surrounded by death and dying and threatened by privation or even starvation, as economies collapse and food-supply chains are broken. The pandemic may not mean deglobalization, but it surely accentuates it, as national borders are closed, international travel is suspended, and international trade is impacted by the accompanying economic crisis. On the other hand, economic globalization could return even stronger, as could the globalization of education systems. The “new normal” in education is the technological order—a passive technologization—and its expansion continues uncontested and even accelerated by the pandemic.

Two Greek concepts, kronos and kairos , allow a discussion of contrasts between the quantitative and the qualitative in education. Echoing the ancient notion of kronos are the technologically structured curriculum values of quantity and performance, which are always assessed by a standardized accountability system enforcing an “ideology of achievement”. “While kronos refers to chronological or sequential time, kairos refers to time that might require waiting patiently for a long time or immediate and rapid action; which course of action one chooses will depend on the particular situation” (Lahtinen 2009 , p. 252).

For Macdonald ( 1995 , p. 51), “the central ideology of the schools is the ideology of achievement …[It] is a quantitative ideology, for even to attempt to assess quality must be quantified under this ideology, and the educational process is perceived as a technically monitored quality control process”.

Self-evaluation subjectively internalizes what is useful and in conformity with the techno-economy and its so-called standards, increasingly enforcing technical (software) forms. If recoded as the Internet of Things, this remains a curriculum in allegiance with “order and control” (Doll 2013 , p. 314) School knowledge is reduced to an instrument for economic success, employing compulsory collaboration to ensure group think and conformity. Intertwined with the Internet of Things, technological subjectivity becomes embedded in software, redesigned for effectiveness, i.e., or use-value (as Lyotard predicted).

The Curriculum of Things dominates the Internet, which is simultaneously an object and a thing (see Heidegger 1967 , 1971 , 1977 ), a powerful “technological tool for the process of knowledge building” (Means 2008 , p. 137). Online learning occupies the subjective zone between the “curriculum-as-planned” and the “curriculum-as-lived” (Pinar 2019 , p. 23). The world of the curriculum-as-lived fades, as the screen shifts and children are enmeshed in an ocularcentric system of accountability and instrumentality.

In contrast to kronos , the Greek concept of kairos implies lived time or even slow time (Koepnick 2014 ), time that is “self-reflective” (Macdonald 1995 , p. 103) and autobiographical (Pinar 2009 , 2004), thus inspiring “curriculum improvisation” (Aoki 2011 , p. 375), while emphasizing “the plurality of subjectivities” (Grumet 2017 , p. 80). Kairos emphasizes singularity and acknowledges particularities; it is skeptical of similarities. For Shew ( 2013 , p. 48), “ kairos is that which opens an originary experience—of the divine, perhaps, but also of life or being. Thought as such, kairos as a formative happening—an opportune moment, crisis, circumstance, event—imposes its own sense of measure on time”. So conceived, curriculum can become a complicated conversation that occurs not in chronological time but in its own time. Such dialogue is not neutral, apolitical, or timeless. It focuses on the present and is intrinsically subjective, even in public space, as Pinar ( 2019 , p. 12) writes: “its site is subjectivity as one attunes oneself to what one is experiencing, yes to its immediacy and specificity but also to its situatedness, relatedness, including to what lies beyond it and not only spatially but temporally”.

Kairos is, then, the uniqueness of time that converts curriculum into a complicated conversation, one that includes the subjective reconstruction of learning as a consciousness of everyday life, encouraging the inner activism of quietude and disquietude. Writing about eternity, as an orientation towards the future, Pinar ( 2019 , p. 2) argues that “the second side [the first is contemplation] of such consciousness is immersion in daily life, the activism of quietude – for example, ethical engagement with others”. We add disquietude now, following the work of the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. Disquietude is a moment of eternity: “Sometimes I think I’ll never leave ‘Douradores’ Street. And having written this, it seems to me eternity. Neither pleasure, nor glory, nor power. Freedom, only freedom” (Pesssoa 1991 ).

The disquietude conversation is simultaneously individual and public. It establishes an international space both deglobalized and autonomous, a source of responsive, ethical, and humane encounter. No longer entranced by the distracting dynamic stasis of image-after-image on the screen, the student can face what is his or her emplacement in the physical and natural world, as well as the technological world. The student can become present as a person, here and now, simultaneously historical and timeless.


Slow down and linger should be our motto now. A slogan yes, but it also represents a political, as well as a psychological resistance to the acceleration of time (Berg and Seeber 2016 )—an acceleration that the pandemic has intensified. Covid-19 has moved curriculum online, forcing children physically apart from each other and from their teachers and especially from the in-person dialogical encounters that classrooms can provide. The public space disappears into the pre-designed screen space that software allows, and the machine now becomes the material basis for a curriculum of things, not persons. Like the virus, the pandemic curriculum becomes embedded in devices that technologize our children.

Although one hundred years old, the images created in Modern Times by Charlie Chaplin return, less humorous this time than emblematic of our intensifying subjection to technological necessity. It “would seem to leave us as cogs in the machine, ourselves like moving parts, we keep functioning efficiently, increasing productivity calculating the creative destruction of what is, the human now materialized (de)vices ensnaring us in convenience, connectivity, calculation” (Pinar 2019 , p. 9). Post-human, as many would say.

Technology supports standardized testing and enforces software-designed conformity and never-ending self-evaluation, while all the time erasing lived, embodied experience and intellectual independence. Ignoring the evidence, others are sure that technology can function differently: “Given the potential of information and communication technologies, the teacher should now be a guide who enables learners, from early childhood throughout their learning trajectories, to develop and advance through the constantly expanding maze of knowledge” (UNESCO 2015a , p. 51). Would that it were so.

The canonical question—What knowledge is of most worth?—is open-ended and contentious. In a technologized world, providing for the well-being of children is not obvious, as well-being is embedded in ancient, non-neoliberal visions of the world. “Education is everybody’s business”, Pinar ( 2019 , p. 2) points out, as it fosters “responsible citizenship and solidarity in a global world” (UNESCO 2015a , p. 66), resisting inequality and the exclusion, for example, of migrant groups, refugees, and even those who live below or on the edge of poverty.

In this fast-moving digital world, education needs to be inclusive but not conformist. As the United Nations ( 2015 ) declares, education should ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. “The coming years will be a vital period to save the planet and to achieve sustainable, inclusive human development” (United Nations 2019 , p. 64). Is such sustainable, inclusive human development achievable through technologization? Can technology succeed where religion has failed?

Despite its contradictions and economic emphases, public education has one clear obligation—to create embodied encounters of learning through curriculum conceived as a complicated conversation. Such a conception acknowledges the worldliness of a cosmopolitan curriculum as it affirms the personification of the individual (Pinar 2011 ). As noted by Grumet ( 2017 , p. 89), “as a form of ethics, there is a responsibility to participate in conversation”. Certainly, it is necessary to ask over and over again the canonical curriculum question: What knowledge is of most worth?

If time, technology and teaching are moving images of eternity, curriculum and pedagogy are also, both ‘moving’ and ‘images’ but not an explicit, empirical, or exact representation of eternity…if reality is an endless series of ‘moving images’, the canonical curriculum question—What knowledge is of most worth?—cannot be settled for all time by declaring one set of subjects eternally important” (Pinar 2019 , p. 12).

In a complicated conversation, the curriculum is not a fixed image sliding into a passive technologization. As a “moving image”, the curriculum constitutes a politics of presence, an ongoing expression of subjectivity (Grumet 2017 ) that affirms the infinity of reality: “Shifting one’s attitude from ‘reducing’ complexity to ‘embracing’ what is always already present in relations and interactions may lead to thinking complexly, abiding happily with mystery” (Doll 2012 , p. 172). Describing the dialogical encounter characterizing conceived curriculum, as a complicated conversation, Pinar explains that this moment of dialogue “is not only place-sensitive (perhaps classroom centered) but also within oneself”, because “the educational significance of subject matter is that it enables the student to learn from actual embodied experience, an outcome that cannot always be engineered” (Pinar 2019 , pp. 12–13). Lived experience is not technological. So, “the curriculum of the future is not just a matter of defining content and official knowledge. It is about creating, sculpting, and finessing minds, mentalities, and identities, promoting style of thought about humans, or ‘mashing up’ and ‘making up’ the future of people” (Williamson 2013 , p. 113).

Yes, we need to linger and take time to contemplate the curriculum question. Only in this way will we share what is common and distinctive in our experience of the current pandemic by changing our time and our learning to foreclose on our future. Curriculum conceived as a complicated conversation restarts historical not screen time; it enacts the private and public as distinguishable, not fused in a computer screen. That is the “new normal”.

is full professor in the Department of Curriculum Studies and Educational Technology (Institute of Education, University of Minho, Portugal). His research focuses on curriculum theory, curriculum politics, and teacher training and evaluation. Presently, he is director of the PhD Science Education Program of the University of Minho, member of the Advisory Board of the Organization of Ibero-American Studies, director of the European Journal of Curriculum Studies, and director of the European Association on Curriculum Studies.

My thanks to William F. Pinar. Friendship is another moving image of eternity. I am grateful to the anonymous reviewer. This work is financed by national funds through the FCT - Foundation for Science and Technology, under the project PTDC / CED-EDG / 30410/2017, Centre for Research in Education, Institute of Education, University of Minho.

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A Year After Coronavirus: An Inclusive ‘New Normal’

write an essay about new normal system in education

Six months into a new decade, 2020 has already been earmarked as ‘the worst’ year in the 21st century. The novel coronavirus has given rise to a global pandemic that has destabilized most institutional settings. While we live in times when humankind possesses the most advanced science and technology, a virus invisible to the naked eye has massively disrupted economies, healthcare, and education systems worldwide. This should serve as a reminder that as we keep making progress in science and research, humanity will continue to face challenges in the future, and it is upon us to prioritize those issues that are most relevant in the 21st century.

Even amidst the pandemic, Space X, an American aerospace manufacturer, managed to become the first private company to send humans to space. While this is a tremendous achievement and prepares humanity for a sustainable future, I feel there is a need to introspect the challenges that we are already facing. On the one hand, we seem to be preparing beyond the 21st century. On the other hand, heightened nationalism, increasing violence against marginalized communities and multidimensional inequalities across all sectors continue to act as barriers to growth for most individuals across the globe. COVID-19 has reinforced these multifaceted economic, social and cultural inequalities wherein those in situations of vulnerability have found it increasingly difficult to get quality medical attention, access to quality education, and have witnessed increased domestic violence while being confined to their homes. 

Given the coronavirus’s current situation, some households have also had time to introspect on gender roles and stereotypes. For instance, women are expected to carry out unpaid care work like cooking, cleaning, and looking after the family. There is no valid reason to believe that women ought to carry out these activities, and men have no role in contributing to household chores. With men having shared household chores during the lockdown period, it gives hope that they will realize the burden that women have been bearing for past decades and will continue sharing responsibilities. However, it would be naïve to believe that gender discrimination could be tackled so easily, and men would give up on their decades' old habits within a couple of months. Thus, during and after the pandemic, there is an urgent need to sensitize households on the importance of gender equality and social cohesion.

Moving forward, developing quality healthcare systems that are affordable and accessible to all should be the primary objective for all governments. This can be done by increasing expenditure towards health and education and simultaneously reducing expenditure on defence equipment where the latter mainly gives rise to an idea that countries need to be prepared for violence. There is substantial evidence that increased investment in health and education is beneficial in the long-term and can potentially build the basic foundation of a country. 

If it can be established that usage of nuclear weapons, violence and war are not solutions to any problem, governments (like, for example, Costa Rica) could move towards disarmament of weapons and do their part in building a more peaceful planet that is sustainable for the future. This would further promote global citizenship wherein nationality, race, gender, caste, and other categories, are just mere variables and they do not become identities of individuals that restrict their thought process. The aim should be to build responsible citizens who play an active role in their society and work collectively in helping develop a planet that is well-governed, inclusive, and environmentally sustainable.

 ‘A year after Coronavirus’ is still an unknown, so I think that our immediate focus should be to tackle the complex problems that have emerged from the pandemic so that we make the year after coronavirus one which highlights recovery and acts as a pathway to fresh beginnings. While there is little to gain from such a fatal cause, it is vital that we also use it to make the ‘new normal’ in favour of the environment and ensure that no one is left behind.   

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Transitioning to the “new normal” of learning in unpredictable times: pedagogical practices and learning performance in fully online flipped classrooms

  • Khe Foon Hew   ORCID: 1 ,
  • Chengyuan Jia 1 ,
  • Donn Emmanuel Gonda 1 &
  • Shurui Bai 1  

International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education volume  17 , Article number:  57 ( 2020 ) Cite this article

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The COVID-19 outbreak has compelled many universities to immediately switch to the online delivery of lessons. Many instructors, however, have found developing effective online lessons in a very short period of time very stressful and difficult. This study describes how we successfully addressed this crisis by transforming two conventional flipped classes into fully online flipped classes with the help of a cloud-based video conferencing app. As in a conventional flipped course, in a fully online flipped course students are encouraged to complete online pre-class work. But unlike in the conventional flipped approach, students do not subsequently meet face-to-face in physical classrooms, but rather online. This study examines the effect of fully online flipped classrooms on student learning performance in two stages. In Stage One, we explain how we drew on the 5E framework to design two conventional flipped classes. The 5E framework consists of five phases—Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. In Stage Two, we describe how we transformed the two conventional flipped classes into fully online flipped classes. Quantitative analyses of students’ final course marks reveal that the participants in the fully online flipped classes performed as effectively as participants in the conventional flipped learning classes. Our qualitative analyses of student and staff reflection data identify seven good practices for videoconferencing - assisted online flipped classrooms.


“It’s now painfully clear that schools ought to have had more robust disaster-preparedness plans in place in the event of interruptions in their campus operations. But because many schools did not have such plans in place…online learning is about to get a bad reputation at many campuses, I suspect.” Michael Horn, cited in Lederman ( 2020 ), ‘Inside Higher Ed’.

In early January 2020, scientists identified a new infectious disease caused by a novel coronavirus. Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruptions to schools and universities. According to UNESCO, as of April 10, 2020, more than 188 countries had implemented nationwide school and university closures, impacting over 91% of the world’s student population (UNESCO n.d.).

During these school closures, all face-to-face lessons were cancelled, compelling many institutions, including our own university, to immediately transition from face-to-face in-person learning to completely online lessons. The abrupt switch to fully online learning has been particularly stressful for many instructors and students who prefer in-person instruction. Online learning is often stigmatized as a weaker option that provides a lower quality education than in-person face-to-face learning (Hodges et al. 2020 ). Indeed, such negative attitudes to fully online learning were revealed by a large EDUCAUSE survey (Pomerantz and Brooks 2017 ). The survey of 11,141 faculty members from 131 U.S. institutions found that only 9% of faculty prefer to teach a fully online course. In other words, a whopping 91% of faculty do not wish to teach in a completely online environment. Students’ opinions of fully online courses are not much better; a recent student survey by EDUCAUSE of more than 40,000 students across 118 American universities revealed that as many as 70% of the respondents mostly or completely prefer face-to-face learning environments (Gierdowski 2019 ).

Clearly, many faculty members and students do not see the value of fully online learning, despite the fact that online learning has been around for many decades. During the current health crisis, many instructors have had to improvise quick online learning solutions (Hodges et al. 2020 ). For example, in our own university, there are anecdotal reports of a myriad of emergency online methods. Some instructors, for example, merely uploaded their PowerPoint slides or papers onto a learning management system such as Moodle and asked students to read them on their own. Any questions were asked asynchronously on the Moodle forum. Other instructors recorded their own lectures (usually at least one hour long) and asked students to asynchronously watch the video lectures and then ask individual questions later. Still others talked for more than two hours via synchronous video platforms watched by students in their own homes. Although these online methods may be an efficient method of delivering content, they are not particularly effective in promoting active learning and interest (Bates and Galloway 2012 ). As one student remarked, “Sitting in front of my computer to watch a 2-h live lecture without any active learning activities such as group work is pretty boring!” Indeed, without any active learning activities such as peer interaction, a fully online course will feel more like an interactive book than a classroom (Sutterlin 2018 ).

Well-planned active online learning lessons are markedly different from the emergency online teaching offered in response to a crisis (Hodges et al. 2020 ). One promising strategy for promoting online active learning is the fully online flipped classroom pedagogical approach, hereafter referred to as the online flipped classroom approach. An online flipped classroom is a variant of the conventional flipped model. A conventional flipped classroom model consists of online learning of basic concepts before class, followed by face-to-face learning activities (Bishop and Verleger 2013 ). The conventional flipped model has become very popular in recent years due to its association with active learning, which emphasizes students’ active learning (Xiu and Thompson 2020 ). Active learning activities such as peer discussions can help students construct better understandings of the subject material (Deslauriers et al. 2019 ). Recent meta-analyses have provided consistent overall support for the superiority of the conventional flipped classroom approach over traditional learning for enhancing student learning (e.g., Låg and Sæle 2019 ; Lo and Hew 2019 ; Shi et al. 2019 ; van Alten et al. 2019 ).

The online flipped classroom is similar to the conventional flipped classroom model in that students are encouraged to prepare for class by completing some pre-class activities (e.g., watching video lectures, completing quizzes). However, unlike the conventional flipped classroom approach, students in online flipped classrooms do not meet face-to-face, but online (Stohr et al. 2020 ). Although the online flipped classroom appears to be gathering momentum in higher education, very few studies have examined its effectiveness (for an exception, see Stohr et al. 2020 , who compared the online flipped classroom format with a conventional non-flipped teaching format). So far, we are not cognizant of any research that evaluated the efficacy of the fully online flipped classroom relative to the conventional flipped classroom. Establishing the effectiveness of online flipped classrooms is important, as practitioners need to know whether this active learning approach can be used during prolonged school closures.

Against this backdrop, this study compares the effects of online flipped classrooms versus conventional flipped classrooms on student learning outcomes. To this end, two conventional flipped classes in the Faculty of Education are transformed into online flipped classrooms. Students in both the online and flipped classes participated in the online pre-class activity asynchronously using a learning management system. However, students in the online flipped classes joined the online in-class learning synchronously using a video conferencing app whereas their counterparts in the conventional flipped classes attended face-to-face classes. The online flipped courses were designed using the 5E conceptual framework and used a cloud-based video conferencing app. We used the Zoom application after careful consideration of many different videoconferencing platforms. Our reasons for doing so are given in the Section of “Stage Two: Transforming conventional flipped classes into online flipped classes”.

The 5E framework consists of five phases—Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate (Bybee et al. 2006 ).

Engage—The first phase aims to engage students in the learning process. Methods to engage students usually include using a real-world scenario, or problem, asking students questions that allow them to brainstorm or think critically, and helping them to create connections to their past experiences.

Explore—In the exploration phase, the teacher, who works as a facilitator or coach, gives the students time and opportunity to explore the content and construct their own understanding of the topic at hand.

Explain—This phase starts with students attempting to explain specific aspects of the engagement and exploration experiences. Based on these explanations, the teacher introduces terminology in a direct and explicit manner to facilitate concept building.

Elaborate—In this phase, the teacher provided more detailed information about the subject content through the use of mini lectures and/or whole class discussions. Students are also given the opportunity to apply what they have learned and receive feedback from the teacher and their peers.

Evaluate—Formative assessments (e.g., quizzes) can be used to evaluate students’ mastery of the subject material at the beginning and throughout the 5E phases, and teachers can complete a summative assessment after the elaboration phase (e.g., final exams).

We adopted the 5E framework for the following reasons. First, the 5E framework, which is based on various educational theories and models (e.g., Herbart’s instructional model, Dewey’s instructional model, Atkin-Karplus Learning Cycle) (Bybee et al. 2006 ), provides a sound instructional sequence for designing a course and planning activities. The 5E framework can help instructors organize and integrate both the in-class and out-of-class learning activities (Lo 2017 ).

Second, previous research has shown the positive effect of the 5E framework on student achievement. These positive effects were initially established in science education (e.g., Akar 2005 ; Boddy et al. 2003 ). Recently, the 5E model has yielded positive results when applied to various subject areas and when used to design inquiry- and interaction-based learning activities. Mullins ( 2017 ), for example, found that undergraduate students in a 5E-supported class outperformed their peers in a traditional lecture setting. Hew et al. ( 2018 ) designed two postgraduate courses based on the 5E model in order to foster students’ active learning. Ninety-two percent of the participants agreed that the 5E supported courses were more engaging than traditional classroom instruction.

The rest of this paper is structured as follows. First, we describe our study design and methodology. This is followed by a description of our two stages of research. In Stage One, we explain how we use the 5E framework to design our two conventional flipped classes; In Stage Two, we describe how we transformed the two conventional flipped classes into fully online flipped classes, using a cloud-based video conferencing app. We describe the various pedagogical practices that Zoom videoconferencing can facilitate before and during online flipped classes. In this paper, we use the term “pedagogical practices” to refer to specific activities that are used to structure teaching and learning. This study is guided by the following two questions.

What effect does the change from a conventional flipped classroom format to an online flipped format have on student learning performance?

What are the good practices for videoconferencing - assisted online flipped classrooms, as perceived by students and/or teaching staff?

This study was conducted in a large public Asian university. Four classes were involved: (a) conventional flipped Course 1, (b) conventional flipped Course 2, (c) online flipped Course 1, and (d) online flipped Course 2. Conventional flipped Courses 1 and 2 were the control group. Online flipped Courses 1 and 2 were the experimental group. To avoid any potential instructor confounding bias, the same professor and teaching assistants (TAs) taught the conventional and online flipped formats of each class. Ethical approval to conduct the study was obtained from the Institutional Review Board at the University of Hong Kong and consent forms from all participants in the study were collected.

Data collection and analysis

To reiterate, this study had two purposes: (a) to determine the effect of an online flipped classroom on student learning performance as determined by student final course marks, and (b) to determine good practices for videoconferencing - assisted online flipped classrooms, as perceived by the participants (students and teaching staff). We adopted a mixed methods involving quantitative and qualitative approaches to provide a deeper understanding of the research problem (Ivankova et al. 2006 ).

The data collection spanned across two semesters, which corresponded to the aforementioned two stages of the research. The conventional flipped classes were implemented in conventional flipped Courses 1 and 2 during the semester of 2019 Fall before the pandemic (Stage One). Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, all courses were required to be delivered online in our university in the 2020 Spring semester. Therefore, the online flipped classes were conducted in online flipped Courses 1 and 2 during the pandemic in 2020 Spring (Stage Two). Students’ knowledge and skills of the course content were checked at the beginning of the each course. Students final course marks in each course were collected and used as measure of the student learning outcomes at the end of the semester (See Fig.  1 for the research timeline).

figure 1

Timeline of data collection: 2019 Fall (before the pandemic), 2020 Spring (during the pandemic)

To address the first purpose, we compared the students’ final course marks in the online flipped classrooms and conventional flipped classrooms. Quantitative data from 99 students were collected (see Table 1 ). We used the students’ final course marks to measure performance.

To identify the perceived good practices for videoconferencing - assisted online flipped classrooms, we invited students and the teaching staff to complete a self-reflection exercise based on the following question: “What do you perceive as good practices in a videoconferencing-supported online flipped classroom?” The qualitative data collected from students and instructors were analyzed as follows. The first step was an initial reading of all of the response data to obtain an overall impression. The first author then applied the grounded approach (Strauss and Corbin 1990 ) to the qualitative data to generate relevant codes. Similar codes were organized into themes. In order to increase the consistency of coding, several exemplary quotes that clearly illustrated each constructed theme were identified. We also allowed new themes (if any) to emerge inductively during the coding process. The second author coded the data. There was perfect agreement with the coding. Table 2 summarizes how the data for each research question were collected and analyzed.

Stage one: designing conventional flipped classes using the 5E framework

In this section, we first describe how we use the 5E framework to design our two conventional flipped classes (Course 1: E-Learning Strategies , and Course 2: Engaging Adult Learners ). In the next section, we describe how we transform these two conventional flipped classes into fully online flipped classes. Figure  2 shows the 5E framework that guided our design of the conventional flipped classes. Table 3 shows some of the teaching and learning activities used in each of the 5E phases.

figure 2

5E framework used to design the two conventional flipped classes

Conventional flipped course 1: E-learning strategies

This course discussed the various e-learning strategies that can be employed to foster six types of learning, including problem-solving, attitude learning, factual learning, concept learning, procedural learning, and principle learning. There were eight sessions in the course. The first seven sessions were flipped—each consisting of an online pre-class learning component and a 3-h face-to-face in-class component. The last session was devoted to students’ presentations. Figure  3 shows an example of how the 5E framework was used in Course 1.

figure 3

Example of a pre-class activity in Course 1

For instance, in the pre-class phase of Session 2: Instructional Design—Part 1 , we posted a video that posed the question “What do we mean by ‘understand’”. This video engaged students’ curiosity about the importance of writing clear and measurable learning objectives. The instructor in the video highlighted the pitfalls of using vague words such as “know” and “understand” when writing learning objectives. Students then explored and explained their own individual learning objectives using the ABCD model (audience, behavior, condition, degree). Students were able to use a mobile instant messaging (MIM) app such as WeChat to ask questions of their peers or instructor. When a message arrived, a notification appeared on the receiver’s phone screen, encouraging timely feedback and frequent interaction (Rosenfeld et al. 2018 ).

During the face-to-face in-class session, the instructor re-engaged students’ attention by discussing basic instructional design issues such as “How do we write good lesson objectives?” The instructor conducted short debriefing sessions to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of students’ pre-class work. The instructor also facilitated class or small group discussions to build students’ understanding of how to write measurable lesson objectives that help students to achieve specific learning outcomes (e.g., factual learning). These discussions allowed students to elaborate on good lesson objectives practices. To evaluate the students’ understanding, the instructor asked them to work in groups of four on an instructional design scenario (e.g., teaching participants how to deal with angry customers), and then write a learning objective for the lesson in an online forum; their peers then commented on the posted learning objectives (Fig.  4 ).

figure 4

Example of an in-class activity in Course 1

Conventional flipped course 2: engaging adult learners

This course discussed the key principles of adult learning, as well as strategies used in adult education (e.g., transformational learning theory). There were eight sessions in the course, each session lasted three hours. An example of how the 5E instructional model was used is shown in Fig.  5 .

figure 5

Example of a pre-class activity in Course 2

For example, in the pre-class session for Session 3: Motivation, we uploaded a four-minute video that briefly described the concepts of reinforcement and punishment. The aim of the video was to engage students’ attention on the focal topic. To help students explore the topic in further, they were asked to respond to the following question: “After watching the video, can you think of other positive reinforcers, negative reinforcers, and punishment methods?” Students posted their opinions ( explained ) on a discussion forum. Students also used the WeChat app to ask questions of their peers or instructor.

During the subsequent face-to-face lesson (Fig.  6 ), the instructor facilitated whole class discussions using relevant questions to elaborate on the topics covered in the pre-class video. An example of a question used was ‘When should we employ positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, or punishment?’ Based on the students’ responses, the instructor was able to provide more in-depth explanation of the subject matter, or correct any student misunderstanding. This will help enhance students’ comprehension of the subject content. The instructor also discussed the notion of intrinsic motivation (e.g., the self-determination theory). In addition to elaborating on the content, the instructor also evaluated the students’ understanding by asking students to complete small group discussion activities. An example of a small group discussion activity was ‘Did you have any experience where you did not like learning a subject or doing an activity? How would you motivate yourself in that situation? Please try to use a mixture of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors.’ Upon completion of the small group activity, students from each group presented their views to the whole class. The instructor, as well as the rest of the classmates provided feedback.

figure 6

Example of an in-class activity in Course 2

Stage two: transforming conventional flipped classes into online flipped classes

The outbreak of COVID-19 inspired us to transform the two conventional flipped classes discussed above into fully online flipped classes. After careful consideration, the Zoom videoconferencing app was used for the synchronized online meetings (see Table 4 ). The whole transformation process took about one week with the bulk of the time was spent on exploring and testing the features of Zoom.

Zoom is a Web videoconferencing service that allows users to communicate online with individuals in real time via computer, tablet, or mobile device. We chose Zoom because of its ease of use (Kim 2017 ; Sutterlin 2018 ), its lower bandwidth requirements (Sutterlin 2018 ), and its ability to record and store sessions without recourse to third-party software (Archibald et al. 2019 ). More importantly, Zoom was chosen because its functions could easily support the implementation of our online flipped classroom. For instance, it allows instructors to easily create breakout rooms for group discussions. It also makes team-teaching possible by allowing more than one host and giving all of the hosts administrative capabilities such as sharing screens and remote control over shared screens (Johnston 2020 ).

To keep our online meetings secure, we activated the “ only authenticated users can join ” option. Specifically, we only allowed participants using our own university’s email domain to join the online meetings. In addition, we enabled the “ waiting room ” feature so that we could screen all of participants in the “ waiting room ” and admit only students officially enrolled in our classes into the online meeting. After all of the participants had entered, we then locked the meeting using the “ Lock the meeting ” feature. Once we had locked a meeting, no new participants could join.

The same learning materials used in the conventional flipped classes were used in the online flipped classes. Table 4 shows some of the teaching and learning activities. Students in the online flipped classes completed pre-class activities that were similar to those used in the conventional flipped classes, but these were not followed by face-to-face meetings, but by online meetings conducted on the Zoom videoconferencing app.

Online flipped course 1: E-learning strategies

Like the conventional flipped course, the online flipped Course 1 consisted of eight sessions. The first seven sessions were flipped—students were encouraged to complete a set of pre-class sessions asynchronously (similar to Fig.  3 ). Students also used the WeChat MIM app to ask questions of their peers or instructors. However, unlike the conventional flipped approach, the “in-class” session for the online flipped students was conducted completely online through Zoom videoconferencing. In the final session (Session 8), the online flipped students also presented their work on Zoom. Each online “in-class” session lasted three hours—similar in duration to the in-class component of the conventional flipped format.

In the online synchronous “in-class” sessions, the instructor started by reminding students to switch on their webcams and to mute their microphones when not speaking. Next, the instructor lead a short class debriefing session to elaborate on the materials covered in the pre-class session. This was similar to the structure of the conventional flipped class format. For example, the instructor might discuss the students’ completed pre-class work and highlight the overall strengths and weaknesses. The main purpose of these short debriefing sessions was to clarify students’ initial doubts or misconceptions. Following the debriefing sessions, the instructor facilitated class discussions that delved deeper into the subject content. To evaluate students’ understanding of the materials, students were asked to work individually or participate in small group discussions on specific questions similar to those used in the conventional flipped classes. Students then presented their work online to the whole class, and received peer and instructor feedback.

To engage the participants, the instructor used a number of features of the Zoom videoconferencing system. For example, the instructor posed questions during the whole class discussion and used the polling feature to rapidly collect and analyze student responses. The polling feature provided a function similar to a clicker or student response system. Based on the poll results, the instructor then addressed students’ misunderstandings. To enable small group discussions, the instructor used the breakout rooms feature of Zoom . Each student was assigned to one of several groups. Each group consisted of four to five students. Other students could not “drop” into other groups, but the instructor could drop into any group and participate in the discussions. When it was time for the small groups to return to the whole class, students would receive a time indicator reminding them that they were rejoining the whole class. Table 5 shows how the specific features of Zoom helped support the online “in-class” teaching and learning activities. Figure  7 illustrates some of the Zoom features used in the course.

figure 7

Examples of Zoom features used in Course 1

Online flipped course 2: engaging adult learners

Similar to the conventional flipped course, the online flipped course had eight sessions. The pre-class and in-class activities used in the conventional flipped course were also used in the online flipped course (see Fig.  5 for an example of a pre-class activity). Students also used the WeChat MIM app to ask questions of their peers or instructors. The last three sessions were used for students’ online presentations via videoconferencing. Each online “in-class” session lasted three hours—similar in duration to the in-class component of the conventional flipped class. In the online synchronous “in-class” sessions, the instructor reminded students to switch on their webcams and to mute their microphones when not speaking. The instructor used the features of the Zoom videoconferencing system shown in Table 5 and Fig.  7 .

Results and discussion

Conventional flipped versus online flipped course 1: e-learning strategies.

To address Research Question 1, the learning outcomes of students in the conventional flipped Course 1 and the online flipped Course 1 were measured and compared. The main purpose of both courses was to teach students the skills needed to create an e-learning storyboard and to develop a fully online course based on the 5E framework on Moodle. At the beginning of both the conventional flipped and online flipped classes, students were surveyed if they had any experience creating storyboards or fully online courses. None of the students had any such prior experience. Therefore, we assumed that both groups of students had similar levels of prior knowledge/skill. Next, we used both groups of students’ final course marks as a measure of the student learning outcomes. The maximum final marks in the final assessment was 100.

We first checked the normality of the final course marks data. If there were a significant deviation from normality, the Mann–Whitney U would be the most appropriate test for comparing the groups; otherwise, an independent samples t -test would be appropriate. The results showed that the course marks for both the conventional flipped ( W (23) = 0.920, p  = 0.068) and online flipped classes ( W (26) = 0.964, p  = 0.479) were normally distributed, as assessed by the Shapiro–Wilk’s test. There was also homogeneity in the variances for the course marks, as assessed by Levene’s test for equality of variances ( p  = 0.652). In addition, there were no outliers in the data, as assessed by an inspection of the boxplots (Fig.  8 ).

figure 8

The boxplots of final marks in Course 1 for conventional flipped class and online flipped class

An independent-samples t -test was therefore conducted to determine if there were differences in the final marks of the conventional flipped and online flipped classes. The results suggested that online flipped participants ( M  = 66.00, SD = 11.63) performed as effectively as participants in the conventional flipped learning format ( M  = 65.04, SD = 11.80), t (47) = 0.285, p  = 0.777.

Conventional flipped versus online flipped course 2: engaging adult learners

The main purpose of both the conventional flipped and online flipped Engaging Adult Learners courses was to introduce students to the key characteristics of adult learners, the key principles of adult learning, and strategies for adult education. First, to test if there were any initial differences in students’ prior knowledge of the course content, a short quiz was administered to both groups at the start of the semester. The Mann–Whitney U test found no significant initial differences between the conventional flipped group ( Mdn  = 0) and the online flipped group ( Mdn  = 0.5), U  = 218.5, p  = 0.06.

Next, we used the students’ final course marks as a measure of the student learning outcomes. The final assessment included individual written reflections on course topics and relevant articles, and a group demonstration of an adult-teaching strategy. The maximum final marks for the final assessment was 100. As in the above analysis, we first checked the normality of the final course mark data. The course marks for both the conventional flipped and online flipped classes were normally distributed, as assessed by Shapiro–Wilk’s test: W (25) = 0.963, p  = 0.470 for the conventional flipped course and W (24) = 0.930, p  = 0.096 for the online flipped course. There was also a homogeneity of variances, as assessed by Levene’s test for equality of variances ( p  = 0.304). In addition, there were no outliers in the data, as assessed by an inspection of the boxplots (Fig.  9 ).

figure 9

The boxplots of final marks in Course 2 for conventional flipped class and online flipped class

We subsequently carried out an independent-samples t-test to examine if there was any significant difference in the final course marks of the conventional flipped and online flipped classes. The results suggested that online flipped learning participants ( M  = 83.25, SD = 4.56) performed as effectively as participants in the conventional flipped learning classes ( M  = 83.40, SD = 5.51), t (47) = 0.104, p  = 0.918.

What are the good practices for videoconferencing-assisted online flipped classrooms, as perceived by students and/or teaching staff?

The analyses of the participants’ comments identified the following seven good practices for videoconferencing-assisted online flipped classrooms.

Remind participants to mute their microphones when not speaking to eliminate undesirable background noise . According to Gazzillo ( 2018 ), muting participants’ microphones allows the speaker to have center stage while eliminating the distraction of audio feedback. As one teaching staff member said, .

It’s a good practice at the beginning to mute all of the participants by selecting the “Mute All” button at the bottom of the participants panel. This will eliminate all background noise (e.g., television sounds, audio feedback). I will then ask the participants to turn their audio back on if they wish to talk
In terms of Zoom functionality, by pressing and holding the “space bar” allows the participants to temporarily switch on their microphone. We also ask the participants to install an AI-enabled application called “Krisp” to minimize the background noise of the participants.

Remind participants before the online “in-class” session begins to switch on their webcams . Webcams show a person’s face to other people on the video call, which can help to increase online social presence among classmates (Conrad and Donaldson 2011 ). Online social presence is positively correlated with student satisfaction and student perceived learning (Richardson et al. 2017 ). The participants also strongly prefer to see a face during instruction as it is perceived as more educational (Kizilcec et al. 2014 ). Students’ facial expressions are also a valuable source of feedback for the instructor to know whether the students could understand the subject matter (Sathik and Jonathan 2013 ). An instructor can use students’ facial expressions to determine whether to speed up, or slow down, or provide further elaborations. Feedback from the teaching staff included the following comments.

It is important to ask students to turn on their cameras. Students will be more focused and interactive and teaching will be better when teachers can see students’ responses.
As an instructor, I do not feel as if I’m talking to a wall when I can see some actual faces. Students also feel they are talking to someone rather than to an empty black screen. But it’s important to inform the students in advance to switch on their webcams so that they can do their hair properly or put on makeup beforehand—this was what some students actually told me!
During teaching, seeing your students' faces will give you another form of feedback. For example, when they look confused or nod their heads, it allows me to fine-tune the delivery of the content. These reactions give me visual feedback on whether I need further explanations or examples to elaborate on the topic.

Feedback from the students included the following comments.

Showing our faces is really helpful as we can see our classmates’ faces and remember them. Also, it makes the class more alive because we can see their expressions. Showing our faces is very helpful! It can make me feel like I’m in a real class! I enjoy the feeling of having a class with my classmates.
Turning on the camera helps us be more attentive in the online class.

To avoid showing any undesirable background objects (e.g., a messy bedroom) during the video meeting, participants can choose to replace their actual background with a virtual background. The participants can easily do this using the Zoom virtual background feature.

Manage the transition to the online flipped classroom approach for students . Not every student will be familiar with the videoconferencing app or the flipped classroom approach. Therefore, to promote student buy-in of this new pedagogical approach, it is important for the staff to directly address two main issues: (a) the structure and activities of the online flipped course, and (b) the functions of the video conferencing app. Feedback from the students included the following comments.

If teachers would like to use some functions in Zoom, they need to first help students get familiar with it. A brief introduction to Zoom at the beginning of the class is helpful.
First, I informed the students that these two courses would have two components: a pre-class session and an online “in-class” session. This helped students understand the flipped approach better. Next, my teaching assistant and I conducted a short introduction to using Zoom online before the class began. This helped students get familiar with the features we would be using in Zoom.
Constant fine-tuning is also a key element in managing the transition to the online flipped classroom. Asking the students what works and what doesn’t have become our practice every after the lesson. These comments allow us to rethink and re-plan for the next online synchronous session.

Feedback from the teaching staff included the following comments.

Having a technical-related orientation session before the actual class starts helps a lot for students who are not familiar with the videoconferencing tool.

Instructors should use dual monitors to simulate, as close as possible, the look and feel of a face-to-face class—one monitor to view all the participants in “gallery view,” and the other to view the presentation material . It is very useful for instructors and teaching assistants to use the dual-monitor display function, which allows the video layout and screen share content to be presented on two separate monitors. One monitor can be used to view the participants (up to 49) in “gallery view,” and the other to display the presentation materials. In the “gallery view,” the instructor can see thumbnail displays of all of the participants in a grid pattern that expands and contracts automatically as participants join and leave the meeting (Zoom Video Communications 2019 ). The use of a dual monitor feature is also useful for PowerPoint presentations and hiding notes from the participants. Feedback from the teaching staff included:

During the preparation for this course, we would like to simulate, as close as possible, the look and feel of a face-to-face class. This thinking brought us to the dual monitor layout for our Zoom sessions. The first monitor is for the teaching assistant; in this case, it acts as a co-host for the Zoom session. The teaching assistant extends the computer screen to a monitor to show the participants’ faces or the “gallery view.” This monitor acts as a “classroom” in the traditional face-to-face class. During the session, this first monitor also serves as a tool for classroom management. This view is where the “chat” and “raise hand” functions can be seen. The second monitor is where the instructor places the presentation materials. This view acts as the projector in the traditional face-to-face class. Occasionally, we added a third screen, which is an iPad to do real-time annotation. This iPad can is a replacement of the conventional “whiteboard” in a face-to-face class.

Activate and evaluate students’ pre-class learning with a short review. At the beginning of the online “in-class” sessions, instructors should use short formative assessment methods (e.g., a quiz) to activate and evaluate students’ understanding of the pre-class activities. The activation of prior learning enhances student learning because it is the foundation for the new material presented in the classroom (Merrill 2002 ). Indeed, recent meta-analyses have suggested that flipped learning is more effective when formative assessments (e.g., quizzes or reviews) are used before and/or during class time (e.g., Hew and Lo 2018 ; Låg and Sæle 2019 ; Lo et al. 2017 ; van Alten et al. 2019 ). Students in this study reported positive benefits of using short formative assessments such as reviews or quizzes. Examples of student feedback include the following comments.

I find the reviews at the beginning of the “in-class” sessions very helpful! It’s good to start from something we are familiar with, and then go to the new materials. The reviewing of pre-class work is great because we can know what points we do not understand well and how we can improve.
The reviews helped me understand the issue more deeply. I could find out what my misunderstandings of the content are.
I find the teachers’ explanation and review of the pre-class work helpful.

Use an MIM app on mobile phones to foster quicker online response times and to communicate with students during their online breakout sessions . Although students can ask questions via discussion forums or email, the asynchronicity of these apps creates a time lag between postings and replies which can discourage students from communicating with each other (Hew et al. 2018 ). In contrast, MIM apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat allow users to engage in quasi synchronous communications on their mobile phones. When communication needs are urgent, many students may only have their phones available. As soon as an MIM message is sent, a notification automatically shows up on the user’s phone screen, which encourages timely response (Hew et al. 2018 ; Rosenfeld et al. 2018 ). In addition, MIM is more popular than voice calls, emails, and even face-to-face communication among young people (Lenhart et al. 2010 ). As of March 2019, more than 41 million mobile instant messages are sent every minute (Clement 2019 ). Student feedback on using MIM in classrooms included the following comments.

I like using MIM such as WeChat because it allows us to communicate with other people immediately.
I enjoy using WeChat to ask questions and get immediate feedback from my classmates and teaching staff.

Use a variety of presentation media as well as a variety of activities to sustain student interest . No matter how interested a learner is in the topic of a presentation or discussion, that interest will wane in the face of monotony (Driscoll 2000 ). Therefore, it is recommended that instructors sustain student interest by varying the use of presentation media. Instructors, for example, can alternate the use of PowerPoint slides with digital handwriting on an iPad. The instructor in this study made the following comments.

I find continual use of PowerPoint slides to be boring. It’s always the same style: a bullet list of information with some animations or pictures. I find it useful to sustain my students’ attention by writing on an iPad.

Comments from the students were also positive.

I find the instructor writing on an iPad helps to focus my attention better than PowerPoint slides.
Writing on the iPad is like writing on a whiteboard in real face-to-face classrooms. It helps me develop a better understanding of the topic.

Digital writing on an iPad can help learners see the progressive development of the subject content (Hulls 2005 ), and follow the instructor’s cognitive process better than pre-prepared PowerPoint presentations (Lee and Lim 2013 ). Writing on an iPad can also enable an instructor to immediately adjust his or her instruction in response to the students’ needs. Using digital writing can significantly improve students’ understanding of conceptual knowledge when compared to PowerPoint-based presentation lectures (Lee and Lim 2013 ).

In addition to varying the presentation media, an instructor should also use different activities, including guest speakers, during the online class session. Feedback from the students included the following comments.

The use of different functions in Zoom, such as breakout rooms for group activities, voting, and raising hands, is useful because they help us to be involved. It helps increase the learner-learner and learner-instructor interaction, which may be lacking in a fully online class.
During the three-hour online class, we had not only the teacher’s explanations, but also had a guest speaker and online group discussions via breakout rooms, which made the class engaging.

In this study, the instructor invited a United Kingdom-based practicing instructional designer as a guest speaker in the two online flipped courses to talk about her experience in developing e-learning courses and engaging adult learners. Guest speakers enhance students’ educational experience by giving them real-world knowledge (Metrejean and Zarzeski 2001 ). Guest speakers can offer students a different point of view, one that students may better understand. Guest speakers can also alleviate the monotony of listening to a single instructor.

Amidst the burgeoning use of online learning during the unpredictable present, this study evaluates the efficacy of a videoconferencing - supported fully online flipped classroom. It compares student outcomes in four higher education classes: conventional flipped Course 1 versus online flipped Course 1, and conventional flipped Course 2 versus online flipped Course 2. Overall, this study makes three contributions to the literature on flipped classrooms. First, it provides a thick description of the development of the conventional flipped classroom approach based on the 5E framework, and the transformation of the conventional flipped classroom into a fully online flipped classroom. A thick description of the development of the flipped classrooms is provided to encourage replication by other researchers and practitioners. Second, our findings reveal that the online flipped classroom approach can be as effective as the conventional flipped classroom. Third, we identify seven good practices for using videoconferencing to support online flipped classrooms. This set of good practices can provide useful guidelines for other instructors who might be interested in implementing an online flipped approach.

One potential limitation of our study is that it was relatively short in duration (8 weeks). However, according to Fraenkel et al. ( 2014 ), some researchers do collect data within a fairly short time. A short-term data collection period enables researchers to collect and analyze data to see if an intervention is workable before committing to a longer study (Creswell 2015 ). We therefore urge future researchers to examine the use of videoconferencing - supported online flipped classrooms over a longer period of time, such as one year or more, to verify the results of this study.

Another interesting area for future work will be examining how instructors can support learners’ self-regulation during online flipped classroom (Cheng et al. 2019 ), as well as what strategies can best motivate students to complete the pre-class work.

Availability of data and materials

The anonymized datasets used and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Adapting to the culture of ‘new normal’: an emerging response to COVID-19

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Jeff Clyde G Corpuz, Adapting to the culture of ‘new normal’: an emerging response to COVID-19, Journal of Public Health , Volume 43, Issue 2, June 2021, Pages e344–e345,

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A year after COVID-19 pandemic has emerged, we have suddenly been forced to adapt to the ‘new normal’: work-from-home setting, parents home-schooling their children in a new blended learning setting, lockdown and quarantine, and the mandatory wearing of face mask and face shields in public. For many, 2020 has already been earmarked as ‘the worst’ year in the 21st century. Ripples from the current situation have spread into the personal, social, economic and spiritual spheres. Is this new normal really new or is it a reiteration of the old? A recent correspondence published in this journal rightly pointed out the involvement of a ‘supportive’ government, ‘creative’ church and an ‘adaptive’ public in the so-called culture. However, I argue that adapting to the ‘new normal’ can greatly affect the future. I would carefully suggest that we examine the context and the location of culture in which adaptations are needed.

To live in the world is to adapt constantly. A year after COVID-19 pandemic has emerged, we have suddenly been forced to adapt to the ‘new normal’: work-from-home setting, parents home-schooling their children in a new blended learning setting, lockdown and quarantine, and the mandatory wearing of face mask and face shields in public. For many, 2020 has already been earmarked as ‘the worst’ year in the 21st century. 1 Ripples from the current situation have spread into the personal, social, economic and spiritual spheres. Is this new normal really new or is it a reiteration of the old? A recent correspondence published in this journal rightly pointed out the involvement of a ‘supportive’ government, ‘creative’ church and an ‘adaptive’ public in the so-called culture. 2 However, I argue that adapting to the ‘new normal’ can greatly affect the future. I would carefully suggest that we examine the context and the location of culture in which adaptations are needed.

The term ‘new normal’ first appeared during the 2008 financial crisis to refer to the dramatic economic, cultural and social transformations that caused precariousness and social unrest, impacting collective perceptions and individual lifestyles. 3 This term has been used again during the COVID-19 pandemic to point out how it has transformed essential aspects of human life. Cultural theorists argue that there is an interplay between culture and both personal feelings (powerlessness) and information consumption (conspiracy theories) during times of crisis. 4 Nonetheless, it is up to us to adapt to the challenges of current pandemic and similar crises, and whether we respond positively or negatively can greatly affect our personal and social lives. Indeed, there are many lessons we can learn from this crisis that can be used in building a better society. How we open to change will depend our capacity to adapt, to manage resilience in the face of adversity, flexibility and creativity without forcing us to make changes. As long as the world has not found a safe and effective vaccine, we may have to adjust to a new normal as people get back to work, school and a more normal life. As such, ‘we have reached the end of the beginning. New conventions, rituals, images and narratives will no doubt emerge, so there will be more work for cultural sociology before we get to the beginning of the end’. 5

Now, a year after COVID-19, we are starting to see a way to restore health, economies and societies together despite the new coronavirus strain. In the face of global crisis, we need to improvise, adapt and overcome. The new normal is still emerging, so I think that our immediate focus should be to tackle the complex problems that have emerged from the pandemic by highlighting resilience, recovery and restructuring (the new three Rs). The World Health Organization states that ‘recognizing that the virus will be with us for a long time, governments should also use this opportunity to invest in health systems, which can benefit all populations beyond COVID-19, as well as prepare for future public health emergencies’. 6 There may be little to gain from the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is important that the public should keep in mind that no one is being left behind. When the COVID-19 pandemic is over, the best of our new normal will survive to enrich our lives and our work in the future.

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UNESCO . A year after coronavirus: an inclusive ‘new normal’. . (12 February 2021, date last accessed) .

Cordero DA . To stop or not to stop ‘culture’: determining the essential behavior of the government, church and public in fighting against COVID-19 . J Public Health (Oxf) 2021 . doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdab026 .

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El-Erian MA . Navigating the New Normal in Industrial Countries . Washington, D.C. : International Monetary Fund , 2010 .

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Alexander JC , Smith P . COVID-19 and symbolic action: global pandemic as code, narrative, and cultural performance . Am J Cult Sociol 2020 ; 8 : 263 – 9 .

Biddlestone M , Green R , Douglas KM . Cultural orientation, power, belief in conspiracy theories, and intentions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 . Br J Soc Psychol 2020 ; 59 ( 3 ): 663 – 73 .

World Health Organization . From the “new normal” to a “new future”: A sustainable response to COVID-19. 13 October 2020 . https: // . (12 February 2021, date last accessed) .

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Essay on New Education Policy 2020

500+ words essay on new education policy 2020.

Education is a fundamental need and right of everyone now. In order to achieve our goals and help develop a just society, we need education. Similarly, education plays a great role in the national development of a nation. As we are facing a major change in terms of knowledge globally, the Government of India approved the National Education Policy 2020. This essay on new education policy 2020 will help you learn how this new policy has replaced the National Education Policy 1986 that is 34 years old.

essay on new education policy 2020

Aim of the New Education Policy 2020

This new policy has the aim of universalizing education from pre-school to secondary level. It plans to do that with a 100% GRE (Gross Enrollment Ratio) in schooling. The plan is to achieve it by 2030.

This essay on new education policy 2020 will highlight the changes brought in by this new policy. Firstly, the policy proposes to open Indian higher education in foreign universities.

It aims to introduce a four-year multidisciplinary undergraduate program with various exit options. Thus, this new policy will strive to make the country of India a global knowledge superpower.

Similarly, it also aims to make all universities and colleges multi-disciplinary by the year 2040. Finally, the policy aims to grow employment in India and also bring fundamental changes to the present educational system.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Advantages and Disadvantages of New Education Policy 2020

The policy gives an advantage to students of classes 10 and 12 by making the board exams easier. In other words, it plans to test the core competencies instead of mere memorization of facts.

It will allow all the students to take the exam twice. Further, it proposes that an independent authority will be responsible for regulating both public and private schools . Similarly, the policy aims to diminish any severe separation between the educational streams and vocational streams in the schools.

There will also be no rigid division between extra-curriculum. Vocational education will begin at class sixth with an internship. Now, the essay on new education policy 2020 will tell you about the disadvantages of the policy.

Firstly, it can make the education system expensive. Meaning to say, admission to foreign universities will probably result in this. Further, it will create a lack of human resources.

If we look at the present elementary education, we notice that there is a lack of skilled teachers. Thus, keeping this in mind, the National Education Policy 2020 can give rise to practical problems in implementing the system that is for elementary education.

Finally, there is also the drawback of the exodus of teachers. In other words, admission to foreign universities will ultimately result in our skilled teachers migrating to those universities.

To conclude the essay on New Education Policy 2020, we can say that this policy is an essential initiative to help in the all-around development of our society and country as a whole. However, the implementation of this policy will greatly determine its success. Nonetheless, with a youth dominant population, India can truly achieve a better state with the proper implementation of this education policy.

FAQ of Essay on New Education Policy 2020

Question 1: What does the New Education Policy 2020 aim to achieve by 2030?

Answer 1: This new policy has the aim of universalizing education from pre-school to secondary level. It plans to do that with a 100% GRE (Gross Enrollment Ratio) in schooling. The plan is to achieve it by 2030.

Question 2: Give two challenges the New Education Policy 2020 may face?

Answer 2: Firstly, it can make the education system expensive. Meaning to say, admission to foreign universities will probably result in this. Further, it will create a lack of human resources.

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    To live in the world is to adapt constantly. A year after COVID-19 pandemic has emerged, we have suddenly been forced to adapt to the 'new normal': work-from-home setting, parents home-schooling their children in a new blended learning setting, lockdown and quarantine, and the mandatory wearing of face mask and face shields in public.

  20. New Normal Education Essay

    New Normal Education essay - Free download as Word Doc (.doc / .docx), PDF File (.pdf), Text File (.txt) or read online for free.

  21. My Reflection in the New Normal Education

    Sun.Star Pampanga. My Reflection in the New Normal Education. 2021-01-26 -. Rico Jay C. Mananquil. Much has been written about the new normal in the society as the COVID-19 Pandemic continues to spread in different countries around the world. The new normal will involve higher levels of health precaution­s.

  22. Essay on New Education Policy 2020

    FAQ of Essay on New Education Policy 2020. Question 1: What does the New Education Policy 2020 aim to achieve by 2030? Answer 1: This new policy has the aim of universalizing education from pre-school to secondary level. It plans to do that with a 100% GRE (Gross Enrollment Ratio) in schooling.

  23. PDF The "new normal" in education

    The "new normal" in education is the technological order—a passive technologization—and its expansion continues uncontested and even accelerated by the pandemic. Two Greek concepts, kronos and kairos, allow a discussion of contrasts between the quantitative and the qualitative in education.