This year has posed many challenges, and they may be no more acutely felt than in the education sector, where massive changes in process, assessment and curriculum as a result of COVID-19 will have long-lasting impacts on many students.
In recognition of this, and ahead of the broader return to school across the US, Facebook has this week launched a new Educator Hub, which is designed to help students, parents and teachers by providing a range of educational resources, which are focused on improving learning outcomes, updating lesson plans, and teaching digital literacy.
As explained by Facebook:
"Back-to-school season looks different this year due to COVID-19, and parents, teachers and students around the world are facing a myriad of challenges, from remote teaching and learning, balancing work and home responsibilities, and most importantly, maintaining the safety and well-being of all involved. That’s why we’re launching an Educator Hub to support teachers and provide resources across our apps to help people navigate the new school year, stay connected and take care of each other."
The hub aims to recognize the varying impacts of the pandemic, and also includes sections dedicated to mental wellbeing and teacher connectivity, in order to facilitate support for people dealing with the various challenges posed by the situation.
There's also a dedicated section on teaching racial equality, as well as a listing of Facebook tools that students and educators can use to stay connected, even if they're running remote classes.
Facebook is already playing a key role for many school communities, with 1.5 million people now participating in homeschooling groups within the app. The new guides align with that usage, and the digital literacy elements could be particularly helpful as more kids spend more time online during the lockdowns.
As with everything, we have to hope that we're able to move beyond the pandemic soon, in order to lessen any lasting impacts, and again, those impacts will be significant in the education sector, with students missing out on crucial interactions and opportunities.
But right now, we have to do what we can within the confines of the pandemic response, and these new resources from Facebook could help to make it a little easier for students.