The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on education systems around the world, and the United States is no exception. One of the most notable changes brought about by the pandemic is the increased use of technology in America's educational
system. According to a National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) report, the
percentage of American students who reported using a computer or other digital device
for schoolwork during the pandemic rose from 37% in 2019 to 64% in 2020 (NCES,
The increased technology usage in education has had both positive and negative consequences. On the one hand, technology allowed educators to continue teaching and students to continue learning even when schools were closed. Online learning platforms, such as Canvas, Schoology, and Google Classroom, have enabled remote learning and allowed students to stay connected with their teachers and classmates.
Unfortunately, the increased use of technology led to some problems, particularly for teachers. One of the most significant issues is that teachers have reported feeling less engaged with their students, even now that students are back in face-to-face mode. During the pandemic, schools were compelled to rely on educational programs to provide instruction. Although these programs effectively presented the content to students, they could not influence and motivate students to develop an interest and love for learning. Simply put, learning requires more than presenting content to students. Studies have consistently demonstrated that teaching and learning are most effective when students feel connected to their teachers. Students with more robust relationships with their teachers are more academically engaged, have stronger social skills, and experience more positive behavior.
The value of teachers engaging with their students during the teaching and learning process cannot be overstated, particularly for low-achieving students. A study by the
Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE, 2020) found that teacher engagement and student achievement are positively correlated, and students with highly engaged teachers have better academic outcomes. A National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2019) study found that students from low-income families and students of color are more likely to struggle academically. However, when teachers are highly engaged with these students during the teaching and learning process, it can help close the achievement gap and improve their academic outcomes. Furthermore, a National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2018) report found that students who feel connected to their teachers and classmates are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their learning.
In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the increased use of technology in
America's educational system. While technology has allowed educators to continue
teaching and students to continue learning, it has also led to some problems, particularly for teachers who have reported feeling less engaged with their students. As
educators work to overcome the learning loss students experience during the
pandemic, they must find ways to maintain personal engagement and build stronger
relationships with their students. Furthermore, when teachers engage with their
students, they are better able to provide individualized support and tailored
instruction. This is particularly important for students struggling with the material or
with students that have specific learning needs. Teachers indeed play a crucial role in engaging students in the learning process. When teachers can connect with their students, they are better able to create a positive learning environment, provide effective instruction, and ultimately help students achieve academically.
National Center for Education Statistics. (2020). The Condition of Education 2020
(NCES 2020-144). National Center for Education Statistics.
Harvard Graduate School of Education. (2020). The relationship between teacher engagement and student achievement. Harvard Graduate School of Education.
National Center for Education Statistics. (2018). The Condition of Education 2018
(NCES 2018-144). National Center for Education Statistics.