instructional design in the days of the pandemic
Nobody really expected 2020 to be so full of tragedy. Disappointment is absolutely an understatement for what I feel. I would not say devastated - because I had not experiences any personal losses. I do anticipate employment struggles for some of my close family members and friends.
The year started with hope. The year is a neat little number, often compared to perfect vision. So many have plans with that little theme in mind - Vision 2020. It is a beginning, everyone thought.
It may just be so.
However, some beginnings can be violent. The Big Bang! The Bubonic plague, though the very image of Pestilence, made way for more independent, secular thinking. We now know the creative aftermath as the Renaissance. Do we need to go through the fire to prove ourselves? Perhaps. The scene is still unfolding, and we are still rapt - shocked - overwhelmed about what life is now offering us. Even buying food is a struggle. The suiting up (well, mask and long-sleeves, and outdoor shoes), lining up, and the cleansing afterwards have become the norm.
It is April, and people are in the midst of an anxious time and an uncertain world. People are asked to stay inside. This may be a request or a command, depending on the government.
Many of us teachers have been brought to a position wherein we cannot see our kids, our students, our protegees. Instructional designers like me are finally given a greater challenge: how do you design lessons for kids who need more visuals and even tactile stimuli? Little seven year olds need their hugs and their assurances. How do you design lessons for teenagers and young adults whose families are struggling with COVID-19 or with unemployment? Is the attention span really there?
Some teachers who were not able to transition lost their jobs. Some of us may have lost the physical connection, but we are lucky to know how to use media to engage and teach. This is a challenge and a boon for instructional designers.
I hope to be able to update you on what will happen in the next few weeks here in Dominica. Most teachers and parents are new to Google Classrooms or any type of online platform. Some do not even have laptops, and are dependent on smart phones or even not so smart phones. Let us see how it goes.