What is certain about education in uncertain times?
Each year CSSE conference will celebrate the accomplishments of educators and scholars during the past year. This year’s conference, however, is more than a celebration but to light hope for future education during the Pandemic. As a lot of us are experiencing—isolation, technical issues, getting lost, we also gain new skills of using technology and become self-regulatory learners and researchers.
As the vaccination rate is growing, we could expect hopeful anticipation of the school reopening in more provinces. The time of the conference made me feel that June 2021 would be a refreshing start-off of education. When schools reopen, I believe teachers would be better equipped with the knowledge of using technology in their classroom and appreciate more about the integration of multiple technological tools.
Many of the scholars discussed challenges they encountered during the Pandemic. Christina Luzius-Vanin and Lydia Pandian shared their collaborative self-study experiences as Ph.D. students. Aide Chen and Yan Su reflected on their shift of identities in online courses. Yina Liu demonstrated children’s digital home literacy practices during Covid-19. The lack of physical contact has been a great barrier in education, making students of all ages confront numerous difficulties. It seems that we could not interview participants as we used to do and we could not connect with people in a lovely, cozy cafe. Things have become fairly different due to the Pandemic.
However, scholars never stop searching for light in the darkness. Technology advancement has enabled educators to deliver high-quality lessons and conduct research from long distances. Arlene Grierson, Tiffany Gallagher, Rachel St.Hilaire, and Christina De Silva explored how digital learning coaching has been achieved and how differentiated instructions could be implemented. Many efforts and endeavors have been made to enhance preservice teacher education, K-12 education, language education and more. Even under such struggling times, educators and experts are consistently striving to remedy the emerging problematic issues.
As Tanya Surette and Kelly Brenton concluded, we could see “change and transitions as sources of new possibilities and transformations”. I am quite resonated with this remark. Many of us may have been staying in our comfort zones for too long. It is easier to organize group activities in a face-to-face class. However, it might also be possible to enhance collaboration in online classes as well. As a teacher, I have had to teach my students in an online platform and thought of alternative means of engaging my students due to Covid-19. Accordingly, I have explored more websites and online resources for my students. I gradually realize that teaching should not be constrained to class time.
Given the importance of the land where indigenous people are located, we are privileged to gather together in the CSSE conference and celebrate the collective knowledge and navigate through the Pandemic. I am lucky to participate in the CSSE conference because I could hear similar struggles from my peers, who are still fighting against uncertainties. Meanwhile, numerous scholars have touched upon topics such as social emotional learning, digital literacy skills and collaborative skills, which I have not attended to in my online teaching. Finally, I would like to quote Dr. Rebecca Lloyd’s closing remarks in PHETE AGM “We need to go beyond our discipline to make bigger connections.”