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Remote learning isn't new: Radio instruction in the 1937 polio epidemic

https://theconversation.com/remote-learning-isnt-new-radio-instruction-in-the-1937-polio-epidemic-143797

theconversation.com

Remote learning isn't new: Radio instruction in the 1937 polio epidemic
This isn't the first time America's schoolchildren have studied remotely – and Chicago's 1937 'radio school' experiment shows how technology can fill the gap during a crisis.

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Education during epidemics

Education during epidemics

94% of countries implemented some form of remote learning during the pandemic. And this is not the first time that educators have made use of remote learning.

During a polio outbreak in 1937, the Chicago school system used radio to teach children. During other communicable illnesses, schools typically halted formal learning. Some kids played more while others went back to work at home or on family farms. School sometimes compensated for lost education by shifting the academic calendar or mandating Saturday attendance.

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Radio school

The radio school experiment during the polio outbreak was highly innovative and untested. Some 315,000 children in grades 3 through 8 received lessons on the radio while at home.

Chicago teachers collaborated to create on-air lessons for each grade, local radio stations donated air time, and local papers printed class schedules each morning. Classes were just 15 minutes, providing simple broad questions and assigning homework.

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Remote school challenges

News stories reporting on radio school were mostly positive, but articles also pointed out the challenges. Some children didn't have access to radios. Other kids were distracted or struggled to follow the lessons. They could not ask questions in the moment, and kids needed more parental involvement.

In 2020, when the pandemic shut down schools, many countries turned to multiple platforms, such as television, radio, and internet. However, they continue to face similar challenges to those the radio school faced in the 1930s.

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Lessons from remote education

The current pandemic has highlighted the burdens of the digital divide. Children in high-poverty communities don't have access to technology. It highlights the need for funding to address technological inequalities in schools.

Pandemic teaching could ultimately improve education. It could reshape education once school moves back to the classroom. Digital tools could enrich the curriculum and could create new ways to connect with students beyond the traditional modes of learning.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Social-emotional learning

Social-emotional learning

Schools are supposed to be able to adjust to their students' needs and requirements throughout the year.

Especially in times of crisis, the technique called social-emotional learning is a m...

Support teachers' needs

While going through a crisis of any kind can be challenging for most of us, one category that for sure feels the change is represented by the teaching staff worldwide.

When asked to teach their subject via Zoom or applications alike, teachers have to change their way of presenting the topic, make them seem more interesting and, what is even more important, to make the class more interactive; this can eventually lead to sadness, anxiety and fear even for the most experienced teachers.

Mentoring relationships within schools

If there is one thing that teachers should be particularly good at, this has to be mentoring their students.

By doing so, not only do they guide an individual's self-development throughout his or her school years, but they also emphasize the idea of human interaction, which should actually be the basis for most of our successful actions.

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Failure

Failure

Success is sought after by most, while failure is looked down upon, even seen as something shameful.

More than success, it is our failures, errors and rejections that provide us wit...

The Ostrich Effect

Once we have invested our time, effort and resources in something, we tend to avoid correcting ourselves in real-time if we are off-track.

Inversely, when people engage in mental contrasting, anticipating the upcoming obstacles, they tend to succeed.

Failure Is A Goldmine

Sharing information on failure among peers means less work overall, and better success for the entire team, as team members do not have to reinvent the wheel by making the same mistake to learn from it.

People do not share failure as it hurts their self-esteem, but if we keep the personal equation aside, a lot can be gained from the collective knowledge of what didn’t work.

Two of the biggest innovations

Two of the biggest innovations

Two of the biggest innovations of modern times are cars and airplanes. At first, every new invention looks like a toy. It takes decades for people to realise the potential of it.

Innovation is driven by incentives

There are three types of incentives:

  1. "If I don't figure this out, I might get fired." It will get you moving.
  2. "If I figure this out, I might help people and make a lot of money." It will produce creativity.
  3. "If we don't figure this out now, our very existence is threatened." Militaries deal with this, and it will fuel the most incredible problem-solving and innovation in a short time.

During World War II, there was a burst of scientific progress that took place. The government was in effect saying that if a discovery had any possible war value, then it had to be developed and put in use, regardless of the expense.

The conditions for big innovations to happen

The biggest innovations seldom happen when everyone's happy or safe. They happen when people are a little panicked and worried, and when they have to act quickly.

In 1932, the stock market fell by 89%. It was an economic disaster where almost a quarter of Americans were out of work. However, the 1930s was also the most productive and technologically progressive decade in history. Economist Alex Field writes that in 1941, the U.S. economy produced almost 40 percent more output than it had in 1929, with little increase in labor hours or private-sector capital input.