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High schools, colleges and universities alike are slowly being allowed to reopen. While educators have previously been struggling with making the switch to online classes, now they’re trying to answer tougher questions involving schools reopening amid pandemic.

When exactly should schools reopen? Should they open to all students, or only those who need to use school facilities for their learning? And of course, the question of what safety measures need to be put in place. The answers to these questions can’t be taken lightly, as they’ll affect at least 1.4 billion students worldwide.

The traditional grading scale in learning, as we know it, is facing an existential crisis. Universities and colleges have now moved most of their activities online and are currently engaged in distance learning. As with most things in life, the reality is that education technologies come with their fair share of pros and cons.

Unfortunately, some students are finding it harder to gain an education under these circumstances. Some face technological problems, like when students don’t have equal access to computers or reliable internet connections at home. As governments enforce lockdowns, students are suddenly restricted to home environments that might not be conducive to their learning. Some are forced to balance their education with providing care for younger siblings or ageing parents. All the while, many suffer from the lack of strict schedules that once gave them stability.

Google returns about 2,410,000,000 results for the “new normal in higher education,” which is a clear indication of how vital this question is.

Some are saying that old teaching methods will have to vanish, giving way to the tech-savvy instruction. Some predict tougher competition among higher education institutions as they struggle to grow enrollments and make admissions less demanding.

To help us avoid getting lost in this round-the-clock news stream, we’ve reached out to a highly experienced specialist in making predictions based on demographic, political, and economic data.

Meet Bryan Alexander, Senior Scholar at Georgetown University and author of Academia Next,  The Futures of Higher Education.

Traditional academia is gone. We don’t need to be in a specific location to be learning. A couple of clicks and we’re already “in the classroom.” Technology plays a vital role in this change. What’s more, Generation Z, for whom tech has been an integral part of their lives since birth, are now students. Not to mention, “life-long learning” has become a new normal too. All these scholars have added a lot of work to academic institutions as they digest information differently from previous generations, and value mobility and freedom of choice over restrictions.

E-learning has been around for quite a while, but not all the academic institutions succeeded in adopting new educational models.

We’ve talked over this issue and a lot more hot topics with Dr. Brendan Moloney, an Australian entrepreneur, author, and public speaker.

As an academic by background, Brendan used to work at the University of Melbourne and completed his PhD there as well. He had been observing big changes in the university sector and put together a team of fellow PhDs from around Australia and the world to create Darlo.

Things in the education space have a tendency to evolve rapidly, making it feel like the world keeps changing overnight. Students today find themselves with a genuine concern about staying ‘future-proof’, or being able to keep up with such changes to remain competitive as they enter the workforce.

These changes won’t stop, so what can students like you do to keep up?