2021: Where do we go from here?

In many parts of Canada and around the world, we've been moved back into extended lockdowns since the winter holidays. This has meant that any children who signed up for in-class learning during 2020 have been back in the virtual classroom as we have kicked off 2021.

From the potential future impacts of the vaccine rollout to the impacts of likely ease-restrict-ease-restrict cycles, there is still much that is unknown. However, as we continue to move between in-person and virtual classroom experiences one thing is clear, and it's that our children are being required to learn how to be flexible and adapt to rapidly changing schedules and circumstances.

Through these extended changes we are all creating new habits that may not be as temporary as we might have initially thought. Although this experience has been undeniably stressful for many households, these new habits will surely help young people in particular to develop a sense of resilience that will serve them well in the future. Without always being fully conscious of it, current circumstances are helping young people to develop positive habits in two key areas:

The formation of new habits related to personal behaviours stems from the fact that students are being left more largely than before to their own devices (pun intended!) and are being required to take more responsibility for the progression of their own learning. The systems that have previously been there to provide structure, guidance, and feedback are less effective and in some cases, simply nonexistent. To be clear, this is not a criticism of teachers, who are doing a literally heroic job of adapting and adjusting to new circumstances. Rather, it is simply a reflection of the limitations of learning remotely within our current constructs.

With specific regard to “resourcefulness, grit, and scrappiness”, “grit” is defined in an article in the Harvard Business Review as being a key predictor of “who will accomplish challenging goals” and being comprised of “passion and perseverance”. Building on this, the article goes on to state that:

“Passion comes from intrinsic interest in your craft and from a sense of purpose—the conviction that your work is meaningful and helps others. Perseverance takes the form of resilience in the face of adversity as well as unwavering devotion to continuous improvement.”

It is the very important second factor, perseverance, that young people are being forced to develop as we write!

With regard to core competencies, technology is now an undeniably important vehicle for engaged learning, social connection, intellectual exploration, play and creativity. However, placing technology at the centre of learning can be both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is the seemingly limitless access to, well everything, that it provides. The curse is that striking the balance between “technology as a superpower” and “technology as a distraction” is not easy. At the heart of developing the discipline required to maintain this balance is effective time management.

Finally, parents, educators, and young people are all being forced to be more creative in identifying and selecting the tools that are used to understand and “own” the increasingly complex concepts required to participate effectively in our future society. Learning today is as much about ensuring that core concepts and fundamentals are grasped as it is about “connecting the dots” amongst ideas, bodies of information, approaches, and techniques. The inherent instability of current circumstances is necessarily forcing young people and others to take nothing for granted and ask big questions about the why and how of the way things are. Not in an abstract way but in a very practical way that relates directly to their own daily experiences. The practice of this type of questioning drives to the heart of developing the skill to “connect the dots” in an integrated way.

While our focus at Creatubbles is not on developing educational tools with a capital “E”, we are deeply invested in the idea that, if stewarded correctly, technology can be a tool for good and we are excited by the amazing possibilities it can open up for learning and facilitating fundamentally positive human connections. It is with this spirit that we have been developing Super Code Strike. With our app now live in the Canadian iTunes App Store, we are beginning to see players developing their coding skills while playing with each other and we are very excited to see this progress as 2021 comes to life!

Sending all educators, mums, dads and guardians lots of patience and positivity during an exceptionally difficult time. - The Creatubbles Team

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