The Chinese Experience on “Disrupted Classes, Undisrupted Learning” , Contribution to the “New Type” of Global Education
On March 13, 2020, an international webinar entitled “How to Keep Students Learning during Schools Disruption in COVID-19 Situation” was held online. The webinar was organized by the Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University (SLIBNU) and UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education, co-hosted by UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization and International Association of Smart Learning Environments. Several international scholars, educational enterprise representatives and international organizations from different countries and regions were invited to discuss how to effectively apply the “Disrupted Classes, Undisrupted Learning” initiative with the current issues and strategies in different regions.
Since January 2020, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has rapidly spread worldwide. According to UNESCO statistics, by March 10, nearly 363 million students around the world have been affected by not going back to their schools. China’s Ministry of Education has launched an initiative entitled “Disrupted Classes, Undisrupted Learning” and published free and open high-quality educational resources that can be chosen by teachers across the country to teach over 270 million students from their homes.
On the webinar released the Handbook on Facilitating Flexible Learning During Educational Disruption: The Chinese Experience in Maintaining Undisrupted Learning in COVID-19 Outbreak. This handbook was realized by the research team led by SLIBNU Co-Dean Ronghuai Huang and Dejian Liu and discussed seven core elements for providing flexible learning, namely (1) network infrastructure, (2) learning tools, (3) digital learning resources, (4) instructional organization, (5) learning methods, (6) supports and services, and, (7) collaboration between governments, enterprises and schools. Inspired by the united solidarity and innovative experiences of millions of teachers and students, this handbook aims to define the term “flexible learning” with vivid examples and touching stories. Several suggestions are also presented to help international educators and researchers apply similar cases studies in their respective contexts.
Experts and scholars from Italia, Spain, Korea, etc. share more about their experience and strategies of online learning. The webinar provided a solid ground to learn from each other during the COVID-19 and highlighted the following concluding remarks: First, it is a global opportunity to define “future education”, promoting to think over the mode of future education. Second, online learning, unlike traditional classrooms, is a new type of education featured with flexible teaching and active learning. Third, education about the relationships between human beings, environments, societies including virtual ones in cyberspace should be taken into consideration. Fourth, it is necessary for the government and society to allocate educational services in a balanced way by considering students with special needsFifth, this is a special period where we can see the importance of information and communication technology in Education.