By Akinfolami Akin-Alamu
In simplest words, COVID-19 changed the world. Our way of life has been drastically altered, probing for new and innovative ways to keep the balance we held before the global pandemic hit. Amidst lockdown, we have employed technology in our quest to adapt and continue to satisfy our work, life, and relationship demands.
At the early stages of the pandemic, my panic level was sky-high. I probably thought we were hinging towards extinction or one of those doomsday storylines I saw only in movies. But, as with other friends, I sought comfort in the point that my family was safe and healthy. That alone was enough motivation that I needed to get through the ebb and flow of remote learning that was to come.
I had so many questions. How was I supposed to get through seven hours of gazing at a computer screen? How was the teacher to know I was paying attention? What if I lost connection? How was the integrity of exams to be protected? The truth is, even my teachers didn’t have answers to these questions. Quite clearly, it was a new encounter for everyone, one that was best described as a learning curve, where our proficiency increased with experience.
As the whole world was shifting its engagement to virtual environments, I was getting acquainted with the ways of zoom classes, virtual game nights, and new communication channels. Remote learning exposed me to a more calm and relaxed learning atmosphere, where I was able to take in the many opportunities that surrounded me carefully. I made it a point to take advantage of these opportunities and explore new interests. I took two complete courses on Python programming and Machine Learning via Coursera online learning platform. I also found myself learning how to make beats with FL Studio for friends who needed them.
My greatest takeaway from a technology inspired lockdown experience was an initiative I started. Before COVID-19 struck, many students at my school would gather in the learning commons, conversing, revising, debating, and sharing ideas. But, COVID-19 denied us the chance to convene in those spaces anymore. Peer-to-peer learning and feedback had been restricted. And so, to address this, I founded an online community called TheStudentspace. TheStudentspace is an online platform that seeks to connect a community of learners to share content, knowledge, and resources. Think of it as a social media platform. The only difference is that this time, it is solely for learning.
I could go on endlessly, re-counting my COVID-19 lockdown experience and how technology made it bearable. It opened my eyes to see that the world is becoming more technologically driven, and if one chooses to remain relevant, one must keep up. Even my dad, who formerly relied on technology just to type documents and send emails, reached out to me to teach him how to use zoom, Microsoft Teams, and some other platforms that would aid his work.
Indeed, as Alvin Toffler said, “The great growling engine of change- technology.”
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