The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has lasted throughout the spring, leaving thousands of schools across the country forced to face how to handle classrooms virtually. Now that we’re nearing summer, administrators have faced a new challenge: how to hold a virtual graduation ceremony.
Schools such as Yale and George Washington University are hosting graduation ceremonies via virtual conference. Commencement speakers record their speeches in short videos that are sent out to graduating classes, and students have found their own ways to celebrate with family and friends, such as the medical school graduate whose family put on a lavish ceremony in their living room in a viral video on Twitter.
Though the ed-tech industry has been growing for years, this integration of education and technology is unlike anything the United States has ever seen before. Many predicted the continued rise of online learning, but few could predict just how central such services would become to the functioning of educational systems this year and likely beyond.
However, such an increase in the virtualization of education is calling many different things into question. For example, many students are lacking access to broadband internet or reliable, personal computers, access which has become necessary to receive basic schooling. As a result, many students are not receiving the quality education they need, and many teachers report chronic absenteeism. In a country where many states struggle to keep up their high school graduation rates due to a lack of resources, it’s clear to see how many students will slip through the cracks in completely online schooling.
What does this mean for the future of ed-tech? Maine is taking the lead in terms of addressing this issue by securing learning devices and internet access for all students lacking access. It’s likely that future government aid will have to take place in order to continue successful public education in the United States.