Tech For Good

Pandemic Impacts Millions of Students; How Digital Learning Can Help

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The global scale and speed of disruption in education from the COVID-19 pandemic is “unparalleled” according to the United Nations with an estimated 290 million students impacted globally and growing. And several schools and universities have chosen to forgo in-person classes in favor of remote learning.

The closing of classroom doors couldn’t come at a worse time with many schools’ upcoming spring tests, but it also presents an opportunity to expand access to digital learning tools and content for educators and students.

With rapidly changing technology and the speed at which businesses must operate to be competitive in a global digital and AI economy, it’s clear that lifelong learning is essential to remain relevant in the workplace. Digital learning is not the only way to access lifelong learning, but it improves access and reduces the cost of continued learning to a wider population of students.

IBM has extended online education resources like IBM Skills, Open P-TECH and IBM AI Education series for teachers with a special focus on providing online credentials to under-served populations. These free programs and courses can give users the tools needed to explore new ideas, careers, and courses to reach their full potential – anytime, anywhere. Sign up for the live, free, online webinars here.

This includes the newly released Open P-TECH for teachers and students. It’s a digital education platform launched to equip those aged 14-20 years old with foundational knowledge about topics like cybersecurity, AI and cloud computing, plus professional skills like critical and creative thinking, at no cost. The online learning platform brings components of the P-TECH program to a larger audience beyond the 220 global P-TECH schools.

After students complete coursework on the platform, they can earn industry recognized “digital badges” that can be added to their resumes and social networks. This can demonstrate their knowledge and skills as they apply for employment or higher education. Additionally, teachers can also stay connected with students outside the classroom with access to activities and lesson plans that extend the learning that students complete on the platform. The free platform also comes with a student progress dashboard to monitor progress and assign new content to students.

You can learn more about Open P-TECH by watching this video, demonstrating that curiosity and a desire for lifelong learning are crucial for the future of work.

A September 2019 IBM report predicts more than 120 million people will need up-skilling or re-skilling in the next three years.

Taking advantage of digital content while we have the time to explore it presents a great opportunity for learners of all ages—but especially for educators searching content to prepare students for the careers of tomorrow.

This story first appeared on the IBM Good Tech Blog

Executive Director, P-TECH, IBM Corporate Social Responsibility

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