The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruptions in the education sector globally. Schools and universities were forced to transit to online teaching in order to comply with social distance regulations, so the use of digital resources became a necessity for ensuring continued learning.
The pandemic imposed wide usage of online teaching resources. Teachers were required to adopt digital tools, including video conferencing software, learning management systems (LMS), and digital assessment tools. Online teaching posed several challenges, including a lack of student engagement, technical glitches, and the inability to provide students with hands-on learning experiences. In addition, students from low-income families and rural areas were disproportionately affected by a lack of access to technology and the internet.
The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital resources in education. Even as schools and universities reopen, many teachers are continuing to use digital resources in their teaching. The use of LMS has become more prevalent, allowing teachers to create and share resources, assess students’ learning, and communicate with parents. Furthermore, the pandemic has spurred the development of new digital resources, such as virtual labs, simulations, and online learning communities.
The use of digital resources has transformed the education sector, and its impact is likely to be felt even after the pandemic. Digital resources have the potential to provide students with personalized learning experiences, access to a wider range of resources, and opportunities for collaboration with peers worldwide. However, there are concerns about the digital division and the impact of technology on social interactions and mental health. Teachers and policymakers need to work together to ensure that digital resources are accessible, equitable, and effective in enhancing learning outcomes.In conclusion, the pandemic has provided an opportunity for the education sector to rethink its approach to teaching and learning and embrace the potential of digital resources.
But on the other hand the uncontrolled and unchecked, self-initiated and independent use of digital tools can also have harmful effects on the mental health of students. With the increasing use of digital resources in education, students are spending more time on screens, which can lead to a range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances.
The use of social media, in particular, has been linked to negative mental health outcomes. Studies have shown that social media use can lead to social comparison, which can result in feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. In addition, social media can be a source of cyberbullying, which can lead to anxiety and depression.
Moreover, the constant exposure to information and stimulation can lead to cognitive overload, making it difficult for students to concentrate and process information effectively. This can result in feelings of overwhelm and burnout, which can further evoke mental health issues.
Teachers and policymakers must recognize the potential harm and misuse of digital tools. They should work to promote responsible use of technology, educate students on healthy screen time habits, and provide resources and support for students who may be struggling with mental health issues.These include:
1.Promoting responsible use of technology: Teachers and parents should educate students on healthy screen time habits, such as taking breaks, setting time limits, and avoiding technology before bedtime.
2.Encouraging digital wellness: Schools can develop policies and programs that promote digital wellness, such as mindfulness exercises, stress management techniques, and strategies for coping with digital overload.
3.Providing resources and support: Schools should provide resources and support for students who may be struggling with mental health issues related to digital technology, such as counseling services, mental health resources, and access to educational materials.
4.Incorporating digital citizenship education: Schools should incorporate digital citizenship education into the curriculum, teaching students how to use digital tools responsibly and ethically.
5.Establishing clear policies and guidelines: Schools should establish clear policies and guidelines on the use of digital tools, including guidelines for appropriate use and strategies for addressing cyberbullying and online harassment.
By doing so, schools can ensure that students can reap the benefits of digital technology and improve the well-being of all, students, teachers and parents.