Vol 3, No 3 (2021): Pandemic Education

Published November 29, 2021

Issue Description

There have always been rather contradictory views on the use of digital technology in education. Many have been against its application, while others have tried to justify its importance with research. However, the pandemic situation created by the COVID-19 virus put an end to these debates (albeit perhaps only temporarily), as online teaching has become the basic alternative to face-to-face teaching in most countries. The vast majority of learners, from pre-schoolers to university students, have kept in touch with their teachers online, a solution that sometimes required the active involvement of parents.The papers in this thematic issue both present the applications of digital technology in the 21st century and analyse the experiences and lessons of this particular situation.


Thematic articles

Pandemic and Education

The emergence and rapid spread of the Coronavirus in the spring of 2020 has fundamentally changed our lives. The most important change has been the attempt to minimise face–to–face contacts everywhere in order to keep the epidemic under control. Public gatherings were banned, shopping malls were closed, and sporting events were also cancell...ed. As COVID–19 spread as easily among children as among adults, schools could not escape the restrictions. During the first wave of the epidemic, institutions had to switch to emergency remote education (ERE) at very short notice, which presented a number of problems for all participants. These problems and experiences of the switch should be collected at all levels of education, as they not only help to prepare for similar situations, but may also lead to conclusions that can be used to make the methods and solutions of classroom–based teaching more motivating, more effective or even more efficient. In this paper, we review both the challenges of the transition and the possible implications for the future teaching–learning process by reflecting on the lessons learned.

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Migrating From Face-To-Face to Online Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Experiences of Psychology Students at a Private Higher Education Institution in Gauteng

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an accelerated migration from face-to-face to online learning. This article aims to explore and describe how psychology students experienced the migration from face-to-face to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. It entailed a qualitative research design with an exploratory and descriptive approa...ch. The participants were 28 purposively sampled psychology students from a Private Higher Education Institution in Gauteng. An online survey method was employed to gather the needed information which was then subjected to a thematic analysis. It emerged that the challenges experienced by students were internet connectivity issues, insufficient computer literacy, reduced class time, anxiety, physical impact, and communication issues. Moreover, some benefits related to flexibility, the convenience of online studies and safety from infection with COVID-19 were identified. It was also noted that having certain attributes such as independence, time management skills, having support and being tech savvy improved the online learning process. Some opportunities for Higher Education Institutions to improve the experiences of students included creativity in module delivery as well as providing guidelines on how to use these online platforms.

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Introductory Survey on Challenges Encountered by University Teachers in Online Teaching of STEM Subjects During COVID-19 Lockdown

2020 will be remembered for COVID-19, a pandemic that forced the world to lock down and urged most educational providers to promptly implement e-learning solutions. In this paper, we point out some challenges faced by university teachers who had almost no earlier practice in online teaching. Nine lecturers working in different universities from... Brazil, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, India, Macedonia, and Slovakia – all teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects – were interviewed to share their online teaching experiences during the COVID-19 lockdown. The aim of this introductory small-scale research paper is to provide a basis for future research regarding the influences that the COVID-19 situation has had on educational processes, as well as to assist educational providers in foreseeing and eliminating the possible problems of lecturers when establishing an online educational environment. Some conclusions are formulated from the interview survey, and possibilities for further research are described.

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“From the Initial Steps to the Concept of Online Education” – Teacher Experiences and Development Directions Based on Feedback from Online Education Introduced During the Pandemic

The pandemic situation caused by COVID-19 has challenged the education system, not only in Hungary, but everywhere in the world. The use of information and communication technology in education, including higher education, has transformed students' expectations and, at the same time, redefined the role of t...he online educator. This is because online teaching and learning is significantly different from teaching-learning in a traditional environment, and educators need to rethink their role in the learning and teaching paradigm. Our higher education institution has developed a new learning-teaching concept based on the experience of distance education introduced as a result of the pandemic situation. The research described in the study and the corresponding developments are shared as good practice for other higher education institutions.

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Digital Creativity Development in an E-learning Environment – A 3D Design Project

During the pandemic, arts disciplines had to seek new paths for creation to continue visual skills development outside the studio. ICTs offer a natural tool set for individual and collaborative work and sharing online. 3D design and the development of digital creativity can represent new directions for Hungarian art education and its major disc...ipline called Visual Culture. With this tool, visual art education can proceed on the bumpy road to teach the visual language of the 21st century. Certainly, technological focus is not the only option for progress in art education. Nevertheless, if we look for possible directions for renewal, we cannot ignore the use of software products that support visual creativity,and are becoming more and more easily available, simpler and free of charge. This paper focuses on the pedagogical possibilities of 3D printing. We present an experimental program with secondary school students aged 16 years, that started and ended face-to-face and was partly realised online. As the project manifests a creative synergy of Visual Culture and Information Technology disciplines that may be of interest for art and ICT educators as well.

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New Paths to Online Teaching – How Can We Manage Knowledge Transfer and Make the Learning More Enjoyable?

This study is based on the results from a national project initiative on digitalization, supported by methodology evidence from e-learning materials at the level of teachers’ training for vocational education institutes. Looking for the new paths to online learning We have been formulating the question for almost a decade: How can we manage t...he transfer of knowledge and make learning more enjoyable? For the steps forwards, the first impulses for understanding the recontextualization of vocational didactics and re-defining roles and responsibilities of the actors. Our paper deals with seeking a new method for content development and its application in vocational education and training (VET). This study recommends a kind of open framework[1] is provided by the fact that the innovation, which takes open source content development as one of the approaches of reforming teacher training for VET, is connected to a technical university of long-existing traditions. In line with the peculiarities of Hungarian VET, our research group undertook to develop methodological training in terms of complex school subjects. By applying their new concept, their concrete objective was: the methodological renewal of vocational teacher training and practical training by creating and applying complex learning content units online.

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A Mobile Suitcase for Informatic Teachers Related to the “Digital” Didactic Goals of the 21st Century

This study deals with the optimal equipment of a mobile case for computer science teachers, which offers the possibility to teach the skills of the curricula from primary to high school of the 21st century. First, the Single Board Computers (SBCs) in question are filtered out from previous studies and the accessory parts required are determined... through a quantitative market analysis. Then, by combining the results with a qualitative analysis according to Mayring, the degree of curricular coverage of individual accessories is determined and binarized. Afterwards, the optimal equipment of the mobile case is evaluated and established based on the cost overlap by horizontal summation and vertical inclusion of the necessary accessories after recording the prices and the budget. The results were clearly presented in network diagrams and lists. This study thus provides computer science teachers and computer science professors with a budget-dependent basis for making decisions about the contents of a mobile case for computer science lessons or a computer science laboratory for learning the skills of the curricula from primary to high school of the 21st century. The study closes with a summary and an outlook.

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Research papers

Attendance Without Presence: Measuring Cognitive Class Avoidance Among Students

While the term “school absenteeism” refers to a student’s withdrawal from the reach of classroom instruction, we explicitly opt for the term “class avoidance.” Existing studies on this phenomenon have primarily dealt with unauthorized physical absence from class. However, in our contribution, we extend the scope to cognitive absence. ...The behavior of students who are physically present but cognitively disengaged has largely been neglected in educational research thus far. This deficit stands in contrast to the widely accepted importance of cognitive activation in the classroom. The core of our contribution consists in the presentation and the construct validation of a newly developed scale for measuring cognitive class avoidance (inattention in class). We evaluated this measurement instrument in a cross-sectional study with a sample of 171 seventh- to ninth-grade students (M = 14.3 years, SD = .94). Our data confirmed a theoretically founded g-factor model. The results of the analysis point to a limited prevalence of cognitive class avoidance. Such forms of behavior were significantly more frequently reported by boys than by girls, however.

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Metamorphoses Creative-Developmental Fairy Tale Therapy Against the Dangers of the Internet. A Series of Activities for Young Undergraduate Students

This paper is about the practical application of Metamorphoses creative-developmental fairy tale therapy, which is presented based on a three-session Metamorphoses creative-developmental fairy tale therapy session. The sessions were conducted between April and May 2021, among students (n=24) of the University of Debrecen, who were previously no...t familiar with fairy tale therapy, nor with the works of Ildikó Boldizsár. Through the media environment of the session, we also reflected together on the effects of internet consumption and the dangers of the internet. The study highlights the students' attitudes towards this method and their participation and activity in the online space. The experiences gained during the 3 sessions and the feedback of the students appear as a guideline to conclude the study. The practical application of the Metamorphoses creative-developmental fairy tale therapy will show whether this methodology has a role to play in higher education.

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Students in Hungarian Higher Education and Their Perception of Dificulties During Their Studies

Our research aims to examine the recruitment of students who experience difficulties with learning during their higher education studies and the motives behind their career choices, as well as the correlation of these factors with student persistence. The topicality of the problem stems from the diversity of students as a result of the expansio...n of higher education, as well as the increasing proportion of reading comprehension and other learning difficulties that can hinder individuals' progress in the labour market. Previous research has linked problems in learning in higher education to underdeveloped skills. However, we hypothesize that the occurrence of difficulties during students' studies and careers is determined by career choices, which are influenced by social background. While in higher education the social status differences of the family background already seem to disappear, the origin also affects the higher education career. To test the viability of this assumption, statistical methods were used to analyze the CHERD-Hungary database PERSIST -2019. In the case of difficulties and low persistence, we found a relationship with the career choice patterns of the students studied, especially with family factors influencing career choice and students' interest in their current education. One of our most important findings is that students who experience difficulties during learning can be divided into two groups. One group is characterized by low social status indicators, participating in low prestige and high risk fields of education, and there are specific cultural disadvantages in the background of their difficulties. The other group includes students who come from a higher-status family and concentrate on higher-risk but more prestigious courses, characterized by above-average selectivity and a higher risk of dropping out.

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Big Brother Mentoring in the Let's Teach for Hungary Program

The number of mentoring programs within the framework of schools is increasing both internationally and domestically (Raufelder & Ittel, 2012; Fejes et. al., 2009). Besides traditional mentoring, the role of peer mentoring (Miller, 2002) has also come to the fore in recent years. In our study, we focus on cross-age peer mentoring (Miller, 2...002; Sipe, 2005), where older youth mentor younger youth. One example of this in Hungary is the Let's Teach for Hungary (LTHMP) mentoring program, where undergraduate students mentor primary school students. In our research, we studied mentors at the University of Debrecen who had completed at least two semester-long cycles in the program. We were curious about how the COVID-19 pandemic period affected mentoring, so we examined the transition of a mentoring program based on a personal meeting to online mentoring, and its pivotal points, advantages, and disadvantages. As a method, we used qualitative interview analysis, during which we worked with semi-structured interviews, recorded in the spring of 2020 and 2021 – during the global pandemic situation – with a total of 50 mentors. The content analysis of the interview texts was performed based on the codes formulated based on the theory, and the emic codes emerged in the interviews (Creswell, 2012). Our results show that mentors can be grouped into different types based on their attitudes towards online mentoring. Overall, the digital transition has been a big challenge. The biggest problem was the lack of equipment. The issue of age has been also an important factor in terms of the sense of digital comfort. We noticed the phenomenon of Big Brother Mentoring and the importance of chameleon mentors. Our research, which can fill a gap, highlights both the challenges and benefits of online mentoring. In addition, we can also contribute to the effective and successful operation of the Let's Teach for Hungary Mentoring Program.

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Book reviews

Lessons From Lockdown: The Educational Legacy of COVID-19 London and New York by Tony Breslin

Bibliography of the reviewed book: Tony, B. (2021). Lessons from lockdown: The educational legacy of COVID-19. Routledge.

Curriculum Changes in the Visegrad Four: Three Decades After the Fall of Communism by Tomáš Janík, Štefan Porubský, Magdolna Chrappán, Kinga Kuszák

Bibliography of the reviewed book: Janík, T., Porubský, Š., Chrappán, M., & Kuszák, K. (2020). Curriculum changes in the Visegrad Four: three decades after the fall of communism. Waxmann.

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