RD Heritage Co-Founder Dr. Robert Davis Explores How COVID-19 is Transforming Teaching and Learning
What will the “new normal” look like for education in the aftermath of COVID-19? According to Dr. Robert Davis, whose firm RD Heritage is a partnership of five family offices and their portfolio of diverse investments, there are three key narratives that will influence and shape the teaching and learning landscape for years, if not decades, to come:
1. Widespread Adoption of EdTech
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, EdTech (educational technology) was increasingly finding its way into school systems and classrooms. For example, worldwide EdTech investments reached $18.66 billion in 2019. However, the lockdown and subsequent need to connect teachers and students has greatly accelerated the implementation and adoption of both synchronous and asynchronous technologies, such as digital readers and tablets, virtual classrooms, computer-based training (CBT), and learning management systems (LMS) that enable parents to communicate with teachers and monitor their child’s development and progress.
“While the potential of EdTech is remarkable, it is essential to make sure that all stakeholders — schools, governments, parents, students, and vendors — work together in a collaborative partnership,” commented Dr. Robert Davis, who in addition to leading RD Heritage has also launched the Robert Davis Scholarship Award, which provides financial support to students who have demonstrated a desire to make the world a better place through small actions and self-improvement. “We cannot afford to lose sight of the fact that technology is a means and not an end. The focus must be on enabling teachers and supporting students in a manner that is compliant, responsible and financially sustainable.”
2. Greater Support for Teachers
In the U.S., the pay gap between teachers and other individuals in the workforce with comparable education has reached a staggering 18.7 percent — the largest on record, and 17.9 percent higher than in 1994. And in many parts of the developing world, the gulf is even wider and forcing otherwise qualified and talented young professionals to choose non-teaching career paths. The bad news is that not even an event as enormous and consequential as the conavirus pandemic can eliminate this gap. But the good news is that for many parents, the public health crisis has brought to light just how much work teachers do both in and out of the classroom — which could ultimately pave the way in the coming years for teacher salary increases, as well as more opportunities for teacher professional development.
“Millions of parents in the U.S. and around the world have discovered just how difficult and time-consuming it is to educate their children at home,” commented Dr. Robert Davis, who prior to launching RD Heritage spent 10 years as an ER, Ambulatory Care Physician, and locum tenens physician in rural communities across the country. “This awareness will hopefully lead to discussions and decisions that ensure teachers are compensated fairly and have opportunities to upgrade their skills; especially with regards to EdTech.”
3. More Personalized Learning
Perhaps the biggest impact that COVID-19 will have on the teaching and learning landscape is the shift away from standardized one-size-fits-all curriculum and assessments, in favor of more personalized learning that caters to each specific student. For example, teachers can use AI and rich real-time data to identify students who need enhanced support in key areas such as math, comprehension or communication, along with emotional and social development.
“Often, students struggle in the classroom because they are having challenges at home or elsewhere outside of the school environment,” commented Dr. Robert Davis. “Technology tools can help teachers identify students who need extra support, which can have a tremendously positive impact on the rest of their lives.”