Thank you, COVID-19 pandemic! No, really – I want to express my sincere gratitude to this nasty virus that smashed the habitual way of life of virtually the entire population of Earth, whatever the habitual way of life there was. And the main reason for such an attitude is how people reacted to this challenge by using existing and inventing new technologies to keep things going. And I would venture to say that, perhaps, the most successful response was given in the education field. Why? Because the emerged tools and solutions will be used to help millions of students study long after the last lockdown is over and every coronavirus strain is beaten. So, here are some of my top online study tools that bloomed during the pandemic and now are definitely here for long.
Video Conference Solutions as Educational Technology Tools
In the good old days, teachers prohibited students from using gadgets during classes. Nowadays, classes are impossible to imagine without students and teachers themselves using all kinds of gadgets. To a great extent, it is so because of studying distantly, which is impossible without video conference solutions for small and large groups. The most prominent example here is Zoom – arguably, the best cloud-based video communication platform out there. The app had its rough times because of security issues, but nowadays, it’s hard to think of having a remote class or lecture for up to several hundred participants via an app other than Zoom.
Yet, Zoom’s outstanding functionality lets it go far and beyond being just an app for online lessons and lectures. Cross-platform support, meeting recording, file sharing, screen sharing, built-in chat, breakout rooms, interactive elements, broad customization opportunities, and other features let Zoom quickly expand to a corporate field. If the app’s creators don’t do anything stupid and nothing crucially bad happens with the app’s security, Zoom will be an essential part of the online learning and video conference landscape for years.
Digital Learning Tools and Courseware from the Best Universities
Generally, online open courseware has been around in education for quite some time now. However, until the pandemic broke out, it was considered something supplementary, second to “real” in-person education in brick-and-mortar universities. After COVID has basically locked everybody down in their apartments and houses, many students re-discovered online learning opportunities and are now enjoying their benefits.
In case you still have a pretty rough idea of what online courseware is, I suggest you visit the Open Education Consortium website right now. There, you can browse schools and universities and advance to their websites to see what free courseware they offer. OEC includes several hundred member institutions from 37 countries. For instance, the US is represented by MIT, University of Michigan, UC Irvine, Johns Hopkins, and over a hundred other schools.
Yet, OEC is not the only place to look for high-quality open courseware. Practically all well-established universities in the US and worldwide have their free ed projects – Harvard, Yale, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UTokyo, Middle East Technical University, Delft University of Technology, University of Hong Kong, yadda, yadda, yadda. It’s obvious that as university education prices keep going up while students realize they can successfully study remotely, open courseware will only be gaining popularity.
Online Paper and Essay Samples Databases
Another free resource that students started using way more actively during the lockdown is college essay examples. Perhaps, that happens because previously students have been getting enough guidance and examples during in-person lessons, but with distance learning, this aspect remains unaddressed by teachers. Not only do high-quality samples demonstrate how this or that type of paper should be written, structured, and formatted, but they also showcase writing practices and subject-specific techniques professional writers use.
In that context, there’s nothing surprising about the increased popularity of WowEssays – arguably, the largest free essay database out there. It includes around 100.000 sample papers of all possible types on hundreds of topics. The service claims that almost every piece has been crafted by a skilled essay writer with relevant expertise. The main idea of the service is to help high school, college, and university students find decent examples to use as models to follow, as well as serve as a source of overall inspiration and fresh topic ideas. Surely, once used successfully, such platforms will remain trendy thereafter.
Online Writing Tools and Services for Students Who Cannot Even
It’s great when coping with all the assignments, projects, and homework is not a problem for you. Yet, many of us have been in a situation where we cannot even, no matter how hard we try. Critical deficit of time, health issues, lack of writing skills or command of English, a wild pool party your friend is throwing – these and other factors may get in the way of completing any task at any moment. At this point, it’s already a little late for a Composing Essay 101 course or even an expertly-crafted example piece to follow. Perhaps, the only efficient way left is to address a custom writing website. Like many other things on my list, the on-demand academic writing industry existed before the COVID pandemic hit the world. However, the lockdown has really taken it to the next level – ordering original papers by field experts became a routine for many people.
One of the students’ favorites is the PaperHelp company. This paper writing service can deliver anything from a simple, 5-paragraph essay or plain research paper to a full-fledged bachelor thesis or Ph.D. dissertation chapter. And don’t forget about presentations, speeches, calculations, STEM assignments, and other tasks – there are competent people who can do any of that among several hundred experts on PaperHelp staff. Regrettably, paying somebody money to write a creative piece or solve a math problem for you is a bit shady in terms of ethics and legality. You see, all such services disclaim that you’re not supposed to submit the received papers as your own, at least not unchanged. On the other hand, they do guarantee customer confidentiality and paper originality, so there’s no way someone can find out your little secret…
Screw the Lockdown with an Educational Platform to Your Liking!
The list I’ve presented above is by no way exhaustive. Despite all the suffering the pandemic caused, one of its side effects was – and actually is – the explosive growth of useful online tools in virtually every sphere of human life. IMHO, education is, perhaps, the most important one as it lays the foundations for years and generations to come. And there’s not a single reason not to use the opportunities this monumental shift opens. From some of the best online learning platforms for kids (Adventure Academy, ReadingIQ, Mathseeds, CodaKid, etc.) to comprehensive educational resources for adults (Coursera, Skillshare, EdX, MasterClass, etc.), and of course, using the tools I’ve described – you can screw the lockdown, effectively learn now, and use them to expand and deepen your knowledge in future, as the vast majority of these resources are here for long!