As a scientist and an ardent researcher, I can’t help but see that we are part of the world’s biggest edtech experiment ever conducted… It will redefine what schooling looks like going forward, what education involves and what learning entails. The coronavirus pandemic is leading teachers, students, parents and the community at large to engage in critical thinking, be creative, communicate and utilise collaboration.


“We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.” – David Warlick

I can recall where I was when I realised that education as we knew it was going to change forever. I was in my office listening to my colleagues and exchanging banter with them. Occasionally, the guests who came to discuss their ideas joined us or briefly interrupted our talk. Then I felt the ceaseless vibration on my wrist that indicated an incoming call on my phone and I looked at my phone’s screen.

It was my son’s school principal. Just a week earlier, their school had dismissed them midweek due to the growing unease surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic. I stepped out of the room and his principal greeted me. Then he told me that they were going to launch teaching the students online using a particular platform. I was speechless for a couple of minutes because I could hardly believe what I was hearing. For over four years, I had been trying to train the teachers at their school for free around 21st century skills and infusing technology into teaching. Yet, due to a situation beyond anyone’s control, necessity gave birth to innovation.

The school then sent out a bulk SMS message stating that school would resume at 7:30 am that Wednesday (I had received the phone call from the Principal on the Tuesday before). It was a good move by the principal, reaching out to assuage parents, especially ones who were heavily engaged with the school. The school went online less than 24 hours later and it was a learning curve for everyone – the students, teachers and their parents.

A week after, the school is still online, ahead of the lockdown order that was issued by the president on Sunday March 29. Students share ideas through audio and video calls on the online teaching platform that they use. They read notes posted, share ideas and confer with their teachers when necessary.

Yet, with all of these positives, this crisis has highlighted the digital divide that exists between people who have access to the internet and those who don’t either due to their inability to get devices, data or their lack of digital literacy skills.


As a scientist and an ardent researcher, I can’t help but see that we are part of the world’s biggest edtech experiment ever conducted. Over 1 billion students across the work are out of school, while millions of students are already going to school online. It will redefine what schooling looks like going forward, what education involves and what learning entails. The coronavirus pandemic is leading teachers, students, parents and the community at large to engage in critical thinking, be creative, communicate and utilise collaboration.

This is the moment that we have been waiting for in the education reform movement. Students taking ownership of their learning, sifting through the schooling material – finding out what they like, deciphering how they learn and what help they need from their teachers and parents. Their learning becomes more personalised and now that this transformation has begun, there is no turning back to how things used to be.

Yet, with all of these positives, this crisis has highlighted the digital divide that exists between people who have access to the internet and those who don’t either due to their inability to get devices, data or their lack of digital literacy skills.

I realise that online schooling is transformational for both teachers and their students; however our hope is that education doesn’t revert to business as usual afterwards, even though the world as our students know it has been forever changed by this pandemic. There will be rising unemployment and a global recession; situations that would require dramatic changes in education and their future.

Adetola Salau, Carismalife4U@gmail.com, an advocate of STEM education, public speaker, author, and social entrepreneur, is passionate about education reform.