No doubt, the world under COVID-19 has turned topsy-turvy; so much of our routine can never again be taken for granted. Inviting friends and family to simchas, going to work and school every day—we can no longer be assured of having those basics in place.
On the other hand, we’ve learned some positive things as a result of the adjustments we’ve had to make in light of COVID-19. For example, we’ve seen children who suffered under the structure and heavy expectations at school suddenly thrive in a more forgiving home environment. Furthermore, many workers forced to set up an office at home really appreciated a break from their grueling commute and were surprised to find that their work productivity didn’t actually suffer. Studies have shown that the new and innovative working and schooling models that we were forced to adopt during Covid-19 could actually bring on a positive new era for the “day after.”
A sterling example of this is My Digital Office (the basis of ZoomTorah’s My Digital Bais Medrash platform).
A university in Japan did a study on 41 students who worked at a virtual laboratory based on the My Digital Office platform. The study aimed to find out how communication in the virtual laboratory impacted students’ motivation for doing research.
Based on an extensive questionnaire that the students filled out, researchers concluded that interaction within the virtual laboratory was extremely effective. The study showed that the students felt that someone was close to them, even though the platform they were using was two rather than three dimensional. This illusion led to active interaction among the students. In addition, the study demonstrated that the interaction among students generated a feeling of unity to the organization and increased student motivation to engage in research.
The scientific community agrees: virtual platforms like My Digital Office result in more engaged learning. While we hope for a time when all COVID-19 restrictions will be a memory of the past, we can take our lessons learned and keep the changes that worked.
My Digital Bais Medrash can be leveraged as an educational tool even after COVID-19.