Online “emergency education” today, tomorrow “quality distance education”

The corona crisis has unexpectedly posed an enormous challenge to our education system and many teachers have suddenly become students in the subject of “emergency teaching” overnight. But…

Online “emergency education” is not the same as “full-fledged, high-quality distance learning”. There is indeed a difference.

A good teacher is stress-resistant, problem-solving, communicative, creative and flexible. A good online teacher combines all these qualities with technical and digital skills, remotely maintains an overview of their students progress and can intervene appropriately and remotely. European research shows that scarcely 25% of the teaching staff feel digitally competent, and few will dare to call themselves all-round masters. That’s why it is important that all online teachers receive professional training, feedback, and a help desk for problems.

Since the Corona crisis, D-Teach has given 41 free online webinars to nearly 4,000 teachers.

D-Teach is currently the only 100% online school in Belgium and has been providing successful and high-quality online education to expat children abroad for years. D-Teach is a strong and motivated 40-strong team of pedagogues, speech therapists and recognized teachers in Belgium and abroad at the level of nursery, primary, secondary and adult education. They are currently active in 42 different countries. D-Teach stands for “Distance Teaching” and was founded 8 years ago as a start-up, originating from the student entrepreneurship of educationalists at Ghent University. It derives its inspiration from many good practices and online schools abroad, where the need for e-learning, due to the far distances, was a necessity.

With us in Belgium, it is not yet possible to be recognized as an online school. However, the corona crisis has immediately increased awareness regarding the usefulness of and the need for distance learning. This crisis therefore offers unprecedented opportunities for innovation in our education. However, this has to be done in a pedagogically responsible manner.

Distance learning should not be limited to a simple “copy-paste” story. Qualitative distance learning has a clear pedagogical vision concerning online didactics, is well thought out and planned in advance, interactive, efficient and structured. It requires the conversion of offline lesson content into a full online story, with a good balance of what is offered synchronously and asynchronously.

We urgently need “sustainable emergency education” that is based on the pillars of high-quality distance education – a “distance education emergency plan”, in order to be able to respond more quickly when a new crisis situation arises.

High-quality distance learning offers so many possibilities and added value that it deserves its place as a fully-fledged and complementary mode alongside contact education.

D-Teach, with its enthusiastic, multidisciplinary team and years of experience, is ready to take up this challenge:

PhD researcher Maaike Grammens (Baekeland mandate D-Teach / UGent)
Joke Hollants, digital coordinator (D-Teach),
Marlies Van Assche, pedagogical coordinator (D-Teach),
Lieselot Declercq, founder and general coordinator (D-Teach).


Want to know more about us?

Facebook group “Distance Teaching Tips”


Thanks to Prof. dr. Dr Bram De Wever (Tecolab, Department of Educational Studies, Ghent University) for his feedback and joint research on distance learning.


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