Distance Learning will force you to learn one vital skill

In the Fall of the year 2020, students will learn how to troubleshoot on a computer. This is a skill that they'll use for the rest of their lives. Because of the way one must learn how to work with a computer, and fix issues with a computer, they'll become familiar with the way our modern, connected, technology-infused world must be handled if they want to be successful. Students are going to need to learn how to turn it off and turn it back on again.

This new school season, classrooms around the world will be attempting to blast into the future with video chat and internet-connected communication. They'll use Google Classroom, they'll use Seesaw, they'll use Zoom. They'll attempt to make what was normal in the past transition to what'll be the new normal tomorrow.

But there'll be issues. No issues so big as a schoolhouse full of COVID-19 positive students, but still, there'll be issues.

Teachers and professors will need to get used to troubleshooting and working with the tools they've been given, and quick. They'll have to balance traditional teaching with handling tech issues aplenty.

They'll have to learn to lecture students while checking to make sure their internet remains speedy enough that everyone can see and hear. They'll need to deal with students getting very angry when their login information doesn't work.

Students will need to deal with teachers who get irritated when they cannot handle the idea that sometimes servers fail. Sometimes a system that worked just fine for days, or weeks, one day just fails. That happens a lot more often in this new Distance Learning setting than it ever did in a physical classroom.

Students will need to deal with the possibility that they'll be unable to connect to their digital classroom from time to time. Where students of the past needed to make sure they were in class and mentally aware enough to take notes, now they'll need to make sure they've got their laptop computer charged up, or plugged in, and connected to the classroom properly.

In the very near future, the phrase "I'm not good with computers" is going to sound like "my dog ate my homework." That goes for teachers and professors just as much as it goes for students.

This year is the start of a new era in schooling, for students as well as teachers. It's the beginning of something very, very different, and virtually unrecognizable to the education system we've worked with in the past.

Distance Learning here at the tail end of 2020 isn't ideal – it's not what the average student or professor WANTS to be doing instead of attending a physical classroom. But through this, students and teachers will grow stronger and better prepared for what's to come.

To handle this new world, students will need to be both patient and prepared to troubleshoot. Students that can handle this new environment and this major learning curve will have some of the most essential, yet BASIC prerequisites to success in the coming decades.