Digital Proximities Oral History Interviews: Covid19 and the Transformation of Pedagogical Practices
The year 2020 will be remembered as the year of the Coronavirus pandemic. Having been first detected in China in 2019, it then spread all over the world. Not unlike China, European countries soon started coping with alarming rates of transmission and deaths. While the potential lethality of the virus affected anyone contracting it, the virus seemed to be particularly dangerous for older people. Some countries like Italy and Spain, with an aging population, saw their numbers skyrocketing. As a consequence, the economy and daily life of the nations affected came to an unprecedented standstill. In the meantime, the virus continued spreading gradually to other nations in all continents: The pandemic became a global phenomenon of an enormous magnitude.
In the US, the initial cases were recorded in the early weeks and months of the new year of 2020 with cases announced in Oregon, California, and then the East Coast, particularly in New York. At first, it was seen as containable and relatively foreign, but as the numbers started growing exponentially, particularly in New York City and other densely populated areas of the nation, different aspects of people’s every life were drastically challenged. By mid-March, most of the communities across the nation were already considering or issuing stay-in-place orders to contain its spread.
This Digital Proximities collection resulted from early conversations among educators regarding the gravity and immense historical importance of the event. It was recorded mostly during the onset of COVID 19, utilizing the very same digital communication tools that enable schools and university to stay somewhat active during the early days of closures. It includes the experiences and perspectives of educators from the US, Latin America, Australia, Africa, and Europe as they coped with the immediacy of the dramatic events while enduring the consequences of institutional closures to their practice as educators, administrators, researchers, or students.
Digital Proximities captures the state of mind, vision, and sentiments of people deeply involved in education and show how human beings, regardless of their origin and location, are immensely resourceful and capable of seeing opportunity in moments of crisis. The interviews will enable viewers and listeners alike, to have a sense of the immensity of the challenge and the creativity with which individuals and institutions started to cope with the historical impact of the pandemic.