10 technology trends to watch in the COVID-19 pandemic

People wearing face masks watch delivery robots from the Colombian company Rappi traveling down a street, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Medellin, Colombia April 17, 2020. REUTERS/David Estrada - RC2L6G94JJE5

The coronavirus demonstrates the importance of and the challenges associated with tech like digital payments, telehealth and robotics. Image:  REUTERS/David Estrada

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the use of technology in today's pandemic essay brainly

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Stay up to date:.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated 10 key technology trends, including digital payments, telehealth and robotics.
  • These technologies can help reduce the spread of the coronavirus while helping businesses stay open.
  • Technology can help make society more resilient in the face of pandemic and other threats.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, technologies are playing a crucial role in keeping our society functional in a time of lockdowns and quarantines. And these technologies may have a long-lasting impact beyond COVID-19.

Have you read?

Apple and google are working together on technology for coronavirus contact tracing, coronavirus: graduates replaced with robots in japan.

Here are 10 technology trends that can help build a resilient society, as well as considerations about their effects on how we do business, how we trade, how we work, how we produce goods, how we learn, how we seek medical services and how we entertain ourselves.

1. Online Shopping and Robot Deliveries

In late 2002, the SARS outbreak led to a tremendous growth of both business-to-business and business-to-consumer online marketplace platforms in China .

Similarly, COVID-19 has transformed online shopping from a nice-to-have to a must-have around the world. Some bars in Beijing have even continued to offer happy hours through online orders and delivery.

Online shopping needs to be supported by a robust logistics system. In-person delivery is not virus-proof. Many delivery companies and restaurants in the US and China are launching contactless delivery services where goods are picked up and dropped off at a designated location instead of from or into the hands of a person. Chinese e-commerce giants are also ramping up their development of robot deliveries . However, before robot delivery services become prevalent, delivery companies need to establish clear protocols to safeguard the sanitary condition of delivered goods.

Rappi delivery woman wearing a face mask walks in front of a delivery robot from the Colombian company Rappi amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Medellin, Colombia April 17, 2020. REUTERS/David Estrada - RC2L6G975RNZ

2. Digital and Contactless Payments

Cash might carry the virus, so central banks in China, US and South Korea have implemented various measures to ensure banknotes are clean before they go into circulation. Now, contactless digital payments, either in the form of cards or e-wallets, are the recommended payment method to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Digital payments enable people to make online purchases and payments of goods, services and even utility payments, as well as to receive stimulus funds faster.

A sign asking customers to only use contactless payment methods is seen in a pub in Liverpool, Britain March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Phil Noble - RC2QLF92NYGX

However, according to the World Bank, there are more than 1.7 billion unbanked people, who may not have easy access to digital payments. The availability of digital payments also relies on internet availability, devices and a network to convert cash into a digitalized format.

3. Remote Work

Many companies have asked employees to work from home . Remote work is enabled by technologies including virtual private networks (VPNs), voice over internet protocols (VoIPs), virtual meetings, cloud technology, work collaboration tools and even facial recognition technologies that enable a person to appear before a virtual background to preserve the privacy of the home. In addition to preventing the spread of viruses, remote work also saves commute time and provides more flexibility.

Veda Hrudya Nadendla, a marketing and branding specialist, works from her home after her office was closed due to a 21-day nationwide lockdown to slow the spreading of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Delhi, India, April 9, 2020. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi - RC221G9EFVYY

Yet remote work also imposes challenges to employers and employees. Information security, privacy and timely tech support can be big issues, as revealed by recent class actions filed against Zoom . Remote work can also complicate labour law issues, such as those associated with providing a safe work environment and income tax issues. Employees may experience loneliness and lack of work-life balance . If remote work becomes more common after the COVID-19 pandemic, employers may decide to reduce lease costs and hire people from regions with cheaper labour costs .

Laws and regulations must be updated to accommodate remote work – and further psychological studies need to be conducted to understand the effect of remote work on people.

What's your biggest struggle with working remotely?

Further, not all jobs can be done from home, which creates disparity. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 25% of wage and salary workers worked from home at least occasionally from 2017 to 2018. Workers with college educations are at least five times more likely to have jobs that allow them to work from home compared with people with high school diplomas. Some professions , such as medical services and manufacturing, may not have the option at all. Policies with respect to data flows and taxation would need to be adjusted should the volume of cross-border digital services rise significantly.

4. Distance Learning

As of mid-April, 191 countries announced or implemented school or university closures, impacting 1.57 billion students. Many educational institutions started offering courses online to ensure education was not disrupted by quarantine measures. Technologies involved in distant learning are similar to those for remote work and also include virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D printing and artificial-intelligence-enabled robot teachers .

Joy Malone's daughter speaks to her kindergarten classmates on a Zoom call for the first time since schools were closed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in New Rochelle, New York, U.S., April 15, 2020. Picture taken April 15, 2020.  REUTERS/Joy Malone - RC217G95J4A0

Concerns about distance learning include the possibility the technologies could create a wider divide in terms of digital readiness and income level. Distance learning could also create economic pressure on parents – more often women – who need to stay home to watch their children and may face decreased productivity at work.

5. Telehealth

Telehealth can be an effective way to contain the spread of COVID-19 while still providing essential primary care. Wearable personal IoT devices can track vital signs. Chatbots can make initial diagnoses based on symptoms identified by patients.

Telehealth Utilization COVID-19

However, in countries where medical costs are high, it's important to ensure telehealth will be covered by insurance . Telehealth also requires a certain level of tech literacy to operate, as well as a good internet connection. And as medical services are one of the most heavily regulated businesses, doctors typically can only provide medical care to patients who live in the same jurisdiction. Regulations , at the time they were written, may not have envisioned a world where telehealth would be available.

6. Online Entertainment

Although quarantine measures have reduced in-person interactions significantly, human creativity has brought the party online. Cloud raves and online streaming of concerts have gain traction around the world. Chinese film production companies also released films online . Museums and international heritage sites offer virtual tours. There has also been a surge of online gaming traffic since the outbreak.

Dance instructor Anneliese Suda teaches a pre-teen junior company ballet class through Zoom at Sierra Madre Dance Center, which is closed during the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Sierra Madre, California, U.S., April 1, 2020. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni - RC22WF91F4JW

7. Supply Chain 4.0

The COVID-19 pandemic has created disruptions to the global supply chain. With distancing and quarantine orders, some factories are completely shut down. While demand for food and personal protective equipment soar, some countries have implemented different levels of export bans on those items. Heavy reliance on paper-based records , a lack of visibility on data and lack of diversity and flexibility have made existing supply chain system vulnerable to any pandemic.

Core technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as Big Data, cloud computing, Internet-of-Things (“IoT”) and blockchain are building a more resilient supply chain management system for the future by enhancing the accuracy of data and encouraging data sharing.

The World Economic Forum was the first to draw the world’s attention to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the current period of unprecedented change driven by rapid technological advances. Policies, norms and regulations have not been able to keep up with the pace of innovation, creating a growing need to fill this gap.

The Forum established the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network in 2017 to ensure that new and emerging technologies will help—not harm—humanity in the future. Headquartered in San Francisco, the network launched centres in China, India and Japan in 2018 and is rapidly establishing locally-run Affiliate Centres in many countries around the world.

The global network is working closely with partners from government, business, academia and civil society to co-design and pilot agile frameworks for governing new and emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) , autonomous vehicles , blockchain , data policy , digital trade , drones , internet of things (IoT) , precision medicine and environmental innovations .

Learn more about the groundbreaking work that the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network is doing to prepare us for the future.

Want to help us shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Contact us to find out how you can become a member or partner.

8. 3D Printing

3D printing technology has been deployed to mitigate shocks to the supply chain and export bans on personal protective equipment. 3D printing offers flexibility in production: the same printer can produce different products based on different design files and materials, and simple parts can be made onsite quickly without requiring a lengthy procurement process and a long wait for the shipment to arrive.

A view shows snorkel masks to be converted into respirators, using 3D printing technology, to reinforce hospitals and help patients suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Algiers, Algeria April 15, 2020. Picture taken April 15, 2020. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina - RC2O7G9PY6IG

However, massive production using 3D printing faces a few obstacles. First, there may be intellectual property issues involved in producing parts that are protected by patent. Second, production of certain goods, such as surgical masks, is subject to regulatory approvals , which can take a long time to obtain. Other unsolved issues include how design files should be protected under patent regimes, the place of origin and impact on trade volumes and product liability associated with 3D printed products.

9. Robotics and Drones

COVID-19 makes the world realize how heavily we rely on human interactions to make things work. Labor intensive businesses, such as retail, food, manufacturing and logistics are the worst hit.

COVID-19 provided a strong push to rollout the usage of robots and research on robotics. In recent weeks, robots have been used to disinfect areas and to deliver food to those in quarantine. Drones have walked dogs and delivered items .

A robot helping medical teams treat patients suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is pictured at a patient's room, in the Circolo hospital, in Varese, Italy April 1, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo - RC2OVF92BNGT

While there are some report s that predict many manufacturing jobs will be replaced by robots in the future, at the same time, new jobs will be created in the process. Policies must be in place to provide sufficient training and social welfare to the labour force to embrace the change.

10. 5G and Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

All the aforementioned technology trends rely on a stable, high-speed and affordable internet. While 5G has demonstrated its importance in remote monitoring and healthcare consultation, the rollout of 5G is delayed in Europe at the time when the technology may be needed the most. The adoption of 5G will increase the cost of compatible devices and the cost of data plans . Addressing these issues to ensure inclusive access to internet will continue to be a challenge as the 5G network expands globally.

Pedestrians walk past an advertisement promoting the 5G data network at a mobile phone store in London, Britain, January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville - RC26PE9MIDQS

The importance of digital readiness

COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of digital readiness, which allows business and life to continue as usual – as much as possible – during pandemics. Building the necessary infrastructure to support a digitized world and stay current in the latest technology will be essential for any business or country to remain competitive in a post-COVID-19 world, as well as take a human-centred and inclusive approach to technology governance .

As the BBC points out, an estimated 200 million people will lose their jobs due to COVID-19. And the financial burden often falls on the most vulnerable in society. Digitization and pandemics have accelerated changes to jobs available to humans. How to mitigate the impact on the larger workforce and the most vulnerable is the issue across all industries and countries that deserves not only attention but also a timely and human-centred solution.

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Regions & Countries

The internet and the pandemic, 90% of americans say the internet has been essential or important to them, many made video calls and 40% used technology in new ways. but while tech was a lifeline for some, others faced struggles.

the use of technology in today's pandemic essay brainly

Pew Research Center has a long history of studying technology adoption trends and the impact of digital technology on society. This report focuses on American adults’ experiences with and attitudes about their internet and technology use during the COVID-19 outbreak. For this analysis, we surveyed 4,623 U.S. adults from April 12-18, 2021. Everyone who took part is a member of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the  ATP’s methodology .

Chapter 1 of this report includes responses to an open-ended question and the overall report includes a number of quotations to help illustrate themes and add nuance to the survey findings. Quotations may have been lightly edited for grammar, spelling and clarity. The first three themes mentioned in each open-ended response, according to a researcher-developed codebook, were coded into categories for analysis. 

Here are the questions used for this report , along with responses, and its methodology .

Technology has been a lifeline for some during the coronavirus outbreak but some have struggled, too

The  coronavirus  has transformed many aspects of Americans’ lives. It  shut down  schools, businesses and workplaces and forced millions to  stay at home  for extended lengths of time. Public health authorities recommended  limits on social contact  to try to contain the spread of the virus, and these profoundly altered the way many worked, learned, connected with loved ones, carried out basic daily tasks, celebrated and mourned. For some, technology played a role in this transformation.  

Results from a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted April 12-18, 2021, reveal the extent to which people’s use of the internet has changed, their views about how helpful technology has been for them and the struggles some have faced. 

The vast majority of adults (90%) say the internet has been at least important to them personally during the pandemic, the survey finds. The share who say it has been  essential  – 58% – is up slightly from 53% in April 2020. There have also been upticks in the shares who say the internet has been essential in the past year among those with a bachelor’s degree or more formal education, adults under 30, and those 65 and older. 

A large majority of Americans (81%) also say they talked with others via video calls at some point since the pandemic’s onset. And for 40% of Americans, digital tools have taken on new relevance: They report they used technology or the internet in ways that were new or different to them. Some also sought upgrades to their service as the pandemic unfolded: 29% of broadband users did something to improve the speed, reliability or quality of their high-speed internet connection at home since the beginning of the outbreak.

Still, tech use has not been an unmitigated boon for everyone. “ Zoom fatigue ” was widely speculated to be a problem in the pandemic, and some Americans report related experiences in the new survey: 40% of those who have ever talked with others via video calls since the beginning of the pandemic say they have felt worn out or fatigued often or sometimes by the time they spend on them. Moreover,  changes in screen time  occurred for  Americans generally  and for  parents of young children . The survey finds that a third of all adults say they tried to cut back on time spent on their smartphone or the internet at some point during the pandemic. In addition, 72% of parents of children in grades K-12 say their kids are spending more time on screens compared with before the outbreak. 1

For many, digital interactions could only do so much as a stand-in for in-person communication. About two-thirds of Americans (68%) say the interactions they would have had in person, but instead had online or over the phone, have generally been useful – but not a replacement for in-person contact. Another 15% say these tools haven’t been of much use in their interactions. Still, 17% report that these digital interactions have been just as good as in-person contact.

About two-thirds say digital interactions have been useful, but not a replacement for in-person contact

Some types of technology have been more helpful than others for Americans. For example, 44% say text messages or group messaging apps have helped them a lot to stay connected with family and friends, 38% say the same about voice calls and 30% say this about video calls. Smaller shares say social media sites (20%) and email (19%) have helped them in this way.

The survey offers a snapshot of Americans’ lives just over one year into the pandemic as they reflected back on what had happened. It is important to note the findings were gathered in April 2021, just before  all U.S. adults became eligible for coronavirus vaccine s. At the time, some states were  beginning to loosen restrictions  on businesses and social encounters. This survey also was fielded before the delta variant  became prominent  in the United States,  raising concerns  about new and  evolving variants . 

Here are some of the key takeaways from the survey.

Americans’ tech experiences in the pandemic are linked to digital divides, tech readiness 

Some Americans’ experiences with technology haven’t been smooth or easy during the pandemic. The digital divides related to  internet use  and  affordability  were highlighted by the pandemic and also emerged in new ways as life moved online.

Beyond that, affordability  remained a persistent concern  for a portion of digital tech users as the pandemic continued – about a quarter of home broadband users (26%) and smartphone owners (24%) said in the April 2021 survey that they worried a lot or some about paying their internet and cellphone bills over the next few months. 

From parents of children facing the “ homework gap ” to Americans struggling to  afford home internet , those with lower incomes have been particularly likely to struggle. At the same time, some of those with higher incomes have been affected as well.

60% of broadband users with lower incomes often or sometimes have connection problems, and 46% are worried at least some about paying for broadband

Affordability and connection problems have hit broadband users with lower incomes especially hard. Nearly half of broadband users with lower incomes, and about a quarter of those with midrange incomes, say that as of April they were at least somewhat worried about paying their internet bill over the next few months. 3 And home broadband users with lower incomes are roughly 20 points more likely to say they often or sometimes experience problems with their connection than those with relatively high incomes. Still, 55% of those with lower incomes say the internet has been essential to them personally in the pandemic.

At the same time, Americans’ levels of formal education are associated with their experiences turning to tech during the pandemic. 

Adults with a bachelor’s, advanced degree more likely than others to make daily video calls, use tech in new ways, consider internet essential amid COVID-19

Those with a bachelor’s or advanced degree are about twice as likely as those with a high school diploma or less formal education to have used tech in new or different ways during the pandemic. There is also roughly a 20 percentage point gap between these two groups in the shares who have made video calls about once a day or more often and who say these calls have helped at least a little to stay connected with family and friends. And 71% of those with a bachelor’s degree or more education say the internet has been essential, compared with 45% of those with a high school diploma or less.

More broadly, not all Americans believe they have key tech skills. In this survey, about a quarter of adults (26%) say they usually need someone else’s help to set up or show them how to use a new computer, smartphone or other electronic device. And one-in-ten report they have little to no confidence in their ability to use these types of devices to do the things they need to do online. This report refers to those who say they experience either or both of these issues as having “lower tech readiness.” Some 30% of adults fall in this category. (A full description of how this group was identified can be found in  Chapter 3. )

‘Tech readiness,’ which is tied to people’s confident and independent use of devices, varies by age

These struggles are particularly acute for older adults, some of whom have had to  learn new tech skills  over the course of the pandemic. Roughly two-thirds of adults 75 and older fall into the group having lower tech readiness – that is, they either have little or no confidence in their ability to use their devices, or generally need help setting up and learning how to use new devices. Some 54% of Americans ages 65 to 74 are also in this group. 

Americans with lower tech readiness have had different experiences with technology during the pandemic. While 82% of the Americans with lower tech readiness say the internet has been at least important to them personally during the pandemic, they are less likely than those with higher tech readiness to say the internet has been essential (39% vs. 66%). Some 21% of those with lower tech readiness say digital interactions haven’t been of much use in standing in for in-person contact, compared with 12% of those with higher tech readiness. 

46% of parents with lower incomes whose children faced school closures say their children had at least one problem related to the ‘homework gap’

As school moved online for many families, parents and their children experienced profound changes. Fully 93% of parents with K-12 children at home say these children had some online instruction during the pandemic. Among these parents, 62% report that online learning has gone very or somewhat well, and 70% say it has been very or somewhat easy for them to help their children use technology for online instruction.

Still, 30% of the parents whose children have had online instruction during the pandemic say it has been very or somewhat difficult for them to help their children use technology or the internet for this. 

Remote learning has been widespread during the pandemic, but children from lower-income households have been particularly likely to face ‘homework gap’

The survey also shows that children from households with lower incomes who faced school closures in the pandemic have been especially likely to encounter tech-related obstacles in completing their schoolwork – a phenomenon contributing to the “ homework gap .”

Overall, about a third (34%) of all parents whose children’s schools closed at some point say their children have encountered at least one of the tech-related issues we asked about amid COVID-19: having to do schoolwork on a cellphone, being unable to complete schoolwork because of lack of computer access at home, or having to use public Wi-Fi to finish schoolwork because there was no reliable connection at home. 

This share is higher among parents with lower incomes whose children’s schools closed. Nearly half (46%) say their children have faced at least one of these issues. Some with higher incomes were affected as well – about three-in-ten (31%) of these parents with midrange incomes say their children faced one or more of these issues, as do about one-in-five of these parents with higher household incomes.

More parents say their screen time rules have become less strict under pandemic than say they’ve become more strict

Prior Center work has documented this “ homework gap ” in other contexts – both  before the coronavirus outbreak  and  near the beginning of the pandemic . In April 2020, for example, parents with lower incomes were particularly likely to think their children would face these struggles amid the outbreak.

Besides issues related to remote schooling, other changes were afoot in families as the pandemic forced many families to shelter in place. For instance, parents’ estimates of their children’s screen time – and family rules around this – changed in some homes. About seven-in-ten parents with children in kindergarten through 12th grade (72%) say their children were spending more time on screens as of the April survey compared with before the outbreak. Some 39% of parents with school-age children say they have become less strict about screen time rules during the outbreak. About one-in-five (18%) say they have become more strict, while 43% have kept screen time rules about the same. 

More adults now favor the idea that schools should provide digital technology to all students during the pandemic than did in April 2020

Americans’ tech struggles related to digital divides gained attention from policymakers and news organizations as the pandemic progressed.

On some policy issues, public attitudes changed over the course of the outbreak – for example, views on what K-12 schools should provide to students shifted. Some 49% now say K-12 schools have a responsibility to provide all students with laptop or tablet computers in order to help them complete their schoolwork during the pandemic, up 12 percentage points from a year ago.

Growing shares across political parties say K-12 schools should give all students computers amid COVID-19

The shares of those who say so have increased for both major political parties over the past year: This view shifted 15 points for Republicans and those who lean toward the GOP, and there was a 9-point increase for Democrats and Democratic leaners.

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say the government has this responsibility, and within the Republican Party, those with lower incomes are more likely to say this than their counterparts earning more money. 

Video calls and conferencing have been part of everyday life

Americans’ own words provide insight into exactly how their lives changed amid COVID-19. When asked to describe the new or different ways they had used technology, some Americans mention video calls and conferencing facilitating a variety of virtual interactions – including attending events like weddings, family holidays and funerals or transforming where and how they worked. 5 From family calls, shopping for groceries and placing takeout orders online to having telehealth visits with medical professionals or participating in online learning activities, some aspects of life have been virtually transformed: 

“I’ve gone from not even knowing remote programs like Zoom even existed, to using them nearly every day.” – Man, 54

“[I’ve been] h andling … deaths of family and friends remotely, attending and sharing classical music concerts and recitals with other professionals, viewing [my] own church services and Bible classes, shopping. … Basically, [the internet has been] a lifeline.”  – Woman, 69

“I … use Zoom for church youth activities. [I] use Zoom for meetings. I order groceries and takeout food online. We arranged for a ‘digital reception’ for my daughter’s wedding as well as live streaming the event.” – Woman, 44

Among those who have used video calls during the outbreak, 40% feel fatigued or worn out at least sometimes from time spent on these calls

When asked about video calls specifically, half of Americans report they have talked with others in this way at least once a week since the beginning of the outbreak; one-in-five have used these platforms daily. But how often people have experienced this type of digital connectedness varies by age. For example, about a quarter of adults ages 18 to 49 (27%) say they have connected with others on video calls about once a day or more often, compared with 16% of those 50 to 64 and just 7% of those 65 and older. 

Even as video technology became a part of life for users, many  accounts of burnout  surfaced and some speculated that “Zoom fatigue” was setting in as Americans grew weary of this type of screen time. The survey finds that some 40% of those who participated in video calls since the beginning of the pandemic – a third of all Americans – say they feel worn out or fatigued often or sometimes from the time they spend on video calls. About three-quarters of those who have been on these calls several times a day in the pandemic say this.

Fatigue is not limited to frequent users, however: For example, about a third (34%) of those who have made video calls about once a week say they feel worn out at least sometimes.

These are among the main findings from the survey. Other key results include:

Some Americans’ personal lives and social relationships have changed during the pandemic:  Some 36% of Americans say their own personal lives changed in a major way as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Another 47% say their personal lives changed, but only a little bit.   About half (52%) of those who say major change has occurred in their personal lives due to the pandemic also say they have used tech in new ways, compared with about four-in-ten (38%) of those whose personal lives changed a little bit and roughly one-in-five (19%) of those who say their personal lives stayed about the same.

Even as tech helped some to stay connected, a quarter of Americans say they feel less close to close family members now compared with before the pandemic, and about four-in-ten (38%) say the same about friends they know well. Roughly half (53%) say this about casual acquaintances.

The majority of those who tried to sign up for vaccine appointments in the first part of the year went online to do so:  Despite early problems with  vaccine rollout  and  online registration systems , in the April survey tech problems did  not  appear to be major struggles for most adults who had tried to sign up online for COVID-19 vaccines. The survey explored Americans’ experiences getting these vaccine appointments and reveals that in April 57% of adults had tried to sign themselves up and 25% had tried to sign someone else up. Fully 78% of those who tried to sign themselves up and 87% of those who tried to sign others up were online registrants. 

When it comes to difficulties with the online vaccine signup process, 29% of those who had tried to sign up online – 13% of all Americans – say it was very or somewhat difficult to sign themselves up for vaccines at that time. Among five reasons for this that the survey asked about, the most common  major  reason was lack of available appointments, rather than tech-related problems. Adults 65 and older who tried to sign themselves up for the vaccine online were the most likely age group to experience at least some difficulty when they tried to get a vaccine appointment.

Tech struggles and usefulness alike vary by race and ethnicity.  Americans’ experiences also have varied across racial and ethnic groups. For example, Black Americans are more likely than White or Hispanic adults to meet the criteria for having “lower tech readiness.” 6 Among broadband users, Black and Hispanic adults were also more likely than White adults to be worried about paying their bills for their high-speed internet access at home as of April, though the share of Hispanic Americans who say this declined sharply since April 2020. And a majority of Black and Hispanic broadband users say they at least sometimes have experienced problems with their internet connection. 

Still, Black adults and Hispanic adults are more likely than White adults to say various technologies – text messages, voice calls, video calls, social media sites and email – have helped them a lot to stay connected with family and friends amid the pandemic.

Tech has helped some adults under 30 to connect with friends, but tech fatigue also set in for some.  Only about one-in-five adults ages 18 to 29 say they feel closer to friends they know well compared with before the pandemic. This share is twice as high as that among adults 50 and older. Adults under 30 are also more likely than any other age group to say social media sites have helped a lot in staying connected with family and friends (30% say so), and about four-in-ten of those ages 18 to 29 say this about video calls. 

Screen time affected some negatively, however. About six-in-ten adults under 30 (57%) who have ever made video calls in the pandemic say they at least sometimes feel worn out or fatigued from spending time on video calls, and about half (49%) of young adults say they have tried to cut back on time spent on the internet or their smartphone.

  • Throughout this report, “parents” refers to those who said they were the parent or guardian of any children who were enrolled in elementary, middle or high school and who lived in their household at the time of the survey. ↩
  • People with a high-speed internet connection at home also are referred to as “home broadband users” or “broadband users” throughout this report. ↩
  • Family incomes are based on 2019 earnings and adjusted for differences in purchasing power by geographic region and for household sizes. Middle income is defined here as two-thirds to double the median annual family income for all panelists on the American Trends Panel. Lower income falls below that range; upper income falls above it. ↩
  • A separate  Center study  also fielded in April 2021 asked Americans what the government is responsible for on a number of topics, but did not mention the coronavirus outbreak. Some 43% of Americans said in that survey that the federal government has a responsibility to provide high-speed internet for all Americans. This was a significant increase from 2019, the last time the Center had asked that more general question, when 28% said the same. ↩
  • Quotations in this report may have been lightly edited for grammar, spelling and clarity. ↩
  • There were not enough Asian American respondents in the sample to be broken out into a separate analysis. As always, their responses are incorporated into the general population figures throughout this report. ↩

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Table of contents, 34% of lower-income home broadband users have had trouble paying for their service amid covid-19, experts say the ‘new normal’ in 2025 will be far more tech-driven, presenting more big challenges, what we’ve learned about americans’ views of technology during the time of covid-19, key findings about americans’ views on covid-19 contact tracing, how americans see digital privacy issues amid the covid-19 outbreak, most popular.

About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts .

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How the Pandemic Has Changed Our Relationship With Technology

From virtual theater to smartphone-driven distress, covid-19 is changing the digital landscape for what appears to be both better and worse..

father and son technology

When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in the spring of 2020, Americans became more isolated than ever. Suddenly work, social events and live entertainment migrated from the realm world onto digital platforms. Between social media, video calls and entertainment, people around the world began to spend a staggering amount of their waking lives in front of screens.

While the deleterious effects of compulsive technology use are often cited, the same platforms have also allowed many people to stay social, stimulated and productive while stuck at home. In a 2021 Pew Research Center survey , 90 percent of Americans said that the internet has been important or essential to them during the pandemic. A majority of respondents said video calls had helped them stay connected with friends and family. 

Even after the initial wave of COVID-19 waned, Americans continued to use the internet at unprecedented rates. In a second Pew study from last year, nearly half of respondents between 18 and 29 years old reported using the internet “almost constantly.” 

So after two years of excessive screen time, how has our collective internet obsession actually affected our health?

Problematic Use

Long before COVID-19, scientists had already recognized the serious impacts of technology misuse. “Going back 15 years ago, we found that problematic use of the internet was associated with a number of negative health outcomes,” says Marc Potenza, a psychiatrist at Yale Medical School.

In 2019, the World Health Organization adopted the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). It included two emerging disorders that stem from compulsive online behaviors: internet gaming disorder and gambling disorder (predominantly online). Experts argue that online shopping, pornography and social media may cause addictive disorders as well. “During the onset of the pandemic, there seemed to be increases in online engagement for all of these behaviors," Potenza adds.

Currently, there isn’t enough data to make any sweeping generalizations about how the pandemic has affected internet addictions. But the anecdotal evidence is alarming: In the week following the WHO’s official declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic, the website PornHub experienced an 11.6 percent rise in traffic worldwide, with a particular increase in use in the wee hours of the morning. “It suggests that there might have been an increase in insomnia and disregulated pornography viewing,” Potenza speculates.

Addiction Versus High-Frequency Use

A long-term study that analyzed problematic gaming and smartphone use in Chinese schoolchildren hints at a more complex story. While compulsive gaming was associated with psychological distress pre-pandemic, the two were not correlated after the onset of COVID-19. The results, published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine last March, support a preliminary theory that gaming might actually provide an avenue to cope with loneliness and emotional stress during periods of isolation. 

Interestingly, the same research noted that problematic smartphone use was increasingly associated with psychological distress after the onset of the pandemic. This result points towards another theory — that social media can exacerbate COVID-19 anxiety . This effect, coupled with the well-documented link between social media and depression, may have led to the outcomes observed in the study.

Overall, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of discerning frequent internet use from addictive behaviors. While many people use the internet extensively during their waking hours, only a small percentage experience the pitfalls of addiction. “For a disorder to be present there needs to be some sort of impairment in a major area of life functioning,” Potenza says. “It’s important to try to disentangle high-frequency use from unhealthy and problematic use.”

Silver Linings

Despite the downfalls of isolation, crises can also inspire creativity. For example, the pandemic spurred a virtual reality boom in the art world.

This technology came in handy in March 2020, when England’s Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) was in the early stages of a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” As the pandemic shuttered venues across the U.K., they were forced to quickly find ways to adapt. The company worked feverishly with partners in tech to create a prototypical VR theater production. Though the complexity of Shakespeare’s original story was boiled down to an eight-person cast and a single narrative strand, the result was highly immersive. “We had to find a way to embody this narrative,” says Sarah Ellis, RSC’s director of digital development 

In the final production, the actors' movements and speech were tracked and projected into a virtual forest. Audience members entered the fictional realm as fireflies and buzzed around the Shakespearean sprites’ heads as they propelled the story to an inevitable conclusion.

The performance reached the widest audience of any RSC production to date. The 65,000 attendees hailed from 92 countries and 76 percent of them were at their first-ever RSC production. Ellis was elated. “We often talk about new audiences, but we don’t talk about new content,” she says. “It was amazing to see the younger generation show up.”

While COVID-19 has stuck around for nearly two years, the broader impacts on our collective habits, mental health and culture remain unclear. But it is evident that the pandemic changed our relationship to technology — for better and worse.

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A sales spreadsheet shows graphs and charts of sales volume

Credit: Getty Images

COVID-19 is transforming how companies use digital technology

How companies approach sales has changed more in the past five months than it has in the past five years, says carey business school associate professor joël le bon.

By Patrick Ercolano

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of people to work from home, making workers and corporations alike more dependent on the digital technology that has long enabled them to handle both personal and professional tasks from their smartphones, laptops, and personal computers.

Joël Le Bon has been paying particularly close attention to these rapid developments. The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School associate professor specializes in the commercial applications of digital technology, including its use in sales, marketing, and management. COVID-19's impact on the digital sphere, he notes, has been extraordinary.

"I used to say that with modern digital sales capabilities, sales changed more in the past five years than in the past 50 years. I should say now that sales changed more in the past five months than in the past five years," he says.

With Carey Professor Andrew Ching , Le Bon established the business school's Science of Digital Business Development Initiative , launched just months before the pandemic emerged. The coronavirus has added urgency to the work and mission of the initiative, says Le Bon.

"Advancing the research, education, and practice of digital business development as organizations shift their strategic, marketing, and sales activities makes the Science of Digital Business Development Initiative even more critical for the future of sales, leadership, and work," he says.

The Carey Business School reached out to Le Bon for more insights about some of the ways the pandemic has affected the world of digital business.

The Science of Digital Business Development Initiative aims to show business organizations how to thrive in a digital economy. How has this goal, or the means of achieving it, been affected by the pandemic?

The initiative's mission is to advance the research, education, and practice aspects of digital business development, offer a leading network to address the profound impact of digital transformation and open new paths of opportunity for the future of work in the digital economy. The pandemic has made our mission and goal even more relevant by changing organizations' perspectives on work, leadership, and business interactions with their customers with a radical shift to digital capabilities.

From an organizational standpoint, working and leading from home requires the leverage of digital capabilities, thus raising significant new challenges such as redefining interpersonal engagement, communication, developing people, and sustaining and measuring individuals' and teams' productivity. Interestingly, from a go-to-market standpoint, similar challenges apply in terms of redefining interpersonal engagement, communication, developing relationships with clients, and sustaining and measuring value-creating growth for customers.

Although several technologies already exist to support organizations' digital shift regarding work, leadership, and business interactions, the offering is quite complex and will grow substantially. For example, for the marketing and sales functions, digital capabilities in areas such as virtual offices, video conferencing, messaging and chat, project management, collaborative design, sales, and customer engagements and analytics can truly facilitate collaborative endeavors to engage and serve the customers. Yet, this implies that organizations profoundly rethink their culture, structure, process, and competency models for better digital engagements and with diverse stakeholders.

What types of business and industries do you think will benefit most in the wake of this crisis? And which ones will suffer most?

When it comes to how value is created, it is important to recognize that value is based on content, or what is offered; context, or how it is offered; and cadence, or when it is offered. However, the extent to which that value is mainly provided through a physical experience or a digital experience helps recognize which industries can suffer or benefit the most from this crisis.

For example, in industries such as airlines and transportation, leisure, hospitality, tourism, entertainment, sports, retail, logistics, or higher education, value is mainly created through a physical experience, and thus cannot be easily transformed and offered as digitized content and distributed through the Internet. However, other industries where value can be created through digital experiences easily transformed and offered, as digitized content distributed through the Internet, will benefit from the crisis. Examples are media, communication, telecommunications, e-commerce, and information technology, to name a few.

Do you expect a significant long-term or perhaps even permanent increase in the number of people working remotely, away from the traditional office setting? If so, what would be the pros and cons of such arrangements?

Yes, yet not with the same magnitude in all industries, and for all functions. The technologies to support remote and virtual work already exist. However, the pandemic has intensified the need for a digital shift from a mindset perspective for organizations and individuals, who are thus encouraged to approach work, interpersonal engagement, and communication differently.

The Global Workplace Analytics consulting firm has shown that a typical employer can save an average of $11,000 per half-time telecommuter per year, in terms of increased productivity, lower real estate costs, reduced absenteeism, and turnover. Further, some positive outcomes at the individual level pertain to more independence and autonomy, work flexibility, or time management.

However, some discrepancies exist between employees' and employers' perceived main struggles. From an employee standpoint, the most significant concerns relate to unplugging after work, loneliness, and collaborating and communicating. From a manager standpoint, the concerns relate to reduced employee productivity, reduced employee focus, and reduced team cohesiveness. Interestingly, if employees struggle to unplug after work, managers should be less concerned about productivity, and more about distress and communication and their employees' mental health.

How do you think the COVID-19 disruption will affect the education field, especially in terms of how the "product" and services will be delivered?

Industries that can suffer the most from the crisis, such as higher education, can also benefit the most of the transformative changes the crisis initiated, should they build their business models and value proposition on the radical shift that digital capabilities offer.

Knowledge can be easily produced, transformed, and distributed through digital capabilities. Yet the question of the credibility and reliability of the source of knowledge is of paramount importance; but at what price for the colleges, and cost for the students? The problem with digital-based knowledge as a raw material to be transformed and distributed is that it can be commoditized because of being readily accessible, thus raising the question of price and cost of its accessibility. For this reason, such value should not only be protected at the content level with constant research to advance knowledge, but mainly at the context and cadence levels through the transformation and distribution of advanced knowledge. In fact, this is where the business models and value proposition of higher education should shift, and shift fast.

Before COVID-19, the professor was the main channel enabler for transforming and distributing knowledge content in the context of the classroom, and at the course cadence. Tomorrow, technology-enabled professors will make the difference for the students, beyond commoditized readily accessible content. Consequently, the perceived value of digital college-based knowledge and degrees will shift to well-designed and well-distributed content through virtual, remote experience, and innovative instructions. As students may question the perceived value of college-based knowledge and degrees if they cannot enjoy the physical experience on being on a campus and learn in the classroom with their peers, colleges will need to radically change their very approach to digitally transformed and distributed instructions. In fact, this may also facilitate the transfer of knowledge and education at scale to more students, from a volume perspective.

In higher education, there cannot be a new normal if we only wish to come back to normalcy.

As a marketing professor, what's your view of how advertisers have responded to the pandemic? For example, TV ads that express empathy during a 30-second product pitch—is that effective marketing, or might it run the risk of seeming insincere and calculating?

Effective marketing makes customers understand the value they receive from a product or service. Unauthentic, insincere, and calculating marketing messages do not go a long way, as the most important thing for a company is not the first purchase, but repeated purchases. If such messages do not intrinsically belong to the very values of the brand, customers will not be fooled.

How might the pandemic affect the ways in which sales are conducted?

"Inside sales"—remote and virtual selling where sales professionals use digital information and communication technologies and social selling platforms (e.g., LinkedIn) to connect with, and engage, customers—is the fastest-growing title in the sales industry. It expands at a much higher rate than outside sales, and is regarded as the future of sales. Contrary to outside sales that are performed face-to-face in the field, inside sales also reflects modern buyers' expectations in their will to use the Internet and social media platforms rather than salespeople as effective sources of information and communication.

COVID-19 made organizations who did not have an inside sales force go to inside sales overnight. The pandemic thus accelerated the digital transformation of sales organizations, and such transformation will remain, because inside sales is an effective go-to-market and go-to-customers strategy. There are four main reasons for this, namely: cost, productivity, training, and motivation.

From a cost standpoint, an inside salesperson costs one-third the cost of an outside salesperson. From a productivity standpoint, 30 inside salespeople are likely to sell more than 10 outside salespeople, at the same cost to the company. From a training standpoint, inside sales structures are centralized, which allows inside salespeople to be trained easily and quickly on new product announcements, acquisitions, or internal documents such as compensation plans. And from a motivation standpoint, since inside sales structures leverage powerful sales technologies for interpersonal and customer engagement, communication, and the managing and sustaining of individuals' and teams' productivity, this facilitates the leading of inside sales organizations.

Sales is a struggle for everyone, but it is less so for those who understand it, and know how to leverage digital sales capabilities. In fact, digital sales transformation is about making technology focus on the process, so you can focus on the customer.

Posted in Voices+Opinion , Politics+Society

Tagged business , marketing

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the use of technology in today's pandemic essay brainly

How Technology Has Helped Students Survive During COVID-19

By elearning inside, december 07, 2020.

The onset of the global pandemic has highlighted a series of new social changes and restrictions. But with it, a whole new set of hardware and software technology has come to help us cope with the new normal. During the beginning of the lockdown a few months ago, businesses had to adapt quickly to survive. Millions of employees began working from home across the globe, and shoppers could not enjoy shopping in stores. However, despite the changes and challenges of COVID-19, a host of other sectors are thriving. This article explores how technology has transformed our daily lives and allowed us to cope during the pandemic.

Education Tools

Technology has changed education in America . When the world was hit by coronavirus and countries went on lockdown, all schools had to close immediately to avoid spreading the virus. Teachers had to find ways to communicate with their students because we are unsure when the pandemic will end. A few months ago, what was impossible has become a reality for many, and educational software tools allow students and teachers to communicate and learn.

One of the biggest challenges for distance learning is that discussions in classrooms and communication are more difficult when students and teachers are not in the same classroom. Most of the tasks must also be driven by self-direction, and it may be difficult for younger students to focus on while learning.

This is where teaching management systems like Google classrooms and Canvas, and even virtual reality have come into play and mitigated the issue and has helped support teachers in directing their students better. Virtual teaching was borne out of a need during the coronavirus pandemic. Most schools have adopted this new way of learning, and even if they go back to the classroom, some will still use online learning and blend it into their curriculum even after the pandemic.

Remote Working Technology

It is no secret that the usual workplace has changed forever, and what you used to know as regular working days have changed entirely now that you can do them all from home. As your work schedule has been altered, the technologies you used to work with have also changed.

Technologies like Zoom saw their users rise from 10million to 200million per day as more people started using video communication software to communicate with families and colleagues more than ever before. Microsoft teams, just like Zoom, has seen a large increase in the number of users. It’s mainly used for workplace meetings and communications.

A man sits outside using his smartphone.

As the pandemic continues to spread across the World and the uncertainty continues, more and more people are getting used to working from home, and software like Zoom makes work easier for them to communicate with each other.

Financial Technology

Another area that has seen a boost in usage during the pandemic is financial technologies (FinTech). FinTech services have become more popular as a way to buy and sell goods digitally. More than half of the World’s population is now practicing self-isolation. This means that local businesses, casinos, restaurants, and whatnot are closed down or minimizing the number of people who can come into their premises.

However, with the development of FinTech, people can order their things online and have them delivered to their homes. You can order food, grocery, and anything you need and have it delivered to your doorstep. This is only possible because different financial technologies have made money transfer safe and secure.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of things devices are now found in most households , from smart speaker devices to yoga mats and even toasters and fridges. Developers see an opportunity to incorporate digital transformations in homes. The use of such devices has increased during the pandemic period as more people are looking for home convenience.

Internet of Things devices can also be used in the fight against COVID-19. Researchers suggest that an IoT enabled healthcare system can monitor COVID-19 patients by implementing an interconnected network. The technology can help increase patient satisfaction and reduce the readmission rate in hospitals. It can also be used to gather patient information remotely for assessment and recommendations.

IoT has also helped businesses and has had a positive impact on their ability to function during the pandemic. It has also helped employees while working from home, freed up their time, and has a significant return on investment for most businesses.

Drone Technology

During the pandemic, many countries tried to take advantage of drone technology in different scenarios. Some countries in Africa, like Malawi, Rwanda, and Ghana, are using drones for transportation and delivery purposes during COVID-19. They would deliver and pick up medical supplies to reduce transportation time and minimize infection and exposure risk.

Companies like Amazon are also utilizing drone technology, granted permission by the US government to start a trial with a drone delivery service. In Ireland, Tesco was given permission to start a delivery grocery service drone, which cut delivery service time, freed delivery drivers, and helped vulnerable customers during the pandemic.

The technology has also seen applications in other industries besides E-commerce. NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme is running a project to have medical supplies delivered between hospitals across the UK to cut delivery time and free up human resources.

There have also been media reports of the use of drone technology for aerial spraying disinfectant in some public places to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Countries that used drones to spray public areas were the UAE, China, Spain, and South Korea. Some companies even claim to have been able to cover around 3km of spraying.

Several law enforcement agencies and public safety organizations around the World have used drones to survey public spaces and to enforce quarantine messages over loudspeakers, and tracking non-compliant citizens. The use of drones to send out messages reduces the possibility of responders directly contacting a potentially infected population. Some academic groups even used drone technology to conduct symptoms tracing, enabled by thermal imagery and artificial intelligence.

Drone tech has been utilized across various industries, including the military, oil and gas, and emergency services.

Featured Image: This Is Engineering, Unsplash.

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The Virus Changed the Way We Internet

By Ella Koeze and Nathaniel Popper April 7, 2020

Stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic, with movie theaters closed and no restaurants to dine in, Americans have been spending more of their lives online.

But a New York Times analysis of internet usage in the United States from SimilarWeb and Apptopia, two online data providers, reveals that our behaviors shifted, sometimes starkly, as the virus spread and pushed us to our devices for work, play and connecting.

We are looking to connect and entertain ourselves, but are turning away from our phones

the use of technology in today's pandemic essay brainly


First U.S. Covid-19 death

Average daily traffic



the use of technology in today's pandemic essay brainly

With nearly all public gatherings called off, Americans are seeking out entertainment on streaming services like Netflix and YouTube, and looking to connect with one another on social media outlets like Facebook.

In the past few years, users of these services were increasingly moving to their smartphones, creating an industrywide focus on mobile. Now that we are spending our days at home, with computers close at hand, Americans appear to be remembering how unpleasant it can be to squint at those little phone screens.

Facebook, Netflix and YouTube have all seen user numbers on their phone apps stagnate or fall off as their websites have grown, the data from SimilarWeb and Apptopia indicates. SimilarWeb and Apptopia both draw their traffic numbers from several independent sources to create data that can be compared across the internet.

With the rise of social distancing, we are seeking out new ways to connect, mostly through video chat

the use of technology in today's pandemic essay brainly

Google Duo (app)

Nextdoor.com (web)

Houseparty (app)

the use of technology in today's pandemic essay brainly

While traditional social media sites have been growing, it seems that we want to do more than just connect through messaging and text — we want to see one another. This has given a big boost to apps that used to linger in relative obscurity, like Google’s video chatting application, Duo, and Houseparty, which allows groups of friends to join a single video chat and play games together.

We have also grown much more interested in our immediate environment, and how it is changing and responding to the virus and the quarantine measures. This has led to a renewed interest in Nextdoor, the social media site focused on connecting local neighborhoods.

We have suddenly become reliant on services that allow us to work and learn from home

Daily app sessions for popular remote work apps.

the use of technology in today's pandemic essay brainly

Microsoft Teams

Unlimited Proxy

Hangouts Meet by Google

the use of technology in today's pandemic essay brainly

Google Classroom

VPN Super Unlimited Proxy

The offices and schools of America have all moved into our basements and living rooms. Nothing is having a more profound impact on online activity than this change. School assignments are being handed out on Google Classroom. Meetings are happening on Zoom, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams. The rush to these services, however, has brought new scrutiny on privacy practices .

The search for updates on the virus has pushed up readership for local and established newspapers, but not partisan sites

Percent change in average monthly u.s. traffic.

the use of technology in today's pandemic essay brainly

Local News Sites

sf c hroni c l e . c om

seattletime s . c om

b oston g lo b e . c om

b ea c onjou r nal. c om

Large Media Organizations

c n b c . c om

n ytime s . c om

w ashin g ton p ost. c om


Partisan Sites

d aily k o s . c om

in f o w ar s . c om

free b ea c on. c om

b reit b a r t. c om

t r uth d i g . c om

d aily c alle r . c om

the use of technology in today's pandemic essay brainly

Amid the uncertainty about how bad the outbreak could get — there are now hundreds of thousands of cases in the United States , with the number of dead multiplying by the day — Americans appear to want few things more than the latest news on the coronavirus .

Among the biggest beneficiaries are local news sites, with huge jumps in traffic as people try to learn how the pandemic is affecting their hometowns.

Americans have also been seeking out more established media brands for information on the public health crisis and its economic consequences. CNBC, the business news site, has seen readership skyrocket. The websites for The New York Times and The Washington Post have both grown traffic more than 50 percent over the last month, according to SimilarWeb.

The desire for the latest facts on the virus appears to be curbing interest in the more opinionated takes from partisan sites, which have defined the media landscape in recent years. Publications like The Daily Caller, on the right, and Truthdig on the left, have recorded stagnant or falling numbers. Even Fox News has seen disappointing numbers compared to other large outlets.

Beating all of the news sites, in terms of increased popularity, is the home page for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , which has been attracting millions of readers after previously having almost none. Over time, readers have also looked to more ambitious efforts to quantify the spread of the virus, like the one produced by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center .

the use of technology in today's pandemic essay brainly

wiki p e d ia.org


the use of technology in today's pandemic essay brainly

The single-minded focus on the virus has crowded out the broad curiosity that draws people to sites like Wikipedia, which had declining numbers before a recent uptick, data from SimilarWeb shows.

Video games have been gaining while sports have lost out

the use of technology in today's pandemic essay brainly

TikTok (app)

Twitch.tv (web)

ESPN.com (web)

the use of technology in today's pandemic essay brainly

With all major-league games called off, there hasn’t been much sports to consume beyond marble racing and an occasional Belarusian soccer match . Use of ESPN’s website has fallen sharply since late January, according to SimilarWeb.

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Josephine Wolff; How Is Technology Changing the World, and How Should the World Change Technology?. Global Perspectives 1 February 2021; 2 (1): 27353. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gp.2021.27353

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Technologies are becoming increasingly complicated and increasingly interconnected. Cars, airplanes, medical devices, financial transactions, and electricity systems all rely on more computer software than they ever have before, making them seem both harder to understand and, in some cases, harder to control. Government and corporate surveillance of individuals and information processing relies largely on digital technologies and artificial intelligence, and therefore involves less human-to-human contact than ever before and more opportunities for biases to be embedded and codified in our technological systems in ways we may not even be able to identify or recognize. Bioengineering advances are opening up new terrain for challenging philosophical, political, and economic questions regarding human-natural relations. Additionally, the management of these large and small devices and systems is increasingly done through the cloud, so that control over them is both very remote and removed from direct human or social control. The study of how to make technologies like artificial intelligence or the Internet of Things “explainable” has become its own area of research because it is so difficult to understand how they work or what is at fault when something goes wrong (Gunning and Aha 2019) .

This growing complexity makes it more difficult than ever—and more imperative than ever—for scholars to probe how technological advancements are altering life around the world in both positive and negative ways and what social, political, and legal tools are needed to help shape the development and design of technology in beneficial directions. This can seem like an impossible task in light of the rapid pace of technological change and the sense that its continued advancement is inevitable, but many countries around the world are only just beginning to take significant steps toward regulating computer technologies and are still in the process of radically rethinking the rules governing global data flows and exchange of technology across borders.

These are exciting times not just for technological development but also for technology policy—our technologies may be more advanced and complicated than ever but so, too, are our understandings of how they can best be leveraged, protected, and even constrained. The structures of technological systems as determined largely by government and institutional policies and those structures have tremendous implications for social organization and agency, ranging from open source, open systems that are highly distributed and decentralized, to those that are tightly controlled and closed, structured according to stricter and more hierarchical models. And just as our understanding of the governance of technology is developing in new and interesting ways, so, too, is our understanding of the social, cultural, environmental, and political dimensions of emerging technologies. We are realizing both the challenges and the importance of mapping out the full range of ways that technology is changing our society, what we want those changes to look like, and what tools we have to try to influence and guide those shifts.

Technology can be a source of tremendous optimism. It can help overcome some of the greatest challenges our society faces, including climate change, famine, and disease. For those who believe in the power of innovation and the promise of creative destruction to advance economic development and lead to better quality of life, technology is a vital economic driver (Schumpeter 1942) . But it can also be a tool of tremendous fear and oppression, embedding biases in automated decision-making processes and information-processing algorithms, exacerbating economic and social inequalities within and between countries to a staggering degree, or creating new weapons and avenues for attack unlike any we have had to face in the past. Scholars have even contended that the emergence of the term technology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries marked a shift from viewing individual pieces of machinery as a means to achieving political and social progress to the more dangerous, or hazardous, view that larger-scale, more complex technological systems were a semiautonomous form of progress in and of themselves (Marx 2010) . More recently, technologists have sharply criticized what they view as a wave of new Luddites, people intent on slowing the development of technology and turning back the clock on innovation as a means of mitigating the societal impacts of technological change (Marlowe 1970) .

At the heart of fights over new technologies and their resulting global changes are often two conflicting visions of technology: a fundamentally optimistic one that believes humans use it as a tool to achieve greater goals, and a fundamentally pessimistic one that holds that technological systems have reached a point beyond our control. Technology philosophers have argued that neither of these views is wholly accurate and that a purely optimistic or pessimistic view of technology is insufficient to capture the nuances and complexity of our relationship to technology (Oberdiek and Tiles 1995) . Understanding technology and how we can make better decisions about designing, deploying, and refining it requires capturing that nuance and complexity through in-depth analysis of the impacts of different technological advancements and the ways they have played out in all their complicated and controversial messiness across the world.

These impacts are often unpredictable as technologies are adopted in new contexts and come to be used in ways that sometimes diverge significantly from the use cases envisioned by their designers. The internet, designed to help transmit information between computer networks, became a crucial vehicle for commerce, introducing unexpected avenues for crime and financial fraud. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, designed to connect friends and families through sharing photographs and life updates, became focal points of election controversies and political influence. Cryptocurrencies, originally intended as a means of decentralized digital cash, have become a significant environmental hazard as more and more computing resources are devoted to mining these forms of virtual money. One of the crucial challenges in this area is therefore recognizing, documenting, and even anticipating some of these unexpected consequences and providing mechanisms to technologists for how to think through the impacts of their work, as well as possible other paths to different outcomes (Verbeek 2006) . And just as technological innovations can cause unexpected harm, they can also bring about extraordinary benefits—new vaccines and medicines to address global pandemics and save thousands of lives, new sources of energy that can drastically reduce emissions and help combat climate change, new modes of education that can reach people who would otherwise have no access to schooling. Regulating technology therefore requires a careful balance of mitigating risks without overly restricting potentially beneficial innovations.

Nations around the world have taken very different approaches to governing emerging technologies and have adopted a range of different technologies themselves in pursuit of more modern governance structures and processes (Braman 2009) . In Europe, the precautionary principle has guided much more anticipatory regulation aimed at addressing the risks presented by technologies even before they are fully realized. For instance, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation focuses on the responsibilities of data controllers and processors to provide individuals with access to their data and information about how that data is being used not just as a means of addressing existing security and privacy threats, such as data breaches, but also to protect against future developments and uses of that data for artificial intelligence and automated decision-making purposes. In Germany, Technische Überwachungsvereine, or TÜVs, perform regular tests and inspections of technological systems to assess and minimize risks over time, as the tech landscape evolves. In the United States, by contrast, there is much greater reliance on litigation and liability regimes to address safety and security failings after-the-fact. These different approaches reflect not just the different legal and regulatory mechanisms and philosophies of different nations but also the different ways those nations prioritize rapid development of the technology industry versus safety, security, and individual control. Typically, governance innovations move much more slowly than technological innovations, and regulations can lag years, or even decades, behind the technologies they aim to govern.

In addition to this varied set of national regulatory approaches, a variety of international and nongovernmental organizations also contribute to the process of developing standards, rules, and norms for new technologies, including the International Organization for Standardization­ and the International Telecommunication Union. These multilateral and NGO actors play an especially important role in trying to define appropriate boundaries for the use of new technologies by governments as instruments of control for the state.

At the same time that policymakers are under scrutiny both for their decisions about how to regulate technology as well as their decisions about how and when to adopt technologies like facial recognition themselves, technology firms and designers have also come under increasing criticism. Growing recognition that the design of technologies can have far-reaching social and political implications means that there is more pressure on technologists to take into consideration the consequences of their decisions early on in the design process (Vincenti 1993; Winner 1980) . The question of how technologists should incorporate these social dimensions into their design and development processes is an old one, and debate on these issues dates back to the 1970s, but it remains an urgent and often overlooked part of the puzzle because so many of the supposedly systematic mechanisms for assessing the impacts of new technologies in both the private and public sectors are primarily bureaucratic, symbolic processes rather than carrying any real weight or influence.

Technologists are often ill-equipped or unwilling to respond to the sorts of social problems that their creations have—often unwittingly—exacerbated, and instead point to governments and lawmakers to address those problems (Zuckerberg 2019) . But governments often have few incentives to engage in this area. This is because setting clear standards and rules for an ever-evolving technological landscape can be extremely challenging, because enforcement of those rules can be a significant undertaking requiring considerable expertise, and because the tech sector is a major source of jobs and revenue for many countries that may fear losing those benefits if they constrain companies too much. This indicates not just a need for clearer incentives and better policies for both private- and public-sector entities but also a need for new mechanisms whereby the technology development and design process can be influenced and assessed by people with a wider range of experiences and expertise. If we want technologies to be designed with an eye to their impacts, who is responsible for predicting, measuring, and mitigating those impacts throughout the design process? Involving policymakers in that process in a more meaningful way will also require training them to have the analytic and technical capacity to more fully engage with technologists and understand more fully the implications of their decisions.

At the same time that tech companies seem unwilling or unable to rein in their creations, many also fear they wield too much power, in some cases all but replacing governments and international organizations in their ability to make decisions that affect millions of people worldwide and control access to information, platforms, and audiences (Kilovaty 2020) . Regulators around the world have begun considering whether some of these companies have become so powerful that they violate the tenets of antitrust laws, but it can be difficult for governments to identify exactly what those violations are, especially in the context of an industry where the largest players often provide their customers with free services. And the platforms and services developed by tech companies are often wielded most powerfully and dangerously not directly by their private-sector creators and operators but instead by states themselves for widespread misinformation campaigns that serve political purposes (Nye 2018) .

Since the largest private entities in the tech sector operate in many countries, they are often better poised to implement global changes to the technological ecosystem than individual states or regulatory bodies, creating new challenges to existing governance structures and hierarchies. Just as it can be challenging to provide oversight for government use of technologies, so, too, oversight of the biggest tech companies, which have more resources, reach, and power than many nations, can prove to be a daunting task. The rise of network forms of organization and the growing gig economy have added to these challenges, making it even harder for regulators to fully address the breadth of these companies’ operations (Powell 1990) . The private-public partnerships that have emerged around energy, transportation, medical, and cyber technologies further complicate this picture, blurring the line between the public and private sectors and raising critical questions about the role of each in providing critical infrastructure, health care, and security. How can and should private tech companies operating in these different sectors be governed, and what types of influence do they exert over regulators? How feasible are different policy proposals aimed at technological innovation, and what potential unintended consequences might they have?

Conflict between countries has also spilled over significantly into the private sector in recent years, most notably in the case of tensions between the United States and China over which technologies developed in each country will be permitted by the other and which will be purchased by other customers, outside those two countries. Countries competing to develop the best technology is not a new phenomenon, but the current conflicts have major international ramifications and will influence the infrastructure that is installed and used around the world for years to come. Untangling the different factors that feed into these tussles as well as whom they benefit and whom they leave at a disadvantage is crucial for understanding how governments can most effectively foster technological innovation and invention domestically as well as the global consequences of those efforts. As much of the world is forced to choose between buying technology from the United States or from China, how should we understand the long-term impacts of those choices and the options available to people in countries without robust domestic tech industries? Does the global spread of technologies help fuel further innovation in countries with smaller tech markets, or does it reinforce the dominance of the states that are already most prominent in this sector? How can research universities maintain global collaborations and research communities in light of these national competitions, and what role does government research and development spending play in fostering innovation within its own borders and worldwide? How should intellectual property protections evolve to meet the demands of the technology industry, and how can those protections be enforced globally?

These conflicts between countries sometimes appear to challenge the feasibility of truly global technologies and networks that operate across all countries through standardized protocols and design features. Organizations like the International Organization for Standardization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and many others have tried to harmonize these policies and protocols across different countries for years, but have met with limited success when it comes to resolving the issues of greatest tension and disagreement among nations. For technology to operate in a global environment, there is a need for a much greater degree of coordination among countries and the development of common standards and norms, but governments continue to struggle to agree not just on those norms themselves but even the appropriate venue and processes for developing them. Without greater global cooperation, is it possible to maintain a global network like the internet or to promote the spread of new technologies around the world to address challenges of sustainability? What might help incentivize that cooperation moving forward, and what could new structures and process for governance of global technologies look like? Why has the tech industry’s self-regulation culture persisted? Do the same traditional drivers for public policy, such as politics of harmonization and path dependency in policy-making, still sufficiently explain policy outcomes in this space? As new technologies and their applications spread across the globe in uneven ways, how and when do they create forces of change from unexpected places?

These are some of the questions that we hope to address in the Technology and Global Change section through articles that tackle new dimensions of the global landscape of designing, developing, deploying, and assessing new technologies to address major challenges the world faces. Understanding these processes requires synthesizing knowledge from a range of different fields, including sociology, political science, economics, and history, as well as technical fields such as engineering, climate science, and computer science. A crucial part of understanding how technology has created global change and, in turn, how global changes have influenced the development of new technologies is understanding the technologies themselves in all their richness and complexity—how they work, the limits of what they can do, what they were designed to do, how they are actually used. Just as technologies themselves are becoming more complicated, so are their embeddings and relationships to the larger social, political, and legal contexts in which they exist. Scholars across all disciplines are encouraged to join us in untangling those complexities.

Josephine Wolff is an associate professor of cybersecurity policy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Her book You’ll See This Message When It Is Too Late: The Legal and Economic Aftermath of Cybersecurity Breaches was published by MIT Press in 2018.

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Teaching and learning in times of covid-19: uses of digital technologies during school lockdowns.

\r\nJuan-Ignacio Pozo*&#x;

  • Department of Basic Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Autonomous University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain

The closure of schools as a result of COVID-19 has been a critical global incident from which to rethink how education works in all our countries. Among the many changes generated by this crisis, all teaching became mediated by digital technologies. This paper intends to analyze the activities carried out during this time through digital technologies and the conceptions of teaching and learning that they reflect. We designed a Likert-type online questionnaire to measure the frequency of teaching activities. It was answered by 1,403 teachers from Spain (734 primary and 669 secondary education teachers). The proposed activities varied depending on the learning promoted (reproductive or constructive), the learning outcomes (verbal, procedural, or attitudinal), the type of assessment to which the activities were directed, and the presence of cooperative activities. The major result of this study was that teachers used reproductive activities more frequently than constructive ones. We also found that most activities were those favoring verbal and attitudinal learning. The cooperative activities were the least frequent. Finally, through a cluster analysis, we identified four teaching profiles depending on the frequency and type of digital technologies use: Passive, Active, Reproductive, and Interpretative. The variable that produced the most consistent differences was previous digital technologies use These results show that Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) uses are reproductive rather than constructive, which impedes effective digital technologies integration into the curriculum so that students gain 21st-century competencies.


When schools were closed in most countries in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers had no other option but to change their classrooms into online learning spaces. It was a critical global incident. In research on identity and teacher training ( Tripp, 1993 ; Butterfield et al., 2005 ; Monereo, 2010 ), a critical incident is an unexpected situation that hinders the development of the planned activity and that, by exceeding a certain emotional threshold, puts the identity in crisis and obliges that teachers review their concepts, strategies, and feelings. Thus, these incidents can become meaningful resources for training and changing teaching and learning practices because they allow us to review our deep beliefs ( Monereo et al., 2015 ).

The critical global incident generated by the pandemic forced most teachers to assume virtual teaching where they had to use digital technologies, sometimes for the first time, to facilitate their students’ learning. The closure of schools as a consequence of COVID-19 led to substantial changes in education with profound consequences. Today we know that educational inequalities have widened ( Dorn et al., 2020 ), while students have suffered greater social and emotional imbalances ( Colao et al., 2020 ). In this context, families have also been more involved in the school education of their children ( Bubb and Jones, 2020 ). Moreover, concerning the objectives of this study, it has been necessary to rethink the teaching strategies in the new virtual classrooms. In fact, this research focuses precisely on analyzing the uses that teachers made of the digital technologies or Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) (from now on, we will use this acronym) during the confinement to become familiar with their practices and use them to review their conceptions of teaching and learning.

For several decades, many authors have argued that ICT as educational devices facilitate the adaptation of teaching to each student. Some argue this is because they can promote collaboration, interactivity, the use of multimedia codes, and greater control of learning by the learner (e.g., Jaffee, 1997 ; Collins and Halverson, 2009 ). In this way, their integration in the curriculum would contribute to the acquisition of 21st-century competencies (autonomy, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving) that the OECD ( Ananiadou and Claro, 2009 ) links to the so-called “global competence” that should define the current education ( Ertmer et al., 2015 ).

However, after decades of use of ICT in classrooms, they have not fully achieved their promise to transform teaching and learning processes. The results of a lot of international studies are, in fact, quite discouraging, like those claimed by the PISA studies ( OECD, 2015 ). In its report, the OECD(2015 , p. 3) concludes that “the results also show no appreciable improvements in student achievement in reading, mathematics or science in the countries that had invested heavily in ICT for education.” Thus, Biagi and Loi (2013) found that the more education ICT uses reported, the less learning in reading, mathematics, and science achieved. These data caused even Andreas Schleicher, head and coordinator of PISA studies, to claim that “the reality is that technology is doing more harm than good in our schools today” ( Bagshaw, 2016 ).

These conclusions contrast with the results obtained in most of the experimental research on the effects of ICT on learning. A decade ago, after conducting a second-order meta-analysis of 25 meta-analyses, Tamim et al.(2011 , p. 14) found “a significant positive small to moderate effect size favoring the utilization of technology in the experimental condition over more traditional instruction (i.e., technology-free) in the control group,” a conclusion that is still valid today. Various studies and meta-analyses reflect moderate but positive effects on learning, whether for example from the use of touch screens in preschools ( Xie et al., 2018 ), from cell phones ( Alrasheedi et al., 2015 ; Sung et al., 2015 ) or video games ( Clark et al., 2016 ; Mayer, 2019 ). It has also been found that they favor collaboration in secondary education ( Corcelles Seuba and Castelló, 2015 ) or learning mathematics ( Li and Ma, 2010 ; Genlott and Grönlund, 2016 ), science ( Hennessy et al., 2007 ) or second languages ( Farías et al., 2010 ).

What is the reason for this disagreement between research conducted in experimental laboratories and large-scale studies? Many factors could explain this distance ( de Aldama, 2020 ). But one difference is that the experimental studies have been carefully designed and controlled to promote these forms of learning mentioned above, while the usual work in the classroom is mediated by the activity of teachers who, in most cases, have little training using ICT ( Sigalés et al., 2008 ). Several authors ( Gorder, 2008 ; Comi et al., 2017 ; Tondeur et al., 2017 ) conclude that it is not the ICT themselves that can transform the classroom and learning, but rather the use that teachers make of them. While the experimental studies mostly promote activities that encourage autonomous learning ( Collins and Halverson, 2009 ), the most widespread uses of ICT, as reflected in these international studies with more diverse samples, report other kinds of use whose benefits are more doubtful.

Different classifications of teachers’ use of ICT in the classroom have been proposed in recent years (e.g., Gorder, 2008 ; Mama and Hennessy, 2013 ; Comi et al., 2017 ). Tondeur et al. (2008a) differentiate three types of educational computer use: (a) basic computer skills; (b) use of computers as an information tool, and (c) use of them as a learning tool. Laying aside the acquisition of basic skills related to digital devices, learning is promoted by the last two uses that lead to second-order digital skills related to information management and its conversion into knowledge ( Fulton, 1997 ; Gorder, 2008 ). Thus, the distinction is usually made between two types of use. The first use is aimed at traditional teaching, focused on the transmission and access to information, and usually called teacher-centered use (although perhaps it should be called content-centered use). The second one, called student-centered use, promotes diverse competencies (autonomy, collaboration, critical thinking, argumentation, and problem-solving) and is part of the Global Competence characteristic of 21st-century education ( Ananiadou and Claro, 2009 ; OECD, 2019 , 2020 ). According to Tondeur et al. (2017) , integration of ICT in education requires assuming a constructivist conception of learning and adopting a student-centered approach in which the students manage the information through the ICT instead of, as in the more traditional approach (content-centered), it being the teacher who uses the ICT.

The experimental studies mentioned above show that student-centered approaches improve verbal earning, producing a better understanding of the subjects studied, promoting self-regulation of the learning processes themselves, and generating critical and collaborative attitudes toward knowledge. Thus, Comi et al.(2017 , pp 36–37), after analyzing data from different standardized assessments, conclude: “computer-based teaching practices increase student performance if they are aimed at increasing students’ awareness of ICT use and at improving their navigation critical skills, developing students’ ability to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant material and to access, locate, extract, evaluate, and organize digital information.” Besides, they also found a slight negative correlation between using ICT to convey information and academic performance.

In spite of these better results of adopting student-centered uses, the studies support that the most frequent uses in classrooms are still centered on the teachers, who indeed use ICT as a substitute for other more traditional resources to transmit information ( Loveless and Dore, 2002 ; Sigalés et al., 2008 ; de Aldama and Pozo, 2016 ). Even if what Ertmer (1999) called type I barriers are overcome, related to the availability of these technological resources and the working conditions in the centers, several studies show that there are other types II barriers that limit the use of ICT ( Ertmer et al., 2015 ); in particular, the conceptions about learning and teaching to the extent that they mediate the use of ICT ( Hermans et al., 2008 ).

Different studies have shown that these teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching are the best predictor of the use made of ICT in the classroom ( Ertmer, 2005 ; Ertmer et al., 2015 ). Most of the work on these beliefs ( Hofer and Pintrich, 1997 , 2002 ; Pozo et al., 2006 ; Fives and Gill, 2015 ) identifies two types of conceptions: some closer to a reproductive vision of learning, which would be related to the teacher or content-centered teaching uses, and others nearer to constructivist perspectives, which promote student-centered teaching uses. Studies show teachers who have constructivist beliefs tend to use more ICT than those with more traditional beliefs ( Judson, 2006 ; Law and Chow, 2008 ; Ertmer et al., 2015 ). They also employ them in a more student-centered way, and their uses are oriented toward the development of problem-solving skills ( Tondeur et al., 2017 ). On the other hand, teachers with more traditional beliefs use them primarily to present information ( Ertmer et al., 2012 ).

However, the relationship between conceptions and educational practices is not so clear and linear ( Liu, 2011 ; Fives and Buehl, 2012 ; Tsai and Chai, 2012 ; Mama and Hennessy, 2013 ; Ertmer et al., 2015 ; de Aldama and Pozo, 2016 ; de Aldama, 2020 ). Many studies show a mismatch between beliefs and practices, above all, when we refer to beliefs closer to constructivism that do not always correspond to constructive or student-centered practices. We can distinguish three types of arguments that explain the mismatches. First, the beliefs seem to be more complex and less dichotomous than what is assumed ( Ertmer et al., 2015 ). The studies comparing beliefs and practices tend to focus on the more extreme positions of the spectrum -reproductive vs. constructive beliefs-, despite research showing they are part of a continuum of intermediate beliefs between both aspects ( Hofer and Pintrich, 1997 , 2002 ; Pérez Echeverría et al., 2006 ). Thus, for example, the so-called interpretive beliefs maintain traditional reproductive epistemological positions. People who have these conceptions think that learning is an exact reflection of reality or the content which should be learned, whereas they also think teaching is mediated by cognitive processes of the learner which are based on his or her activity ( Pozo et al., 2006 ; López-Íñiguez and Pozo, 2014 ; Martín et al., 2014 ; Pérez Echeverría, in press ). Other examples of this belief can be found in the technological-reproductive conception described by Strauss and Shilony (1994) , which is close to a naïve information processing theory.

Second, we must acknowledge that neither teachers’ beliefs nor their educational practices remain stable but vary according to the teaching contexts. As Ertmer et al. (2015) claim, beliefs are not unidimensional, but teachers assume them in varying degrees and with different types of relationships. The teacher’s beliefs seem to be organized in profiles that gather aspects of the different theories about teaching and whose activation depends on the contextual demands ( Tondeur et al., 2008a ; Bautista et al., 2010 ; López-Íñiguez et al., 2014 ; Ertmer et al., 2015 ).

Third, we consider that this multidimensionality of beliefs makes them very difficult to measure or evaluate ( Pajares, 1992 ( Schraw and Olafson, 2015 ; see also Ertmer et al., 2015 ; Pérez Echeverría and Pozo, in press ), so perhaps different studies are measuring different components. For example, many studies focus on explicit beliefs, or “what teachers believe to be true” for learning, and therefore evaluate more the general ideas about what ICT-based education should be. Usually, these statements tend to be relatively more favorable to the advantages mentioned above. In this paper, we have chosen to analyze teachers’ stated practices as a means of addressing specific beliefs about teaching.

In addition to beliefs, other variables have been identified that influence the use of ICTs such as gender, age, educational level, or subject curriculum, with results that are usually inconclusive. Thus, while Mathews and Guarino (2000) found that men were more inclined toward the use of ICTs than women, in other studies no differences were found ( Gorder, 2008 ; Law and Chow, 2008 ). Similarly, other studies ( van Braak et al., 2004 ; Suárez et al., 2012 ) concluded that there was an inverse relationship between the age of the teachers and their interest in ICT, but other studies did not confirm this conclusion ( Gorder, 2008 ; Law and Chow, 2008 ; Inan and Lowther, 2010 ). Finally, the teaching experience gives equally ambiguous results; some papers report a negative relationship ( Mathews and Guarino, 2000 ; Baek et al., 2008 ; Inan and Lowther, 2010 ) while others find no relationship ( Gorder, 2008 ).

The influence of factors like educational level or curriculum subjects has also been analyzed. The data seem to be more conclusive regarding educational level: teachers in secondary education have more favorable attitudes toward ICT than teachers of earlier levels ( Gorder, 2008 ; Vanderlinde et al., 2010 ). However, the data are not so conclusive regarding the influence of curriculum subjects ( Williams et al., 2000 ; Gorder, 2008 ; Vanderlinde et al., 2010 ).

Although it will take time to understand what has happened in teaching during these months, many studies and proposals have analyzed the use of ICT in distance education. We can classify them into three types of research. The first type of analyses has measured the impact of classroom closures on the education of students, many of them focusing on their effects on inequality or the way different countries have dealt with this crisis ( Crawford et al., 2020 ; Reimers and Schleicher, 2020 ; Zhang et al., 2020 ). Second, studies have aimed at proposing principles that should guide the use of ICT in the classroom ( Ferdig et al., 2020 ; Rapanta et al., 2020 ; Sangrà et al., 2020 ). The last ones, which are close to the aims of this study, are focused on how teachers have used ICT for the COVID-19 crisis. Some of these studies have carried out qualitative case analyses in different contexts, institutions ( Koçoğlu and Tekdal, 2020 ; Rasmitadila et al., 2020 ), and even countries ( Hall et al., 2020 ; Iivari et al., 2020 ). However, others have resorted to the use of questionnaires applied to larger samples to inquire about the teaching experience for confined education ( Devitt et al., 2020 ; Luengo and Manso, 2020 ; Tartavulea et al., 2020 ; Trujillo-Sáez et al., 2020 ). These studies have concluded the most common use by teachers was to upload materials to a platform ( Tartavulea et al., 2020 ); the most activities were teacher-centered ( Koçoğlu and Tekdal, 2020 ); or the more constructivist the teachers are, the more ICT use is reported for confined education ( Luengo and Manso, 2020 ).

However, despite these indications, there has been no study that analyzes the activities and uses of ICT in school during confinement. What learning have teachers prioritized in this period? Has it been more oriented toward verbal, procedural, or attitudinal learning? ( Pozo, in press ). Through what activities, either more constructive or reproductive, have these learnings been promoted? Have the ICT been used to assess the accumulation of information or the global competencies in its management? What variables prompt carrying out one type of activity or another? These are some questions that have guided our research and are reflected in the following specific objectives.

1. Identifying the frequency with which Spanish teachers of primary, and compulsory and non-compulsory secondary education carried out activities using ICT during the pandemic, and how some variables influence this frequency (gender, teaching experience, previous ICT use, educational level, and curriculum subjects).

2. Analyzing the type of learning (reproductive or teacher-centered vs. constructive or student-centered) promoted most frequently by these teachers, as well as the influence of the variables mentioned.

3. Analyzing the types of outcomes (verbal learning, procedural learning, or attitudinal learning), assessment, and social organization promoted by the ICT and the possible influence of the mentioned variables.

4. Investigating if different teaching profiles can be identified in the use of ICT, as well as their relationship with the variables studied.

Regarding objective 1, as the contradictory results reviewed in the Introduction showed, it is difficult to sustain a concrete hypothesis. However, in the case of objective 2, as argued in the Introduction, we expect to find a higher frequency of reproductive activities (or teacher-centered) than constructive (student-centered). Along the same lines, concerning the third objective, we hope to find more activities oriented to verbal learning, reproductive assessment, and individual organization of tasks, with few activities based on cooperation between students. Finally, about objective 4, we hope to identify teacher profiles that differ in the frequency and type of activities proposed to their students and that these profiles are related to some of the demographic variables analyzed in the study.

Materials and Methods

Task and procedure.

To achieve these objectives, we designed a questionnaire on ICT through the Qualtrics software and sent telematically to various networks of teachers and primary and secondary education centers in Spain. For the construction of the questionnaire, we consulted different blogs where teachers shared the activities they were applying during the pandemic. The questionnaire was composed of two parts. In the first one, after participants gave informed consent, they were requested to provide personal and professional information (see Table 2 ). The second part comprised 36 items that described different types of teaching activities. Participants were asked to rate how often they carried them out on a Likert scale (1, Never; 2 Some days per month; 3, Some days per week; and 4, Every day). After the analysis of the methodologies carried out in the Introduction, we considered asking teachers what they were doing in their classrooms was the most accurate procedure to know the true practices they were carrying out. On the one hand, we wanted to avoid the bias of classic questionaries on conceptions that require teachers to express their agreement with some beliefs. On the other hand, the analysis of teachers’ actual practices in their classrooms would require a different, more qualitative work, with a smaller sample size.

As we show in Table 1 , these activities were directed toward reproductive and constructive learning and different types of learning outcomes (verbal, procedural, and attitudinal), assessment (usually called summative and formative assessment), and cooperative activities.


Table 1. Structure and examples of questionnaire items.


Table 2. Characteristics of the sample and variables.


The participants were primary and secondary education teachers who were working in Spain when they completed the questionnaire. In Spain, compulsory education is from 6 to 16 years. In primary education (6–12 years), a single generalist teacher imparts most of the subjects, while specialist teachers (music, physical education, foreign language, etc.) only attend class during the hours of their subjects. After compulsory secondary education, there is a non-compulsory secondary education (16–18 years old) that is taught in the same centers as compulsory secondary education and by the same teachers.

We used directories of emails from public, private schools, and high schools of Spain to get in contact with the participants. Besides, to encourage participation, we raffled 75 euros for the purchase of teaching materials among all participants. We collected 1,541 answers. We eliminated 52 of them because they belonged to people who were not teachers of primary or secondary education in Spain. Then, we removed 45 participants who completed the questionnaire in less than 5 min, insufficient time to read and complete it, and we excluded 41 participants who indicated the 3rd (“Some days per week”) or 4th option (“Every day”) in over 80% of the items. We argue this exclusion as it is unlikely that a teacher could carry out such a quantity of activities in the span of a week. The questionnaire has 36 activities, so doing over 80% of items with a frequency of a minimum some days per week implies carrying out almost 29 activities per week. We consider this is not possible in the pertaining virtual class context and noted several contradictions in the answers. Therefore, the final sample had 1,403 teachers (see Table 2 ). Note that the sum of all variables does not reach this total because some values were so unusual that they were not considered in the statistical analyses.

Data Analysis

To ensure the consistency of the questionnaire and the dimensions, a reliability analysis was carried out using Cronbach’s Alpha coefficient. The reliability of the scale was 0.90, the reproductive and constructive scales obtained alphas above 0.75, and the verbal, procedural, attitudinal, assessment, and cooperation dimensions got alphas above 0.65.

The 1, 2, and 3 objectives were analyzed with one and two-factor ANOVA. These factors can be both repeated measures and completely randomized, according to the characteristics of the variable. Besides, we carried out post hoc analysis in which the Tukey or Bonferroni correction was applied depending on whether the ANOVA was 1 or 2 factors, to see the differences between categories in the ANOVA analyses. However, post hoc analyses were only performed on the ANOVA of the two factors when the interaction effects were significant.

Finally, a cluster analysis was implemented to identify different teaching profiles (objective 4). Once identified, we created contingency tables and their corresponding Corrected Typified Residuals (CTR) to know which variables were related to each profile. Finally, we carried out ANOVA to analyze the differences between profiles according to each of the designed dimensions. All the statistical analyses were carried out using SPPS version 26.

The results are written referring to what the teachers were doing to facilitate reading. However, in all cases, we refer to declared activities.

Frequency of Activities Carried Out

Regarding the first objective, teachers performed the activities between Some days per week and Some days per month on average ( M = 2.44, SD = 0.50). However, this frequency varied according to teaching experience, educational level, curriculum subject, and previous ICT use. Gender did not produce differences (see Table 3 ). In the case of teaching experience, according to the post hoc tests, teachers with intermediate experience (from 16 to 25 years) carried out a lower number of activities than novice teachers (5 years or fewer) ( p < 0.05). In turn, teachers who taught children between 6 and 9 years old were also less active than the rest ( p < 0.01). Within primary education, the generalists, who spend more time with the same students, proposed more activities than the specialists ( p < 0.01). In secondary education, the teachers of Spanish language were more active than those of mathematics and physical education ( p < 0.01). Finally, there seems to be a positive linear relationship between previous ICT use and the amount of activity for confined education ( F = 61.66, p < 0.001).


Table 3. Influence of personal and professional variables on the frequency of activities.

Teaching Activities: Reproductive or Constructive?

Nevertheless, we were not so much interested in the total amount of activities carried out as in the type of learning they promoted (reproductive or constructive). For this, we proposed objective 2. The data was overwhelming. They showed much greater use of reproductive ( M = 2.79, SD = 0.50) than constructive ( M = 2.16, SD = 0.60) learning activities ( F = 2,217.91, p < 0.001, η p 2 = 0.61). This is the largest and most robust effect size in this study; it occurs in all groups and for all variables ( p < 0.001), although to a different degree, as shown in Table 4 .


Table 4. Influence of the different variables on the type of activity.

Post hoc results reveal that novice teachers (5 years or fewer), the most active group according to the previous analysis, performed more reproductive activities than teachers with experience from 16 to 25 years ( p < 0.01), the least active one. However, the most experienced teachers (more than 25 years) executed more constructive activities than those with intermediate experience (from 16 to 25 years) ( p < 0.05). The teachers of children between 6 and 9 years old did less reproductive and constructive activities ( p < 0.05) than the rest of the groups, with significant differences in all cases except in the case of the teachers of non-compulsory secondary education, who stated less reproductive activities than they did.

In secondary education, the mathematics teachers did less constructive activities than those of Spanish language and social sciences ( p < 0.05). In turn, physical education teachers performed less reproductive activities than the rest of their classmates ( p < 0.01).

Finally, the higher the previous ICT the teachers used, the higher the frequencies indicated by them in both reproductive ( F = 33.57, p < 0.001) and constructive activities ( F = 61.61, p < 0.001). Notwithstanding, the size of the observed effect shows greater differences in the case of constructive activities (reproductive, F = 13.94, p < 0.001, η p 2 = 0.29, vs. constructive, F = 25.60, p < 0.001, η p 2 = 0.95).

Learning Outcomes, Assessment, and Cooperation Dimensions

The third objective was to determine what kind of learning outcomes resulted from the activities. As we show in Figure 1 , the teachers focused more on verbal and attitudinal learning than on procedural ( F = 100.11, p < 0.001, η p 2 = 0.07). On the other hand, the mean responses of the assessment tasks were similar to those of verbal learning and attitudinal learning, but the cooperative activities were less frequent than the remainder ( p < 0.001), performed between never and some days per month ( M = 1.78; SD = 0.74). However, as we see in Table 5 , these results are mediated by the effect of some variables.


Figure 1. Average of the frequencies of each type of activity.


Table 5. Influence of different variables on the frequency of activities for each dimension.

Post hoc analyses show that men carried out more activities focused on procedural learning than women ( p < 0.05), who in turn promoted more activities related to attitudinal learning ( p < 0.001). Men also carried out more cooperation activities than women ( p < 0.01), but there were no differences among them in the Assessment activities. However, the only effect related to teaching experience shows that less experienced teachers (5 years or fewer) carried out more assessment activities than teachers with intermediate experience (from 16 to 25 years) ( p < 0.05).

The teachers of the youngest children (6–9 years old) carried out more activities aimed at attitudinal learning ( p < 0.05) and fewer at procedural learning ( p < 0.01) than the rest of the teachers. Interestingly, the activities aimed at attitudinal learning decreased progressively when the educational level increased, with differences between the upper level of primary education (9–12 years) and secondary education ( p < 0.001). At the same time, the older the students were, the more verbal learning activities they performed, with differences between the first years of primary education (6–9 years) and secondary education (12–18) ( p < 0.05). Besides, the assessment and cooperation activities became more frequent as the educational levels advanced, with differences in both cases between the teachers of the first years of primary education ( p < 0.01) and the last years of primary education and non-compulsory secondary education ( p < 0.05).

In secondary education, verbal learning predominates in almost every subject. However, the Spanish language and foreign language teachers also carried out many activities aimed at attitudinal learning. Only in technology were more activities aimed at procedural learning executed compared to the others ( p < 0.05). At the same time, the mathematics teachers stand out for their little use of cooperation activities. To sum up, the activities aimed at verbal learning increase their frequency when the educational level increases, while attitudinal learning decreases. Nevertheless, the characteristics of each subject have some influence on the increases among educational levels. The cooperation activities also increase, although their frequency is still small. Finally, again, the higher the previous ICT use, the higher the frequency of all activities during the pandemic ( p < 0.001).

But all these differences become more meaningful when we look at the type of learning (reproductive or constructive) that is promoted by these activities. Again, as we see in Figure 2 , there is a considerable difference between the reproductive and constructive activities regardless of the dimension involved (see Table 6 ), a trend also confirmed by the low frequency of cooperation activities that, by their nature, promote constructive learning. It is remarkable that the highest differences between both scales happen in attitudinal learning. In fact, the most frequent activities in the questionnaire involved attitudinal reproductive learning.


Figure 2. Average of the reproductive and constructive activities in each dimension.


Table 6. Differences between reproductive and constructive activities in the dimensions.

Profiles of Teachers in the Use of ICT

Our final objective was to identify possible profiles in the use of ICT during confined education. For this purpose, we proceeded with a cluster analysis that allowed us to identify different teaching profiles as we showed in Figure 3 . After testing clusters of three centers in which the groups only differed in the number of activities, we executed a four centers cluster, which showed differences in the amount of activity ( F = 2,220.33, p < 0.001, η p 2 = 0.83) and the mean differences between reproductive and constructive activities ( F = 310.39, p < 0.001, η p 2 = 0.40).


Figure 3. Frequency of use of reproductive and constructive activities for each teachers’ profile.

• The first profile (“Passive”) was composed of 327 teachers who were characterized by a very low activity (MD = 0.63, SD = 0.02, p < 0.001), essentially reproductive ( M = 2.15, SD = 0.35) and scarcely constructive ( M = 1.52, SD = 0.29).

• The second profile (“Active”) was composed of 424 teachers, was the most numerous. It had a very similar pattern to the previous one, focused mainly on reproductive activities ( M = 2.82, SD = 0.33) rather than constructive ( M = 2.41, SD = 0.21) but with a higher level of activity ( MD = 0.41, SD = 0.02, p < 0.001).

• The third profile (“Reproductive”) was composed of 263 teachers with a similar level of activity to the previous one. However, they have a relatively higher frequency of reproductive activities ( M = 2.93, SD = 0.29) with hardly any constructive activities ( M = 1.82, SD = 0.24).

• The fourth profile (“Interpretative”) which was composed of 389 teachers, was corresponded to the most active teachers. This profile had the smallest differences between reproductive ( M = 3.32, SD = 0.29) and constructive activities ( M = 3.04, SD = 0.31), ( MD = 0.29, SD = 0.02, p < 0.001). According to the terminology used in the introduction, we have called it Interpretative because it integrated both types of activities.

Among the different profiles, we found systematic differences in the dimensions and types of learning. In fact, all differences among profiles were significant ( p < 0.01) except between the Active and Reproductive profiles in verbal, procedural, and attitudinal reproductive learning. There were also no differences between the Passive and Reproductive profiles in cooperative activities because of their low frequency in both groups. On the other hand, teachers in the Interpretive profile carried out more activities in all dimensions than the rest of the groups; the teachers of the Passive profile did fewer tasks than the others (except in the cases already indicated) and finally, the other two profiles maintained an intermediate level of activity, with the difference that the teachers of the Reproductive profile focused almost exclusively on reproductive activities as we see in Figure 4 .


Figure 4. Use of each dimension for each teachers’ profile.

The distribution of teachers in each of the four profiles varied depending on educational level (χ 2 = 29.57, p < 0.001), primary curriculum subjects (χ 2 = 60.97, p < 0.001), secondary curriculum subjects (χ 2 = 60.97, p < 0.001), and previous ICT use (χ 2 = 77.46, p < 0.001). We did not find any relationship with gender or teaching experience, the variables with the least influence in the study.

As we see in Table 7 , the first profile or Passive was over-represented by teachers of children aged 6–9, and teachers of non-compulsory secondary education were under-represented. Between the primary education teachers, specialists predominated, and there were practically no generalist teachers. The only secondary education teachers that appeared in this profile were physical education ones. Finally, there is a significant number of teachers who had not used ICT with their students before the confinement, and there was hardly any representation of those who had most used them.


Table 7. Variables related to each of the profiles.

The second or Active profile is distributed homogeneously way among the different educational levels. It is predominantly formed by secondary education teachers of Spanish language and social sciences. In the third or Reproductive profile, secondary education teachers who taught mathematics, and those who had never used ITC in the classroom were over-represented.

The fourth or Interpretative profile, characterized by integrating reproductive and constructive activities, had hardly any teachers of children from 6 to 9 years old nor specialist teachers of primary education, unlike the first profile. However, this profile included a high number of generalist teachers of primary education and Spanish language teachers of secondary education. On the other hand, it had a few mathematics teachers from secondary education who were over-represented in the Reproductive profile. Finally, the teachers who used ICT more before confinement were also over-represented, and there were hardly any teachers who had not used them.

Discussion and Conclusion

In this study, taking advantage of the critical incident caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we analyzed the type of activities with ICT that primary and secondary education teachers proposed to their students. Our purpose was to check if, in this context, ICT contributed to promoting more constructive ways of teaching. The most dominant effect of the results, related to the second aim of the study, showed that teachers carried out significantly more activities oriented to reproductive learning than constructive ones. In other words, they preferred teacher-centered activities to student-centered ones. This effect was very robust ( F = 2,217.91, p < 0.001, η p 2 = 0.61), and it was manifested in all dimensions of the questionnaire, was maintained when we introduced any of the variables studied and was presented in all profiles.

On the other hand, our work has revealed other variables that influence the frequency of ICT use. Thus, we have found that teachers who attend to young children use them less than teachers of older students. These data coincide with those found in other works ( Gorder, 2008 ; Vanderlinde et al., 2010 ) and are probably related to the characteristics of the teaching activity itself. It is undoubtedly more arduous to use ICT in class with young children than with adolescents or adults. We have also found a greater frequency of use by generalists than specialists because the former teach more hours in the same class and consequently have more responsibilities with their students. Both the specialists and the teachers of the youngest children were overrepresented in the Passive profile. Nevertheless, the influence of the subjects taught in compulsory and non-compulsory secondary education is not so clear. We found there was hardly any influence of gender on different results. Data from other studies show that the influence of this variable is quite unstable and varies among studies ( Mathews and Guarino, 2000 ; Gorder, 2008 ; Law and Chow, 2008 ). However, teaching experience seems to influence in another way: whereas less experienced teachers are more reproductive, the more experienced teachers present fewer differences between reproductive and constructive activities. It should be noted that in other studies this variable has also shown ambiguous results ( Mathews and Guarino, 2000 ; Baek et al., 2008 ; Gorder, 2008 ; Inan and Lowther, 2010 ).

The third objective analyzed the learning outcomes that the activities provided, the type of assessment used, and the cooperation that activities promoted. In general, we have seen that teachers performed more verbal and attitudinal learning than procedural. However, in these cases (as well as in the assessment), activities were aimed at reproductive instead of constructive learning. The least frequent activities were cooperative (between never and some days per month), which is consistent with the importance given to reproduction. The salience of verbal learning increased as the higher the educational level was and, in the same way, the attitudinal activities decreased, with hardly any change in the procedural ones.

Considering that these data were collected in Spain when there were strict confinement and social isolation, we would emphasize that the activities related to attitudes were directed at maintaining classroom control in all groups and profiles (but outside the classroom) whereas there was much less frequency of activities focused on getting the ability to managing student attitudes, behavior or self-control during that situation of confinement. This difference suggests that teachers were more concerned about controlling their students’ study habits.

Regarding our fourth objective, we find four profiles of teachers (Passive, Active, Reproductive, and Interpretative). The first two differed only in the amount of total activity performed, while the Reproductive one was characterized by almost exclusively executing reproductive learning activities. Although, as in the previous groups, the Interpretative teachers carried out many reproductive activities, they also carried out constructive activities with considerable frequency. Teachers of children from 3 to 6 years, for whom engaging in the virtual activity is more complicated, abounded in the Passive profile. However, in the Reproductive profile, teachers of mathematics of secondary education predominated. In contrast, in the Interpretative profile, in which there were fewer differences between reproductive and constructive activities, generalists of primary education and teachers of social and natural sciences and Spanish language of secondary education were over-represented. But principally, this profile was over-represented by teachers who had previously used ICT.

In conclusion, it seems the teachers in this study use ICT essentially for presenting different kinds of information ( Tondeur et al., 2008b ) and do not use them as learning tools that help students to build, manage, and develop their knowledge. On the other hand, this study seems to show that teachers’ beliefs are much closer to the reproductive pole than to the constructive one. In this study, beliefs have been inferred through the frequency with which the teachers stated they carried out predetermined activities. In our view, the description of the activities was much closer to the actual practices and theories of the teachers than the results that questionnaires on beliefs could provide us with. For this reason, we expect the mismatch between theories and practices ( Liu, 2011 ; Fives and Buehl, 2012 ; Tsai and Chai, 2012 ; Mama and Hennessy, 2013 ; Ertmer et al., 2015 ; de Aldama and Pozo, 2016 ) was smaller and helped us to discover the true beliefs of teachers when they teach.

We could therefore conclude that, despite all the educational possibilities and all the promises of change in teaching that ICT raise ( Jaffee, 1997 ; Collins and Halverson, 2009 ), teachers have only perceived these tools as informative support. It seems the critical incident caused by the pandemic has not been resolved in the short-term with a change in favor of student-centered activities and content-centered ones continue predominating. Therefore, our data are more consistent with the results of some international mass studies ( Biagi and Loi, 2013 ; OECD, 2015 ) than with the experimental works that analyze how teachers who are previously chosen use ICT ( Tamim et al., 2011 ; Alrasheedi et al., 2015 ; Sung et al., 2015 ; Clark et al., 2016 ; Xie et al., 2018 ; Mayer, 2019 ). However, there is no doubt that the pandemic has contributed to familiarizing teachers with ICT. In our results, previous use of ICT was the variable that produced the most systematic differences in both the frequency of proposed reproductive and constructive activities. In this sense, perhaps the pandemic may have contributed to an increase in teachers’ experience in two of the three educational computer uses described by Tondeur et al. (2008a) : basic computer skills and use of computers as an information tool. Maybe, this fact could contribute in the future to using the third one, the use of ICT as learning tools. However, there are undoubtedly other variables related to first-order and second-order barriers (beliefs) or teacher training with ICT that influence this possibility of change.

In summary, our work shows that activities carried out through ICT during confined schooling were more teacher-centered than student-centered and hardly promoted the 21st-century skills, that digital technologies should facilitate ( Ertmer et al., 2015 ). However, the data also show that the greater the stated previous use of ICT, the greater and more constructive its use was reported for the pandemic. Previous use of ICTs is related not only to beliefs about their usefulness but also to specific training to master these tools and to use them in a versatile manner, adapted to different purposes or objectives. It seems clear that teacher training should be promoted not only to encourage more frequent use of ICT but also to change conceptions toward them to promote constructive learning. In this sense, the forced use of ICT because of COVID-19 will only encourage this change if we support teachers with adequate resources and activities which facilitate reflection on their use.

However, we should consider that one limitation of this study is that the practices analyzed were those declared by the teachers. It would be necessary to complete this study with an analysis of the practices that the teachers really applied and to analyze their relationship with their conceptions of learning and teaching. In fact, we are currently analyzing the actual practices of a sub-sample of the teachers who filled out the questionnaire, taking the profiles found in this work as the independent variable. In future research, it would be necessary to analyze the relationship between student learning and these different teaching practices.

Data Availability Statement

The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be made available by the authors, without undue reservation.

Ethics Statement

The studies involving human participants were reviewed and approved by the Ethics Committee of the Autonomous University of Madrid. The patients/participants provided their written informed consent to participate in this study.

Author Contributions

J-IP: funding acquisition, project administration, conceptualiza-tion, methodology, supervision, writing – original draft, and writing – review and editing. M-PE: funding acquisition, conceptualization, methodology, validation, writing – original draft, and writing – review and editing. BC: conceptualization, methodology, data curation, formal analysis, investigation, software, writing – original draft, writing – review and editing, and visualization. DLS: conceptualization, methodology, and writing – review and editing. All authors contributed to the article and approved the submitted version.

This work was supported by the Ministry of Innovation and Science of Spain (EDU2017-82243-C2-1-R).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.


We would like to thank our colleagues from SEIACE for their participation in the item dimension task. We would also like to thank Ricardo Olmos for sharing his statistical knowledge with us. Finally, we would like to appreciate Krystyna Sleziaka her support with the translation of this paper.

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Keywords : digital technologies uses, constructive learning, reproductive learning, learning and teaching conceptions, learning outcomes, COVID-19

Citation: Pozo J-I, Pérez Echeverría M-P, Cabellos B and Sánchez DL (2021) Teaching and Learning in Times of COVID-19: Uses of Digital Technologies During School Lockdowns. Front. Psychol. 12:656776. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.656776

Received: 21 January 2021; Accepted: 07 April 2021; Published: 29 April 2021.

Reviewed by:

Copyright © 2021 Pozo, Pérez Echeverría, Cabellos and Sánchez. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Juan-Ignacio Pozo, [email protected]

† These authors have contributed equally to this work and share first authorship

Disclaimer: All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

the use of technology in today's pandemic essay brainly

  • Thought leadership
  • Public health and social services

How technology is helping in the fight against the pandemic

  • By Greg McKay, Microsoft’s Worldwide Public Sector lead for Public Health and Social Services
  • Eric Basha, Director of Business Strategy, Worldwide Government Industry

The global pandemic is far from over, we want to take this opportunity to recognize and applaud the continued heroic efforts by front-line workers—healthcare workers, first responders, service workers, and others—around the world. They put their lives at risk every day to save patients and keep critical operations running.

While much of the recent news regarding has been discouraging, it is important to recognize there is some good news regarding the fight against COVID-19. And given the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)  annual conference  is almost upon us, this is an opportunity to reflect on how Public Health organizations have used technology to battle the greatest health crisis of our time. From the earliest days of the outbreak, Microsoft and our global partner ecosystem have used the latest technologies in new and innovative ways to help Public Health officials meet the challenge of COVID-19.

Public Health organizations around the globe continue to face challenges. The Delta variant, vaccine hesitancy, breakthrough infections, continued vaccine and resource shortages all are perpetuating this battle. Still, there have been bright spots, thanks to the tenacity, ingenuity, and unwavering commitment of Public Health professionals and organizations—as well as their use of the latest technology. This has enabled public health to attack the pandemic with unprecedented agility and responsiveness.

From the earliest days of tracking the COVID-19 outbreaks—long before a global pandemic was proclaimed—Public Health organizations began to be challenged with collecting increasing amounts of data from hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices as well as laboratories. This was often a cumbersome, lengthy process. It could take weeks or even months before the massive amount of data could be collected and analyzed to unlock meaningful insights. Technologies such as Azure Data Lake and Azure Synapse helped accelerate and scale data collection and analysis around the world.

Partners like Esri were leveraging their Azure supported ArcGIS Online system to help Public Health officials monitor the spread of the COVID-19 virus by visualizing that data on global maps and dashboards.

When accurate tests were created to detect the virus, many Public Health organizations turned to solutions built on Microsoft Dynamics and Power Platform to help them quickly roll out COVID-19 testing in their communities. This included registration systems to schedule the tests as well as test-result reporting.

As the disease spread, people turned to their Public Health organization for answers. This overwhelmed phone systems and took valuable human capital to address these questions at scale. Virtual assistants using Microsoft Azure Health Bot service played a vital role in reducing the burden on Public Health personnel, allowing them to focus on other aspects of the pandemic.

We all remember that early in the pandemic, ventilators, PPE, and other critical supplies were in short supply. Hospitals and clinics were experiencing a dire shortage of resources, while others were sitting on surpluses. Microsoft worked with public health, hospital networks and others to quickly create the Hospital Emergency Response solution , a Power Platform solution for healthcare emergency response. It allowed visibility into inventories across different care networks. As a result, public health was able to get supplies to the points of greatest need.

As early as last year, while pharmaceutical companies sent newly developed COVID-19 vaccines through clinical trials, Microsoft and our partners are working with Public Health officials to accelerate the pace of vaccine distribution and vaccinations with technology. This included taking steps to ensure distribution from the pharma manufacturing facilities to the vaccination sites.

Vaccine supply chain was just one aspect of this unprecedented global challenge. Prioritizing and scheduling initial appointments—along with the appropriate follow-ups and reminder communications—was a critical need. Then there was integration with existing immunization information systems to update patients’ vaccination records. Microsoft Consulting Services and Microsoft industry and product teams jumped into action to work with an ecosystem of partners around the world including Accenture , EY , Quisitive and their MazikCare Platform , and many others to deliver solutions to quickly and efficiently distribute and administer vaccines to every community .

Vaccine supply is still a challenge in many parts of the world. Even in areas where supply is sufficient, pockets of vaccine hesitancy have started to stall vaccination rates. To help address this major issue, a coalition of non-profits, healthcare organizations, and technology providers, working in collaboration with local communities and Public Health agencies, have embarked on the Vaccination Equity Initiative (VEI). The goal of VEI is to deliver vaccinations and other essential health services to those who are underserved, vulnerable, or have low access to healthcare. Further information about VEI, including how organizations can participate, may be obtained by contacting [email protected] .


One example of how technology can help address vaccine hesitancy comes from our partner Zencity. Zencity is using Azure Cognitive Services to analyze a variety of public data sources —including social sentiment—in order to help Public Health officials understand the underlying concerns of their citizens .¹ Using this insight, mayors, Public Health officials and other government leaders can create communication plans and outreach programs to overcome vaccine hesitancy.

As vaccine rates continue to increase globally and laboratory tests are widely available, worldwide efforts to reopen economies and restore international travel have also created an urgent need for secure, verifiable health information. Businesses, entertainment and sports venues, academic institutions and governments worldwide increasingly need a trustworthy way to verify vaccination status or laboratory test results for those returning to onsite activities and public spaces. Individuals who have been vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 want to access and store a free paper or digital copy of their records to easily carry and share, without fear of misplacing an immunization card or disclosing unnecessary information when sharing their results.

To fill this emerging need, in 2020 Microsoft joined in forming VCI , a voluntary coalition of public and private organizations committed to ensuring individuals have access to a trustworthy and verifiable copy of their COVID-19 vaccination records and test results. The VCI-developed SMART Health Cards framework is being used worldwide to create vaccine certificates that adhere to core principles , including interoperability, equity, privacy, and security.

While there is still a long way to go in the global fight against COVID-19, the new wave of cloud technology will play a significant role in defeating this crisis.

It will also help us prepare for the next one. Because this is not the last global virus we will see.

¹ Governing – “A Powerful Tool for Overcoming Vaccine Hesitancy”, May 19, 2021.

Greg McKay

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Impact of digital surge during Covid-19 pandemic: A viewpoint on research and practice

Rahul de’.

a Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, India

Neena Pandey

b Indian Institute of Management Visakhapatnam, India

Abhipsa Pal

c Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode, India

  • • We examine the digital surge during the pandemic, and after.
  • • Prominent issues in the use of blockchains, gig economy, workplace monitoring.
  • • Aspects of internet governance, digital payments, privacy and security.
  • • Implications for future research and technology policy.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an inevitable surge in the use of digital technologies due to the social distancing norms and nationwide lockdowns. People and organizations all over the world have had to adjust to new ways of work and life. We explore possible scenarios of the digital surge and the research issues that arise.

An increase in digitalization is leading firms and educational institutions to shift to work-from-home (WFH). Blockchain technology will become important and will entail research on design and regulations. Gig workers and the gig economy is likely to increase in scale, raising questions of work allocation, collaboration, motivation, and aspects of work overload and presenteeism. Workplace monitoring and technostress issues will become prominent with an increase in digital presence. Online fraud is likely to grow, along with research on managing security. The regulation of the internet, a key resource, will be crucial post-pandemic.

Research may address the consequences and causes of the digital divide. Further, the issues of net neutrality and zero-rating plans will merit scrutiny. A key research issue will also be the impact and consequences of internet shutdowns, frequently resorted to by countries. Digital money, too, assumes importance in crisis situations and research will address their adoption, consequences, and mode. Aspects of surveillance and privacy gain importance with increased digital usage.

1. Introduction

By late May 2020, at the time of writing of this article, over 200 countries and territories in the world were affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. This included most urban clusters and even rural regions.

With the spread of the pandemic, almost all regions have implemented lockdowns, shutting down activities that require human gathering and interactions - including colleges, schools, malls, temples, offices, airports, and railway stations. The lockdown has resulted in most people taking to the internet and internet-based services to communicate, interact, and continue with their job responsibilities from home. Internet services have seen rises in usage from 40 % to 100 %, compared to pre-lockdown levels. Video-conferencing services like Zoom have seen a ten times increase in usage, and content delivery services like Akamai have seen a 30 % increase in content usage ( Branscombe, 2020 ). Cities like Bangalore have seen a 100 % increase in internet traffic.

The lockdowns across countries have entailed a rise in the use of information systems and networks, with massive changes in usage patterns and usage behaviour. Employees are adjusting to new "normals” - with meetings going completely online, office work shifting to the home, with new emerging patterns of work. These changes have come across most organizations, whether in business, society, or government. The changes have also come suddenly, with barely any time for organizations and people to plan for, prepare and implement new setups and arrangements; they have had to adjust, try, experiment, and find ways that did not exist before.

Though now, in late May 2020, the pandemic is receding and stabilized in certain countries, it is still on the increase in many others, and with serious threats. Experts in most countries are wary of the possibility of the disease spread re-emerging, and that lockdown norms may be relaxed carefully and slowly with social distancing at the core of the new normal.

It is in this context that we see the use of information systems to continue in the same vein for some time in the foreseeable future as during the lockdown. We examine the possible scenarios in this surge in information technology usage during and post the pandemic. Our estimation of these effects assumes that there was a digital transformation already underway, before the pandemic set in, and it will take certain forms owing to the impact of the lockdowns.

In the next section, we examine the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the use of digital technologies, where we discuss some possible scenarios and research issues of the post-pandemic world. The next section summarizes the implications for research and practice, and in the last section, we present our conclusions.

2. Scenarios and research issues of the digital surge

In this section, we discuss some of the most pressing issues regarding the post-pandemic digital surge. These themes reveal the multiple directions in which IS research can focus in relation to impacts on technology.

2.1. Increasing digitalization

As the use of video- and audio-conferencing tools increases significantly, organizations will ramp up their technology infrastructure to account for the surge. This will lead to increased investment in bandwidth expansion, network equipment, and software that leverages cloud services. With employees becoming acclimatized to the idea of work-from-home (WFH), meeting and transacting online, firms will shift to WFH as a norm rather than as an exception. This is being adopted by many firms ( Akala, 2020 ; BBC News, 2020 ; Khetarpal, 2020 ), which have the digital infrastructure in place to handle the required load and bandwidth.

Education is another domain in which there a dramatic shift to the online mode of transacting. Since the beginning of the lockdown, schools, colleges, and universities around the world have shifted their classes to video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Google Meet. Along with these synchronous modes of teaching, asynchronous platforms like edX and Coursera have also seen an increase in enrolments ( Shah, 2020 ). Some institutions are now shifting entirely to the online mode for the forthcoming academic year, with the exception of sessions that require a physical presence, such as the University of Cambridge in the UK and the California State system in the US ( New York Times, 2020 ).

Digital transformation technologies such as Cloud, Internet-of-Things (IoT), Blockchain (BC), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML), constitute a bulk of the of what is being adopted by organizations as part of their transformation effort.

Blockchain (BC) technology presents an opportunity to create secure and trusted information control mechanisms ( Upadhyay, 2020 ). As education and healthcare services witnesses a shift to the digital domain, BCs enable a way to secure and authenticate certificates, health records, medical records, and prescriptions. Research on the design of such systems, along with maintaining their ease-of-use and usefulness will gain importance. Another issue is that of designing systems that work with smart contracts – how the contracts are authenticated, how these contracts will be designed in a complex chain of processes with many agents involved, and how arbitration related to contracts will be handled. Further, IS research may point to regulatory aspects of BCs with regard to what must be encrypted and shared (such as for authenticating news and information sources), and how security will be managed. For instance, government demand for access to private keys to view blocks for surveillance and monitoring, versus the requirements of privacy and protection from persecution.

2.2. Work-from-home and gig workers

The gig economy is driven by online platforms that hire workers on an ad hoc, short-contract, and mostly informal basis. Well-known examples of these include Uber and Airbnb globally and Ola and Swiggy in India. These platforms have grown immensely since the wide availability of smartphones from 2010 onwards. During the lockdown, workers employed by these platforms have suffered heavily, as the demand for their services, taxi rides, rentals, or skill work, has disappeared ( Bhattacharya, 2020 ). Further, since these workers had no guaranteed salaries, their incomes dropped dramatically.

In the post-pandemic scenario, there is likely to be, in the short term, a slow return of gig economy workers, as manufacturing and service firms return to their old activities. However, we anticipate that in the longer term as the threat of infection and spread recedes, the gig economy will thrive. This will also be driven by the WFH culture.

Work-from-home and gig work has received attention in IS research, through topics in telecommuting, digital nomads, and virtual teams. One key issue is that of work allocation and collaboration, across and inside teams, and across projects. This issue will face a rise in scale and importance in the post-pandemic world, as the numbers of WFH and gig workers increase. Research may focus on aspects of the design of work norms, work contracts, trust-building, and team-building, amongst others.

Research on telecommuting and virtual teams ( Belanger, Collins, & Cheney, 2001 ; Morrison-Smith & Ruiz, 2020 ) has a long history in IS literature. Issues include the nature of “distance” whether temporal, spatial, or cultural, and the psychological needs of workers, the technological support and design for this kind of work, and many others. This research is important for the post-pandemic period.

We anticipate that the “dark side” of virtual teams and dispersed work also assumes importance in the post-pandemic world. Substantive issues related to technostress - particularly work overload and presenteeism arise in these situations. Research will have to address issues of design of collaborative work, evaluation, team performance and motivation, stress, and the issue of continuous learning.

2.3. Workplace monitoring and technostress

Another aspect of digital use by large sections of the working population is that of constant workplace monitoring and being on-the-job continuously. Those working from home using video conferencing technology find themselves under intense scrutiny and all interactions are “hyper-focused” ( Kalia, 2020 ). Digital technology makes it easier for bosses and managers to call and locate subordinates at any time, knowing that they can be reached at all times. Though there is anecdotal early evidence that this has led to an increase in productivity, it has also led to increased technostress ( Ayyagari, Grover, & Purvis, 2011 ; Tarafdar, Tu, Ragu-Nathan, & Ragu-Nathan, 2007 ) where employees must learn new technologies, be available for work at almost all times, stay with digital devices all the time, and cope with multi-tasking.

Post-pandemic, it is likely that workers' organizations will demand no-digital hours, where they will find refuge from the constant work pressure. Research may address the concerns of work equity, balance, and managing stress.

2.4. Online fraud

Along with the surge in the use of digital technologies, we are now witnessing a rise in online fraud, scams, intrusions, and security breaches. The pandemic has created a scenario of insecurity that is inviting fraudsters to exploit the crisis situation by extracting money or information or by creating vulnerabilities ( Agarwal, Sengupta, Kulshrestha, Anand, & Guha, 2017 ) Many users are beginning to rely on digital resources extensively, some for the first time, and are becoming targets for fraud and scams. Organizations and governments are aware of this threat and are taking countermeasures – for instance, some governments took a strong stand against Zoom sessions for education, forcing the platform provider to upgrade security ( Yu, 2020 ).

It is likely that these scams and frauds will increase in intensity after the pandemic. Organizations will implement massive security arrangements, along with extensive information campaigns by government departments. Security innovations and firms that offer security services will rise. Research will likely focus on managing security, assess the causes of breaches, and the economic and social loss from them.

2.5. Internet access and digital divide

Information technology, and particularly the internet, will remain central to the post-pandemic scenario, where innovations will drive the surge in use. A key aspect of this surge will be the management and regulation of the internet itself. Though the internet is a global resource and no one country can control its protocols and features, its local access and availability remain an in-country issue. During the pandemic too some countries have restricted access to the internet ( Chhibber, 2020 ), for certain reasons.

The regulation of the internet will become crucial after the pandemic as it will remain a policy tool for governments. They can intercede on aspects of monitoring, bandwidth control, surveillance, intermediary liability, and e-commerce.

The pandemic has brought the world to a situation where those not connected to the internet are facing total exclusion. With strict social and physical distancing measures in place, new routines require accessing the internet for most services. Hence, those on the wrong side of the digital divide are completely left out. Reasons for the divide are many: unaffordable device access, unaffordable Internet access, content relevance, access skills or government ordered Internet shutdowns( Armbrecht, 2016 ; Scheerder, van Deursen, & van Dijk, 2017 ) In developing countries, the condition is more serious. Thus, it becomes extremely important to explore the possibilities of ensuring connectivity. Although these issues have been researched and discussed earlier ( Warschauer, 2004 ), COVID-19 has brought about a situation where internet access seems to have become necessary for survival. As a few studies have suggested, access or no-access to ICTs may reinforce societal inequalities ( Ragnedda, 2017 ), where the post-pandemic situation may enhance this further. With substantial use of technology in accessing basic requirements like health and education, it is imperative to understand the impact of the digital divide on social equality. Therefore, it calls for researchers to examine the impact of connectivity to draw policymakers’ interest and, perhaps, offer ways to enhance it towards better inclusion.

2.6. Internet governance: net neutrality and zero-rating

Heavy use of the internet during the pandemic, for various purposes, has raised people's data requirements. With a significant digital divide in societies, this surge in the Internet data requirement has revived the discussion on zero-rating plans.

Zero-rating plans enable firms to let users access data from their sites and services, without having to bear data charges. Usually, this is not strictly permitted as it violates the basic principles of net neutrality, where internet traffic has to have the same priority and cost.

India, for instance, had an exemplary record of regulating zero-rating plans. Although the government did not permit the implementation of such plans, in the aftermath of the pandemic, the telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI) decided to allow waiving charges for data and voice for certain websites (; COAI, 2020 ). The list primarily consisted of the sites related to COVID-19 - such as the World Health Organisation and India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The list also included some private players. The principal aim was to allow people, across all socio-economic levels, access COVID-19 related information.

Given that zero-rating plans can be useful in exceptional circumstances, as is evident from the example of India, research on the conditions on various parameters where allowing ZR plans may increase social welfare has enormous practical implications, both for firms as well as regulators. The existing literature on net-neutrality regulations and zero-rating plans ( Belli, 2017 ; Cho, Qiu, & Bandyopadhyay, 2016 ) forms the basis to enhance research in this aspect. Issues to be studied include: expanding telecom infrastructure, providing subsidized internet devices, free extra data, or waiving off users’ subscription fees ( Shashidhar, 2020 )

2.7. Internet governance: shutdowns

In current times, when the productivity of people depends significantly on the internet, its shutdown can be extremely detrimental to societies ( ISOC, 2019 ) However, internet shutdowns are not uncommon even in times like these. The internet was shutdown in Kashmir, a union territory in India, since August 5th, 2019 and continued till May 2020, making it the longest ever imposed in a democracy ( Masih, Irfan, & Slater, 2019 ) Basic internet services, such as filing for driving licenses, were accessed by locals using the Internet Express, which is a train that shuttles Kashmiris to the nearest town where they can get online. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce estimates $1.4 billion in losses owing to the internet shutdown ( Masih et al., 2019 ). Similar events are regularly noted across various other countries, Arab Spring being the significant starting point.

With the pandemic, when the internet has become the most important tool available to citizens, the impact of Internet shutdowns has become grimmer. Shutdowns lead to severe implications for all aspects of life, and there are many issues that require research in this regard. The impacts resulting from a climate of uncertainty can potentially discourage foreign investors and spill over to a wide range of sectors, including education, healthcare, press and news media, and e-commerce ( Kathuria, Kedia, Verma, Bagchi, & Sekhani, 2018 ). It is important to understand the far-reaching human rights impact of internet shutdowns, which are exacerbated in the current scenario. Shutdowns have deep political reasons and in many cases the consequences are indeterminate. Research can focus on aspects of domino-effect consequences leading to grave political crises.

2.8. Digital money

Digital payments and digital currencies are likely to have a key role in the post-pandemic situation. As digital payments are contact-less they will be encouraged by governments, and will likely see a surge. This will also be boosted by the gig economy and WFH situations.

There are two distinct phenomena related to digital money that has aided the fight during the pandemic. First, banknotes and coins were suspected to be carrying the virus and digital payment was preferred to the ‘dirty money’ ( Gardner, 2020 ; Samantha, 2020 ). Online delivery services were encouraging customers to make payments through digital payment systems like a credit/debit card or mobile payments, with mandates by the government in several parts of India ( Bhandari, 2020 ). This is likely to result in a surge in digital payment usage, which will lead to work on the diffusion of digital payment technology. Second, during the lockdown, there was a loss of jobs, and governments provided aid through payment apps and digital payment modes. These are a convenient mode of fund transfer from donors to recipients, as seen in previous crisis relief cases as well ( Pollach, Treiblmaier, & Floh, 2005 ). In various crisis and disaster events, where the mobility of civilians was restrained, many mobile payment service providers (e.g. Vodafone in Afghanistan, Safaricom in Kenya, and Orange in Africa) provided quick funds transfer of remittances from migrants to their homes, and relief aid from the government to victims ( Aker, Boumnijel, McClelland, & Tierney, 2016 ; Pega, Liu, Walter, & Lhachimi, 2015 ; Wachanga, 2015 ). This is once again observed in the Covid-19 crisis and needs further examination.

2.9. Surveillance and privacy

Issues of surveillance and privacy are gaining prominence with digital usage during lockdowns. Commentators, such as Yuval Harari, have written about the potential for state surveillance “under the skin” ( Harari, 2020 ) as governments rely on digital means to monitor the spread of the pandemic. As many governments have started using apps on smartphones to monitor infected persons and trace their contacts, civil society organizations have raised privacy and state surveillance concerns ( Pant & Lal, 2020 ). Post-pandemic, these measures of monitoring populations for epidemiological reasons with digital means are likely to continue and become prevalent. Though the concerns of privacy and surveillance are valid and have to be addressed, these digital platforms are the most reliable and efficient way of tracking disease spread.

“Surveillance is a distinctive product of the modern world” ( Misa, Brey, & Feenberg, 2003, p. 161 ), and today we are living in a surveillance society where any internet-based activity using a mobile phone or other electronic gadgets can be monitored and accessed in unfathomable ways ( Gilliom & Monahan, 2012 ; Lyon, 1994 ). This has resulted in a surge in IS research on implications of such web or app-based surveillance in applications including mobile health apps ( Lupton, 2012 ), environment monitoring and pollution control apps ( Castell et al., 2015 ), self-tracking apps ( Barassi, 2017 ), and parental surveillance ( Ghosh, Badillo-Urquiola, Guha, LaViola, & Wisniewski, 2018 ). Covid-19 has introduced a new application of surveillance for tracking citizens with the symptoms of the virus. This includes the Covid-19 tracker in China ( Davidson, 2020 ), the Aarogya Setu app for tracking infectious citizens in India ( Shahane, 2020 ), and contact tracking apps in the United States ( Guynn, 2020 ). While these technologies are innovations for fighting the global pandemic today, the issue of government surveillance on citizens has evolved repeatedly. Research can focus on the multiple benefits of these apps, but also should not ignore the potential social complications that are possible to arise, including the historic problem of bureaucratic control by the government, using IT ( Gandy, 1989 ).

Closely related to surveillance is the issue of privacy that mobile apps, including Covid-19 trackers, often tend to threaten users’ personal information ( Gu, (Calvin) Xu, Xu, Zhang, & Ling, 2017 ; Joy, 2020 ). For example, online classes during the pandemic lockdowns have suffered issues of ‘intrusion of privacy’ as students and teachers are on camera in the private spaces of their homes ( Garcia, 2020 ). Privacy in the digital age has remained a research topic of high priority for IS researchers ( Belanger et al., 2001 ; Smith, Dinev, & Xu, 2011 ). Privacy has also been considered by IS adoption and usage researchers, with privacy risk as a dominant and recurring factor in studies on mobile payments (e.g., Johnson, Kiser, Washington, & Torres, 2018 ; Luo, Li, Zhang, & Shim, 2010 ), location-based mobile services ( Zhou, 2012 ), and social networking sites ( Aghasian, Garg, Gao, Yu, & Montgomery, 2017 ; Youn & Hall, 2008 ). It would be interesting to examine the different privacy concerns of users while adapting both Covid-19 tracking apps, and online classroom applications. The risks involved in the breach of privacy by these two technologies are unalike and must be investigated with adequate contextual references.

3. Implications for research and practice

In this section, we revisit some of the key issues that are important for research and practice. Our discussion is based on the assumptions about the post-pandemic situation and the aspects of IS research presented above.

3.1. Implications for research

  • 1 While deploying security technologies like the blockchain, it will be important to understand the implications of smart contracts, their integration in workflows, and their effectiveness in complex resource-constrained settings, as in developing countries. Further, understanding the implications of secure and non-erasable technologies like blockchains will become relevant for regulation.
  • 2 Many research issues arise with regard to work-from-home and gig work, which include aspects of trust, measurement of performance, communication effectiveness, and collaboration.
  • 3 It can be expected that the dark side of virtual work and gig work, will raise questions of stress, presenteeism, work overload, surveillance, and monitoring. New and severe forms of digital surveillance will have to be understood and their implications gauged.
  • 4 Though much work has been done in understanding the parameters and impact of the digital divide, it will be important to understand how those without access suffer more from the consequences of the pandemic when the world survives on digital communications and operations.
  • 5 Management of the internet within countries is important, and aspects of enhancing networks include regulating zero-rating plans cautiously, seeing their implications for welfare, and how they can enhance access.
  • 6 Internet shutdowns during and after a pandemic lead to severe difficulties for citizens, who have come to depend on these services. Research has to examine the direct, second-order, and third-order impacts of these shutdown measures.
  • 7 Research on digital payments and their impact in crisis situations, for providing aid and subsidies to affected populations, and for disaster management.
  • 8 Surveillance issues about the extent of data collection by contact tracing apps are important areas of research. Issues of persistence and elimination of data, the expanse of data collection, sharing of data between apps, and the multiple trade-offs involved.

3.2. Implications for practice

  • 1 Design of secure technologies, like blockchain-based applications, for the surge in online education and healthcare activities.
  • 2 Policy for regulating digital infrastructure needed for increased digital transformation.
  • 3 Design of technologies for managing secure online interactions – for education, healthcare, payments.
  • 4 Design of apps for contract tracing and disease surveillance that balance privacy versus public health.
  • 5 Managers will have to understand resistance to technology and ways to manage change, both among employees as well as customers.
  • 6 Given the significant role which the internet is about to play in times to come, Internet intermediaries will work with government and civil society to address privacy and surveillance issues for better adoption of technology.

4. Conclusion

We understand that a pandemic can have severe consequences ( Keys, 2000 ), including changing the political contour of the world, destroying empires, and creating nations. For the Covid-19 pandemic, we envisage a dramatic shift in digital usage with impacts on all aspects of work and life. How this change plays out remains largely dependent on our responses to and shaping of the emerging trends.

In this paper, we have outlined what we see as some key trends and research issues that need to be examined urgently. They will have substantial consequences in the future.

CRediT authorship contribution statement

Rahul De’: Conceptualization, Writing - original draft. Neena Pandey: Writing - original draft. Abhipsa Pal: Writing - review & editing.

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How The Pandemic Has Changed The Way We Communicate

NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks with Amelia Aldao, a clinical psychologist in New York City, about how the pandemic has impacted the ways we communicate with one another.


Here in the United States, some 1,700 people are still dying every day, and tens of thousands are getting infected. It's been almost a year since the pandemic changed every aspect of our lives and, in particular, the way we communicate. We asked some of you to tell us about how you've talked to the people in your life, what's worked for you over the last year and what hasn't.

JAY DANIELS: Before COVID-19, we would, you know, have our occasional phone calls where I called my parents, like, every Wednesday. And I talked to my sister every once in a while. But the pandemic has changed all that. So we've gone from infrequent communication to now every Friday night, we have a Zoom dinner where the three families can get together, and the grandkids can see each other, and we can talk and have dinner together. We don't ever miss it.


JESSICA LINEHAM: On Thursday, March 20, 2020, my book club was scheduled to meet. Another member suggested we get together on Zoom, something we'd never done before. The rest is history. Since then, we've met up every single Thursday. We don't talk about a book every week, but we do spend a few hours chatting, commiserating and remembering what it's like to see our friends. And while I'm looking forward to getting vaccinated and seeing them in person, I have a feeling we'll keep up our more frequent Zooms, too.

KAREN FREEMAN: I've always really loved writing handwritten letters and receiving them in the mail. So at the beginning of the pandemic, when I was missing my colleagues and friends, I gathered a bunch of postcards and started writing one to someone every day at lunch, someone I was thinking of and missing. And it was a great opportunity to connect with them. I loved receiving notes back and texts and people telling me how much it meant that I was thinking of them.

CLAIRE O'KEEFE: I teach community college, and probably the biggest change that I've witnessed is how the technologies that we rely on for remote learning have this tendency to bring new student voices into the conversation. Traditional face-to-face classes have a way of rewarding one kind of student, the one who's good at speaking extemporaneously and who is comfortable raising their hand. But now I hear from everybody, whether it's via discussion boards or the chat feature. And all of those multiple entry points have this wonderful, magical way of just blowing the class wide open.

CHRIS WELLS: My friends and I always found it hard to get together. And then the pandemic struck last March, and we found ourselves home alone. One thing that we all have in common is that we are Trekkies, meaning we love "Star Trek." And so we got together one night on Zoom and decided to watch an episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" together through one of the watch party services. Believe it or not, we've been getting together almost every night since then.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That was Jay Daniels (ph), Jessica Lineham (ph), Karen Freeman (ph), Claire O'Keefe (ph) and Chris Wells (ph). While technology has been great for some people - and shoutout there to those "Star Trek" fans - there's a lot we do lose through a screen - eye contact, body language, nonverbal cues. We spoke with Amelia Aldao - she's a therapist in New York - about the future of post-pandemic communication. I asked her if we found ways to compensate for what we've lost.

AMELIA ALDAO: To be honest, no. If you actually think about it - right? - we are not necessarily making eye contact. We're looking at the person on the screen, but we're not really looking at the camera. And if we are looking at the camera, we're not actually looking at the person. And that's actually very different, right? It's sort of changing the way in which we are looking into each other. So the eye contact is off.

And I've noticed myself, my clients and also some of my friends as well that then when we go see people in real life, we get a little awkward with the whole eye contact because we're sort of forgetting how to do it outside of the small circle of people that maybe live in our household or that we see regularly. So the eye contact is a big adjustment that we're all going to be facing in the next few months, to be honest.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So I asked people on Twitter what their experience has been with communicating during COVID, and some people had some really wonderful responses. You know, people are now handwriting each other letters as a reaction against this kind of enforced virtual world that we find ourselves in. They're playing board games virtually. They're talking with family that lives far away more often than they would otherwise. So there is, you know, something positive that we can take away from all this. Do you think we will take away some of this virtual connection when we move forward - there'll be a sort of hybrid?

ALDAO: Yeah, I absolutely think so, and I hope so as well. It is convenient to use all these technologies to communicate, and that's useful. What we're missing by doing things that are efficient - this is usually in general, right? Whenever we optimize for efficiency, we tend to lose depth, and we tend to lose connection. So I think it's going to be finding a balance between using technology so that we can do certain things more efficiently, faster, better and then find time and space to connect with people differently, one-on-one, in the sort of messiness of the real world.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What do you tell your clients about how they should go back into the world as this pandemic and its effects end?

ALDAO: So the first thing that I tell my clients and my friends and myself and everybody who's willing to listen, to be honest, is that this is not going to be a switch that we turn on and off. Basically, approach this as a quote-unquote "exposure exercise." You know, maybe you grab a coffee with a friend one week. And then maybe two weeks later, you decide to make that into a dinner with a friend or a dinner with a friend and another friend.

So that's what I tell people - be patient. It's going to take a long time. But at the same time, you have to take agency and put yourself out there. And it's going to be awkward. It's going to be difficult. It's going to be anxiety-provoking. But it's really the only path forward. So that's how we're going to get through all of this.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Dr. Amelia Aldao is a therapist in New York City.

Thank you very much.

ALDAO: Yeah, thank you for having me.

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