Reconnaissance: a preliminary survey to gain information. (Merriam-Webster)

Last year VWBPE moved into the stars, going where no avatar has ever gone, as we explored the possibilities of what might be. This year we take a closer look at the new territory that has been discovered in 2020.

Reconnaissance is the subtle art of exploring areas outside of our expertise that may be unfriendly to our current outlook or world view. Before this pandemic, the idea of a telecommuting economy seemed more like a dystopian fantasy than it would be applied to every aspect of our society. Today, over 75% of all jobs have some meaningful form of work-from-home options available to them.

No more so has this impacted our society than in the area of education. Educators are in the midst of the reconnaissance mission of their lives: not just to overcome, but to surpass all expectations of what is hoped for and possible. Classes at all levels from kindergarten to college and university have moved between fully on-site to fully online to hybrid models and some that ‘toggle’ back and forth in response to COVID-19 outbreaks. The resilience of educators in these times has been extraordinary!

We ask educators to consider what has changed over the past year as they have ventured out on missions through unexplored territory and to share their research and insights into this new landscape in which we find ourselves.

Specifically, what features, resources, and capabilities are either adding to, or reducing, stress in your field of practice, with the students and families that you are engaged with, and the policies and guidelines that are supporting your ability to do your job, online, in the best way possible. In what directions has your reconnaissance taken you?

All subject areas and virtual environments that support teaching and learning are welcome.