University of Oulu

Primary school education in the time of covid-19 : a literature review

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Author: Brina, Alex1; Delahunty, David1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Pages: 53
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : A. Brina; D. Delahunty, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-03-24
Thesis type: Bachelor's thesis


The impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic which originated in Wuhan in 2019 has had an unprecedented impact on everyday life over the past year. This is especially true for both students and teachers across the globe, with UNESCO (2020) estimating that school closures had affected over one and a half billion students across the globe at the end of 2020. Due to the pandemic teachers were suddenly forced with little warning, or training to adapt their teaching and pedagogical approaches from face-to-face teaching to distance and hybrid teaching. This thesis examines, via means of a literature review, how well primary school teachers were prepared for this shift, the role of technology in their teaching and the evolution of teaching practises during this shift to distant education. Additionally, support mechanisms available for teachers during this shift to distance teaching were also examined.

The theoretical background of the thesis first explores two educational trends, providing a definition, brief history, and different models available. The first educational theory is Computer-Based Education, a framework in which technology serves as a learning tool, facilitating learning through different practices, apps, and multimedia content; the second is distance education, which can simply be defined as “any form of providing education to students who are separated by distance (i.e., who are not physically present in the same space) and in which the pedagogical material is planned and prepared by an educational institution ranging from the first examples of correspondence courses arriving to today’s technology-based synchronous and asynchronous courses.

The first research question shows how, despite a very limited number of exceptions, the literature available and the surveys conducted in different areas of the world report a certain degree of insecurity among teachers in switching from face-to-face to distance education for different reasons, such as lack of training, confidence or appliances. The thesis follows with the exploration of the role of technology in distance education and how the teaching practices evolved during social distancing, highlighting how tools such as videoconferencing became widespread in the teaching practices. Concerning changes in teacher education according to the standards of distance education, some pre pandemic frameworks are provided in order to prepare teachers better for ‘emergency remote teaching’ despite the literature on the topic is still limited.

In addition to examining the issues facing teachers, several support mechanisms and educational technology solutions were also identified at the regional, national and community level. The private and public sectors have also provided a multitude of Educational technology solutions which teachers have also had the opportunity to utilise in the shift to online teaching.

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Copyright information: © Alex Brina; David Delahunty, 2021. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.