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There are pros and cons to every situation. Atypical to most COVID-19 coverage, I'm going to explain the societal advancements an epidemic can guide us toward achieving.

For example: did you know Isaac Newton created Calculus while quarantining himself from The Black Death?

Historically, epidemics have taught us to teach ourselves. In other words, the immense alone time we spend in efforts of dodging viral illness can lead us to unlock the inner-creativity we're generally distracted from. Although controversial, without previous epidemics, we may not have reached the level of societal development we see today. This is because crises encourage us to push forward: mentally, and as a species.

However, times are much different than those of past epidemics. Unlike the eras of the AIDs outbreak,  Spanish Flu, Boston Smallpox, and the Bubonic Plague, we essentially live in two dimensions: reality and digital. In earlier civilizations, it was instinctual for dwellers to quarantine themselves upon the outbreak of a virus. Today, not so much.

Why are we so slow to react in life or death situations? Perhaps because we have distance learning and remote work to fall back on. Still, this doesn't equate to invincibility.

We are the first in history to experience pandemia in this manner - being forced to stay home rather than wanting to stay home. I encourage you to dig within yourself during your extended isolation. Perfect your distance learning techniques, and let your brain roam. We're most creative when we let our brains wander. Who knows what can come of this quarantine.

Here are some examples of how past epidemics have impacted the course of civilization:

The Black Death (mid-1300s)

  • Changed the economic & social structure of Europe
  • Led to the creation of the Middle Class
  • Sparked interest in literacy, art, and experimentation
  • Led Shakespeare to turn to poetry for income after theaters closed. Venus and AdonisThe Rape of LucreceKing LearMacbeth, and Antony & Cleopatra are still studied today
  • Influenced Newton's development of Calculus, Optics, Laws of Motion, & Gravity

The Boston Smallpox Epidemic (1721)

  • Contributed to the first step towards vaccines
  • Led to the spread of variolation
  • Led to the creation of the first independent newspaper in the U.S.

The Spanish Flu (1918)

  • Was the first time public health began investigating the root causes of illnesses such as diet and living condition
  • By 1925: Every U.S. state began reporting national diseases in a new manner
  • By 1935: The U.S. deployed its first national health survey
  • By 1945: The first effective flu vaccine was discovered

Our biggest global issues concerning COVID-19 lie within ventilator accessibility, controlling the rate of spread, and providing protective equipment. Although many developments have been made in efforts to cater to the aforementioned obstacles - are they situational or will they prove to be futuristically applicable?

I'm sure you've heard "our children are our future," time and time again. Whether you're a distance learner yourself, a parent of an eLearner, or an educator providing content to our students - the time is now. We all have the potential to change the world in a manner where our innovations are valuable to not only just us but to all mankind. What it takes is tapping into your inner-self, and quarantining provides you with a long-term opportunity to do just that.

The infographic below outlines historical epidemics that have broken out across the globe. Here's how epidemics spur innovative thinking. Take care, and stay safe.


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The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

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Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

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FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

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In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

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FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

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Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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