Democratic Online Education

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Abstract

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, social structures and processes throughout the world have taken on new forms. At the time of the recent pandemic outbreak, no country in the world had a universal curriculum for teaching and learning in a digital environment. Data on computer and internet access points to significant socio-economic differences among learners. Democratic education relies on the idea that the entire educational system in all its segments should be based on democratic principles, meaning that democracy should be exercised in full in all educational processes. The new paradigm that emerged during the pandemic advocated a technology-based approach to education, while the methods used in online teaching did not take into consideration the characteristics of democratic education. Thus, online education compromised the principles of equality (of opportunity), freedom, and equity of all learners with respect to their socio-economic status. Such a crisis of education has seriously shaken John Dewey’s definition of teaching material as a result of social-cultural (co)construction. The article focuses on analyzing the possibilities of democratic education within the online education system. In addition to analyzing the implementation of democratic education during the pandemic, the article aims to examine possible new methods and approaches to improve democratic online education in the future. According to studies relying on the premise that geographical vicinity is not a prerequisite for the creation of communities, all democratic processes can be transferred into the online space and this represents the concept of e-democracy. Analyses of past practices have shown that the growing presence of e-democracy is followed by the need for online democratic education that would prepare students for the new form of democracy—a democracy that will be much more participatory and less representative.