The COVID-19 pandemic has had effects – both good and bad – for teachers, students and communities alike. That’s the message Capital Rotarians heard on Dec 16 when Dr. Jon Pederson (in photo) was guest speaker at the club’s biweekly Zoom meeting. Pederson is dean of the University of South Carolina’s College of Education. He said the coronavirus has spawned problems such as (1) symptoms of “Zoom fatigue” where online classes become a tiresome burden; (2) a cultural divide between people with easy internet access and others with little or none; (3) a loss of social and emotional experiences that children have during in-person classes; and (4) more stress for teachers in a profession that’s been losing its luster in recent years. On the plus side, Pederson sees (1) more creativity in finding new and different ways to engage students in their lessons; (2) more flexibility in meeting the needs of children inside and outside the classroom; (3) increased parent/community involvement in public schools; and (4) a growing recognition that broadband service is critical for not only learning but also economic development in a community. Pederson earned his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction-Science Education, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, and B.S. in Agriculture-Biochemistry and Nutrition at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He joined South Carolina’s College of Education as dean in 2016.