Reflective thinking ,  allows humans to examine the past with intentionality, learn from what happened, and adapt accordingly. We explore thoughts, feelings, and actions, mine out insights, and enhance awareness. Our community incorporated reflective thinking to learn from a unique year in which our world was significantly disrupted due to COVID-19.
Reflective thinking allows us to better explore diverse perspectives as we scrutinize our assumptions, norms, and values
Reflective thinking yields new knowledge. We can use it to modify our ways of thinking and enhance our understanding. Our community benefitted from the power of reflective dialogue as educationalists, engineers, and technologists taught us about their own realizations during the pandemic. Fresh context-dependent pedagogical approaches became necessary due to dramatically altered environments in institutions of higher education. The authors showed us how the pandemic exposed unidentified digital divides not only due to access, but also due to ability.
Reflective thinking allows us to better explore diverse perspectives as we scrutinize our assumptions, norms, and values. Our community reflected on how the pandemic became a lightning rod for disparate viewpoints relative to masks, vaccinations, and delegation to digital technologies.
Reflective thinking is a vigorous and dynamic process. As we look back to past experiences, we explore our thoughts and beliefs during events as they happen, and contemplate actions we may wish to take in the future. Our community highlighted how the pandemic necessitated a fluid approach to privacy as we sought to balance this fundamental (versus absolute) right with public health and safety during the pandemic. Through reflection, our authors proposed future adaptations to better complement such technologies as test and trace systems with well-rounded support systems that better address the human elements of trust and emotional needs.
Reflective thinking is best as a cyclic process to enable us to enact continuous improvement. Our authors offered durable solutions to redesign macro-level approaches (e.g., governmental centralization), transparency relative to data management, and ongoing feedback loops that give an uninterrupted voice to society.
As we move toward a post-pandemic world with the hopes of herd immunity, our herd gathered to use rich reflective analysis  so we can move forward stronger by better determining strategies, prioritizing objectives, and developing, executing, and managing plans as we move toward a post-pandemic world that builds back fairer, not just better.
Christine Perakslis serves as an adjunct professor, as well as a consultant for various industries. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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