Is online learning fun and effective? Children speak up

Whether you call it virtual classroom, online education, or distance learning, school is different at these times. Fortunately, the internet paved a way for kids to get on with their education even from the comfort of their homes. Technology in education has never been this beneficial.  But how are children faring in a virtual academic environment?

Advantages and disadvantages of online learning

For those who have the technology for a virtual classroom, learning is safe and convenient. No exposure to the dangers of the outside world. No struggles from the morning alarm to the drive to school. Children are also able to learn better and retain more information because they have opportunities to back-read eBooks or rewatch teacher presentations as well as to skip and accelerate through topics as they wish. There are fewer distractions, too, since there are no peers who divert focus and attention. Teachers get to learn more about digital education as well. It may seem daunting at first, learning about aspect ratio, white balance, and all the other video editing tools and processes, but it is a good way for them to adapt to technology. There are, however, challenges for both teachers and students. There is nothing like in-person human interaction. It is essential for growing children to communicate with other people apart from family members at home. “I loved getting to see my friends every day in the school environment. Now I feel as though I’m losing friendships I had at school since we can’t go anymore.” says a student from Norfolk, VA. “I miss the loud and crazy lunchroom.” says a student from Nashville. “I also find it very hard to find an ‘escape’ from school. Since it all takes place at my home.” says another student from Tennessee. As for teachers, the teaching process is not quite fulfilled and not as rewarding in a digital setup. They are unsure if their students are able to keep up and they are not able to monitor their progress. Online learning is also a huge challenge for students who do not have the luxury of going online, such as an internet connection, computer, printer, and even headphones.

Types of online videos for learning

The digital world is not new to children and it is a thrill for them to use it for school rather than just games and web browsing. The new platform of education is different for online learning. It involves more frequent use of videos, such as:
  • Instructional or training videos – These instructor-led videos are more common for distance learning. Teachers record videos of themselves discussing a certain topic or lesson – a digital version of the traditional in-class setup.
  • Demonstrations – These are ideal for lessons that involve processes for doing or creating something. Teachers need to make a shot list of all the key details or actions that need to be captured on video so that the students are able to see and understand each step better. These are great for laboratory experiments, art, and anything that involves actions.
  • Scenarios or Simulations – Since in-person social interaction is not possible in a virtual classroom, teaching students through filmed situations can help assist with learning. These can involve real actors or animated characters.
  • Student-led videos – In return, students can also be mandated to submit video homework. These give them the opportunity to present, explain, and recite even in a virtual setting.

How parents feel about it

The sudden transition to online learning is both good and bad for parents. It is a good thing that their children are able to push through with their education even though in a virtual setting. They got peace of mind knowing that their kids are safe and protected at home. However, most parents are worried that their children might be falling behind in this setup. Moms and dads are also worried that their children might be more exposed to internet dangers and unsolicited content.

The future of remote classrooms

The experiences are different for everyone. The sudden transition to online learning, knowing that teachers do not have sufficient training and not all families have internet access, led some people to believe that it would not be conducive to proper learning. However, there are also others who believe that these challenges may bring up a new hybrid model of learning that offers significant benefits. For now, students and their parents would have to make the most of the virtual learning environment that teachers can offer.

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