By Lex Grattan
It has been over two years since the COVID-19 pandemic swept through our nation and we are still feeling its effects every day. Students, parents, and teachers have all become versed in virtual learning as educators took their classes online while COVID was surging. The success of these online learning efforts had varied as all involved were learning how to navigate interactions with each other through a screen while also figuring out new applications for virtual learning. The general public seems to be divided on their opinions of virtual learning and this most likely will not change.
Some have adopted the belief that online learning is more convenient than traditional learning as it allows students to work from home and to move at their own pace. Others believe that it is less effective than in person learning and not worth some of the long term effects it may cause. Students enrolled in virtual learning often voice that they miss the socialization that in person schooling offers. Online learning relies on access to technology and many low income families struggle with this leading to many low income students falling behind in their studies and decreased engagement.
There is no doubt that distance learning comes with obstacles, but students that cannot attend in person classes are tremendously benefitting from this new learning format. Virtual learning has opened the doors for students unable to attend traditional learning to receive the same education as their in person classmates. Virtual teachers are praising the new learning platforms for leveling the playing field of their students as factors like age, dress, physical appearance, disabilities, race, and gender are largely absent. While there are many drawbacks to this new learning platform, students that need it are reaping the benefits of receiving their education in a way that works for them.
This is a very exciting time in education as ways to teach are constantly changing and technology is advancing. Online courses offer a solution to students who cannot attend in person learning, or simply feel more comfortable working in their own environment. In order for these new online courses and platforms to be successful educators must think first of what is most beneficial for the students. Online learning does not work for everyone, but for those that does it should be considered as an option.