Online Learning is Here to Stay
I have heard so many times from mainstream media that remote learning is not working during the pandemic. Students are not learning. From the beginning of this pandemic, schools and educational settings have been used as a political tool for leaders on both sides of the aisle. There is a plethora of evidence either way and who you listen to and what your experiences have been will certainly sway your opinion in this matter.
I have said many times in the training we have provided to schools and therapists trying to successfully provide remote learning; children are digital natives. What I mean is, they do not know a world without technology, and they use it consistently in their everyday lives. They have smartphones, computers, gaming systems, social media, YouTube, and apps for just about everything. How can we say that children are not learning from remote devices? Many times, as someone in their 50’s, I have turned to my children to help me to successfully navigate my newest smartphone and all of the latest features. Having grown up surrounded by technology, students have an inherent understanding that the previous generation does not possess.
Our children have been learning remotely long before the COVID-19 pandemic. This phenomenon is one that has occurred naturally as the technology available has been mainstreamed. As we all know, learning doesn’t only occur in a classroom and I have seen this over and over again in my own children. Am I saying that online school and remote learning is the only and best way for all students to learn? No! What I am saying is they were more prepared for remote learning than we even considered. Remote learning was already present prior to the current crisis we find ourselves experiencing. 57% of students in the US, before COVID19, were using digital learning tools daily in 2019. (Statista.com)
There are children and parents that need to be in a face-to-face classroom situation. There are children and parents that have embraced and thrived in an online setting. There are also children and parents that benefit most from a blended model where there are days at home and days in the school classroom. Children are going to learn the best in a model that fits the way they learn best. This has never been in doubt. What we as educators have been forced to consider with remote learning and schools closed due to the pandemic is how we can take what we have learned and apply it to a model of education that has not changed for decades. Technology and the digital age are not going to wait for us. Our children are learning remotely whether we embrace it or not.
Hopefully, we will take what we have learned and apply it to our educational system in a way that improves the lives of American children. Our children are not political pawns, and we should never allow the way we educate them to be used in such a fashion. Let us take the best of what we have learned and apply it to our systems. Embrace technology to foster the best education possible for the next generation. I think they will thank us for it.