Being in the 21st Century, who would’ve thought online learning would actually happen by now? Especially given the circumstances of a world pandemic rushing the process, leaving everyone unprepared and in the deep-end, receiving the short end of the stick? Not only has it been an adjustment to teachers having to figure out how to deliver content in an online- friendly and practical way, it has been a change to the students and their routine of getting bags ready for school, packing their lunches, their reading folders and seeing their friends every day. Not to mention the parents! Having to try and change their work schedules or find appropriate arrangements for their children. I’m here to let you know that it’s not all bad, and amidst the craziness of it all, there are more pro’s than con’s, not only for parents but for their children’s success too!
First of all, students can still remain in their routine, from home. Think about it – not having to get them up earlier to get dressed and taking the drive to and from school will allow them to have more time to sleep in the morning, allowing for optimum brain function, as we all know how we can get when our sleep is compromised!
A lot of kids, if not all, are prone to shy away from asking questions in the classroom – whether it be from the embarrassment of not grasping the material, scared of being mocked or simply being too shy to speak up, which is where another advantage of online learning comes into play. The platform of online learning comes with a certain level of anonymity which provides a ‘safety net’ for the kids. It also allows for students to work at problems at their own pace and time, even with a deadline to meet – for example, if they can’t understand a particular topic, they have the time and ability to work on it longer, practice more questions and ask more questions about it to ensure they achieve maximum understanding. This is also where their confidence isn’t affected for asking questions or needing more time to understand.
Online learning also allows parents to see how their child learns best and helping them adapt to it. If a child is a hands-on learner, and has to face a series of mathematical questions, instead of trying to teach it traditionally, make it interactive by using objects at home to complete the task, such as counters or pieces of chopped up fruit (which can then be a healthy reward!). Or if a child is more of a visual learner, help them put information that can seem overwhelming with words, into something they can see such as a PowerPoint, visual cues or charts and graphs.
Another benefit is that it helps solidify ‘soft skills’ (transferable, general capabilities that set students up for life and its challenges ahead) that might not be as applicable to learn in the classroom. It teaches students time management skills, technology fluency and how to adapt to a new system/software, responsible use of technology and how to work remotely as a team.
There is no such thing as a ‘perfect classroom that caters for every student and all of their individual needs’, particularly students with special needs. When there is a learner diagnosed with a learning disability, such as ADD or ADHD who might be full of energy in the same classroom as one who is hypersensitive, or on the spectrum, a compromise must be made in one way or another. Online learning removes the need for this exact compromise as it provides students with a stable, familiar and secure environment that can be easily tailored to their specific needs.
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