As time goes on, we reach new levels of innovation and need in any part of our lives. The same is said for education. Online classes have been a thing for many years now, but have really seen a huge increase in usage in the last year or so. Will this be the new norm and be integrated into all schooling, will it fade away as time goes on, or will we see it as an option for any student to take rather than coming to school?
How Does it Work?
Typically, online education utilizes a video conferencing platform like Zoom, Skype, or a school/company organized platform. It can be one or two-way video, but will always be two-way audio to allow for questions and comments. By using the same book/material, students can follow along as the lesson goes on. At any point, the instructor can show their work on camera or vice-versa. Some platforms allow drawing on a pad or show slides that both the student and tutor can use. There is also a texting component to all of these platforms, so topics spelling and grammar can be conveyed quite easily!
How Does it Compare?
There are some obvious caveats to online education that just aren’t a factor with in-person learning. The most important one is how distracted one can be in front of a computer. A great way to sidestep this is to use a non-personal computer or an iPad that can only have one thing displayed at once. Past that, it feels less engaging to interact with a screen rather than a person right in front of you. This just takes time to get used to. Otherwise, as long as the teacher is just as passionate and is well-versed with their tools and the students stay focused, learning can be just as effective, if not more so! The reason why is because the utilities of video-learning lend themselves to speed and efficiency. Being able to type in a question, having interactive whiteboards, and the ability to mute some disruptive students (hopefully very rare!) are all great abilities.
What Else Can You Do?
Tutoring, online testing, flash cards, and YouTube instructional videos are all very popular alternative learning tools right now. Tutoring works virtually (see what I did there?) the same as online schooling, albeit in a one-on-one environment. The use of sites like Khan Academy, Quizlet, and even Wikipedia have been invaluable for students for a while now. One of the first things people think about when they’re lost and don’t know what to do is to search up a tutorial on YouTube. With so many resources there, educational topics are no different. We are seeing a new age of learning and must embrace it to utilize it to the fullest.