Nearly a year has gone by since schools and colleges worldwide closed their doors to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Students are made to sit back at home and switch to the "new normal" – online learning, for an unknown duration. This transition from a "brick and mortar" classroom to online learning seems to be the only and most effective education alternative to help kids continue learning from a place of their comfort. However, homeschooling seems like a learning holiday, the most extended holiday in history.
Needless to say, the e-learning marketplace has grown enormously in the past year. However, most parents did not accept it with all their hearts. Some parents love online learning, while some hate it. Most parents think remote learning is suitable for matured students, self-disciplined and motivated, but not for those dependent on others for support or are new to learning.
This rapid change towards virtual learning was the need of the moment to help children continue their learning, but is it admirable? Let us check out what do parent have to say.
What Parents Love
- According to Pew's research report, concerns about children who fall behind at school are particularly prevalent among parents of K-12 students who take online courses. The Pew research reports around 45% of parents say "they are very satisfied with the steps their children's school is taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus," and this is especially so among parents whose children are receiving in-person instruction only (52% vs 39% of those whose children are taking courses in person and online). While parents whose children attend school in person express some concern about their children being exposed to coronavirus at school: 62% are somewhat concerned, with 20% saying they are very concerned.
- Many parents see virtual schools as a silver bullet. These schools are great for instantly expanding the range of school district courses, including language classes and other extra-curricular classes.
- For many parents, online education is a good means of solving student problems. Students with time, social or school difficulties no longer need to seek a parent or guardian's assistance.
- Other best things that parents appreciate- customized learning. They believe that students can learn at their own pace in online learning, so struggling to keep a gifted student engaged or struggling up to speed is solved.
- According to a UNESCO survey, 79% of parents say elementary school students now have an online learning experience. They are also learning new ways to stay connected, with 64% using video conferencing to communicate with teachers.
- On a feedback portal, Jacob Jhonson, a parent of a Grade 9 student, states that online classes are an innovative way to continue learning even during the lockdown. According to him, online learning ensures that children do not miss the classroom and portions are covered and are not overwhelmed when the school reopens. Another thing that he likes is the extra time provided to clear doubts. However, in this feedback, he suggests conducting a questionnaire or a question and answers session to find out how much the children have understood and retained, by far.
- Some parents like the level of convenience offered through e-learning. They find that online learning saves them much time and concentrates on other productive activities.
- Next, good thing that sometimes parents do not need to drive their child to online courses after school. The convenience provided allows parents to be carefree and t at the same time gives the necessary personalized guidance.
- Another feature most valued in online education is flexibility. Since everything is available online, students accessing study materials and learning new things have become very convenient. And, also have the preference to choose the time to learn according to their suitability. Besides, online learning allows slow learners to take time to grasp the concept. They are allowed to learn at their own pace.
- Parents also love the fact that online learning allows them to teach and support their children at any time and anywhere. They no longer have to rely on professors to take a lesson.
- Parents are relieved of paying extra money for their children in travel school and other additional stationery expenses, the tuition since online learning has emerged. E-learning programs are cheaper than offline coaching courses. Everything is available online at no cost, from online classes to improving online textbooks' knowledge and skills.
What Parents Hate
- While there are many online tools for parents to monitor their progress, parents are concerned that children may not get the same triggers in class. This may be a reason for students to slip behind.
- For kids who love to engage in sports, meetings, clubs and the social world of school, the virtual school can be isolating. They are cut off from social interaction. It has the potential to affect their mental health.
- Not all students love school. They look for more spare time, and they end up getting much amount to too much freedom in online schooling.
- Virtual tuition can provide the perfect recipe for the student's failure more interested in the advanced party than the advanced placement classes.
- Since then, there is no evidence that virtual schools provide an education comparable to traditional school. Parents are sceptic about the overall performance of the school.
- Referring to the UN heads statement, some parents claim that exposure to the Internet, in reality, may expose children to the risk of "sexual exploitation and grooming online, as predators seek to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic." Online grooming, a worrisome product of the Internet and social media era, involves predatory adults who form online relationships with gullible children and manipulate or entice them to engage in sexual behaviour.
- In the UNESCO report, parents of young children disproportionately report that they struggle balancing their work/daytime responsibilities and their child (ren) 's schooling (51% for kindergarteners and 46% for elementary schoolers, compared to 38% for all respondents). These parents also report disproportionately that they have trouble keeping their children focused on school work (62% for pre-school children and 58% for primary school students).
- Approximately 76% of parents overall support virtual education and are likely to further support online education at home in the aftermath of COVID-19. However, 68% of respondents are concerned about "unauthorized access to online activities or unauthorized communications" with their children online.
- Many parents report that they have a terrible Internet connection; they indeed hate it. For instance, Byers, parent to child, in an interview, says, "I feel like we should be doing more. "But I just do not have that bandwidth," Byers said. "The fact that I am having trouble dealing with this is rather pitiful."
- She adds that her' work demeanour' is very different from her 'kid demeanour, she uses to have that 20-minute commute to switch or decompress, and now it is a flight of stairs, and she needs to be on. That is hard.
- Although more research indicates that parents are concerned about the quality of their child's education, 71 per cent say bullying is a big headache, reports EdWeek.
- Parent of a second-grader, Suharsh Dikshit, in a survey, says, "I have seen my child go through online classes, and I do not think it can replace offline learning completely as it is not as interactive as the physical classroom. However, a little online intervention provided a different workable model with enough breaks and flexibility is needed to continue learning."
As a parent, what would you say? What do you love and hate about virtual learning? Please share your perspective.