Are online schools the future?
COVID-19 has forced us to take stock of education and how we deliver it. According to Google Trends, searches for…
COVID-19 has forced us to take stock of education and how we deliver it. According to Google Trends, searches for the term ‘online schools’ rose dramatically last year – spiking in April and again in December. School closures are an obvious reason for this dramatic increase, but it’s also the case that some children have really taken to online learning and/ or have experienced difficulties in mainstream education settings. In this article, we look at the technology making online schools possible and discuss the pros and cons of online education!
How do online schools work?
Online schools offer kids an alternative to traditional in-classroom learning, whereby their learning is delivered wholly or primarily online. There tends to be two main types of learning at online schools (although some schools offer a combination):
a) Schools that offer a structured school day following a timetable (with lessons available as recordings so students can catch up if they miss them).
b) Schools that follow a distance-learning model with less teacher-student interaction but with regular online input from qualified teachers.
King’s College Online is one example of a global online school. The school offers 14 to 18-year-olds an online programme of learning as well as the ability to access support, learning and activities at over 60 physical campuses around the world should they wish to.
The future of online schools
Whilst the technology to make online schools a reality certainly exists, there are some obvious risks to this method of learning. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons:
Online schools may be a suitable option for families who are based overseas and want to access the UK curriculum.
Online schools might also be a viable option for kids like actors or sports people who have professional obligations and schedules to balance with education.
For parents who like the idea of home-schooling but don’t feel confident or able to do all of the teaching themselves, online schooling may be a good compromise.
Kids might miss the face-to-face interaction with their peers, playing in the playground and so on, that accompanies in-school learning. This could have an impact on their social skills and friendship groups.
2) The limitations of technology:
Some subjects are easier to teach online than others. For example, subjects like PE, art and science could prove trickier to deliver online than English and maths.
3) Evolving technology:
Whilst first-class technology is likely to be a given in online schools, new technologies are coming onto the market all the time and schools might experiment until they find the right match. Whilst this doesn’t need to be a disadvantage, it’s something parents should think about when choosing the school for their children.
The last year or so has certainly been a dynamic time in the world of education! Technologies such as iPads and laptops have allowed kids to follow lessons from home during school closures and avoid what could have been large spells outside of education completely. Are online schools the future? We’ll leave that up to you to decide!
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