How Online Education Is Both A Blessing And A Curse
Posted On August 13, 2020
Online education has been heavily pushed as an effort to adapt to the current pandemic. Is it the future, or are there too many benefits to traditional learning in the classroom?
How is online education taking over?
Many sectors, including the education sector, have been slow to adapt technology. There have always been concerns on the effectiveness of online communication, work and education compared to their traditional counterparts. It has long been regarded that in-person interaction is best, but has this notion been accurate?
Covid-19 has forced the hand of many to adopt new ways of communicating, working and learning. Zoom and other online platforms have allowed many to enjoy virtual interaction with little impediment. Even older generations, with a little training, were able to pick up the new technology relatively easily.
The blessings of online education
There are many benefits of online education. Technology has come a long way, and now there are educational technologies that allow for high quality learning.
Despite the general dogma being that most people are visual learners, doing seems to be the best way to solidify theoretical concepts in a memorable way. Examples can be drawn to software that allows students to manipulate certain systems (for instance in science) and see immediate effects on-screen.
There is also some efficiency that comes about from reduced travel. This allows for greater mental clearance and time to prepare for material. Moreover, online education has paved a path for students that cannot attend school in the future to still join their classmates in learning from the comfort of their own homes. This may help improve attendance and academic success.
Much like university style learning management systems, the push for online education for high school students has accelerated online systems that can help students stay organised and on top of their homework. The use of these tools can also streamline plagiarism checks and can help prevent cheating.
The curse of online education
Kids are very impressionable, especially in their early years. Interaction through technology is not the same as face to face interaction, and it has been documented that such interaction in large amounts leads to antisocial behaviour and anxiety when engaging in the real world. This, in addition to the already online skewed reality of teenagers can lead to a generational lack of empathy and emotional intelligence.
It is also well observed that technology reduces the quantity and quality of engagement and can exacerbate already short attention spans. It is much easier to find distraction when facing a screen than when you are in a classroom. There are more excuses that can be made and quite frankly the stakes are low for constructive interaction.
Another curse of online education is the suspension of extracurricular activities. In many instances these are valuable opportunities for students to not only interact with external professionals and experience their work but to broaden their horizons and be inspired to take up a particular path in life.
Perhaps something that is neglected when making the decision to study online rather than in-person are the friendships and often lifelong bonds that are created between peers at high school. This is a rare environment where kids spend a huge amount of time together. This type of environment is rarely replicated in adult life – and so it’s important to preserve it.
Verdict on online education
Despite its many benefits, the complete abolition of in-person education definitely has some serious drawbacks. For an optimal education – from both the perspective of learning and social development – there needs to be a good mix of both online education and in-person education.
The best way to approach this would be to apply online education where it increases the efficiency of the education system, but to return to in-person schooling where it is safe to do so.
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