Three Benefits of the Move to Virtual Education
Updated: May 26
Whether children liked going to school or not, the pandemic has forced children in most states to adjust how they attend school. Virtual education is becoming part of the new normal, whether partial or complete. There is a lot of discussion around the pitfalls of this new reality and constant pressure for a return to “normal.” However, as with any massive global event and any evolution like the one experienced in education, some benefits come. Since we like to focus on the positive, we thought we would share some of the benefits we have heard from parents, PTOs and PTAs, teachers, and guests on our podcast, The Multipurpose Room.
1. The World is Your School - Virtual Education
Unlike traditional in-person education, virtual education is not restricted to the constraints of a brick-and-mortar school (or even your local community). Instead, technology can enable culturally and geographically diverse teaching moments. Teachers and students can now participate in discussions and activities from various countries, cultures, languages, and traditions. For instance, students in one part of the world can interact with a native French speaker as they take online language classes, while others may be able to learn baking in joint classes with students from across the world. Intermingling time zones and nationalities means students are exposed to much greater knowledge. And this knowledge is not just stored in a compact academic form and includes different ingredients, languages, cultural practices, measurement systems, and much more.
This cultural diversity provides students with unmatched exposure and instills a greater acceptance of differences, making them more empathetic individuals.
Here are some suggestions for incorporating global resources into your curriculum. Listen to this podcast for a teacher's perspective.
2. Greater Teacher-Parent Understanding and Connection
It may be surprising, but virtual education has shown more evolved teacher-parent communication networks and bonds. Parents and teachers have been collectively thrown into the virtual education deep end. While teachers struggle to adjust their courses to an online education system while grappling with the intricacies of technology, parents are striving to manage remote work and homeschool their children. Parents are gaining a deeper understanding of what their teachers are doing as they often observe from the sidelines or receive more detailed communications about the curriculum.
Similarly, while teachers are adjusting to new forms of technology, many parents are doing the same for their jobs. This situation results in a newfound sense of similarity between the positions of the two groups and, therefore, can make for smoother and more effective collaboration. For more resources on adjusting to speaking via the web versus in person, we have a speaking coach sharing tips here.
3. Technology Skill Development
There is no doubt that the generation of today’s children is more technologically-apt than the ones that came before them, and the pandemic shift to virtual education has only added to this fact. Children as young as four and five use programs such as Zoom, Google Classroom, and Skype – all at an age much younger than their older siblings. This increased familiarity with technology is an asset that these children will carry into their professional lives. It will benefit them in a world that is largely dependent on technology to function. Gone will be the days of meetings starting 5 minutes late because of technology issues!
The pandemic has also pushed parent-teacher groups, such as PTOs and PTAs, to become more reliant on technology. This has allowed more parents to attend meetings and have a voice in the PTA. Check out this podcast for more details on modernizing your PTA and the benefits of moving to online formats.
So, there you have it; some of the benefits that the somewhat unwilling shift to virtual education has brought. After all, it is important to remember that while online education might not have been the preferred teaching mode, it carries a range of benefits. It is in everyone’s best interests to maximize those features.