Three Benefits of the Move to Virtual Education
Whether children liked going to school or not, the pandemic has forced children in most states to adjust the way they attend school. Virtual education, whether partial or complete, is becoming part of the new normal. There is a lot of discussion around the pitfalls of this new reality as well as constant pressure for a return to “normal.” However, as with any massive global event, and any evolution like the one experienced in education, there come some benefits. 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
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 a mixture of 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. This intermingling of time zones and nationalities means that students are exposed to a much greater set of knowledge than ever before. And this knowledge is not just stored in a compact academic form, but it includes things such as different ingredients, languages, cultural practices, measurement systems, and much more.
Not only does this cultural diversity provide students with unmatched exposure, but it also instills within them a greater acceptance of differences among people, making them more empathetic individuals.
2. Greater Teacher-Parent Understanding and Connection
It may be surprising, but virtual education has shown greater and more evolved teacher-parent communication networks and bonds. Both parents and teachers have been thrown into the virtual education deep end collectively. 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 along with homeschooling their children. Parents are gaining a deeper understanding of what their teachers are doing as they are often observing from the sidelines or receiving 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. What this situation results in is 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 how to adjust to speaking via 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 are using programs such as Zoom, Google Classroom, and Skype – all at an age much younger than even their older siblings. This increased familiarity with technology is an asset that these children will carry with them into their professional lives, and 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 for more parents to attend meetings and have a voice in the PTA. Check out this podcast for more details on how to modernize 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 along with it. After all, it is important to remember that while online education might not have been the preferred mode of teaching, it carries with it a range of benefits, and it is in everyone’s best interests to maximize on those features.