Written by: David McCarthy (Sophia’s Director of Education)
Today, there’s a huge demand from people to learn online; this has only been exacerbated by the recent Covid-19 crisis. Online learning is driving rapid change in the world. Even before COVID-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology; it is estimated that by 2025 the overall market for online education is projected to reach $350 Billion!
At Sophia High School we have been very proud of how quickly the students have adapted to an online education. Online learning can be as good or even better than in-person classroom learning. Research has shown that students in online learning performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction, but it has to be done right – with the right educational management team, teachers and technology behind it. Parents and students are starting to learn that the traditional method of rote learning to pass future exams (almost like a Victorian exam factory) is becoming obsolete, and is not preparing students for future life.
There are huge advantages to your children being taught online:
1. It is easy to use and is more effective
Once you have mastered the basics of home online learning, you will find that your children will complete work more readily and become better organised. Gone are the days when your children may have forgotten to take their textbook or exercise book to school and, hence, find it difficult to get involved in the lessons. Gone are the days where your children are complaining about back aches, because they are carrying heavy books around with them all day in their bag. Gone are the days when your children can not do their homework because they left their diary or their books behind at school. Gone are the days wasted travelling to school and back again. Most importantly, gone are the days when you ask your child how their day at school was and what they did… and they say ‘I can’t remember!.’ Never before have parents been more informed and involved in their child’s learning.
2. The work cannot get lost.
Computers, tablets and laptops allow students to send data quickly and to store it effectively (using cloud services) This means that it’s nearly impossible to lose their work. All the key work that the students send to the teachers is saved in the google classroom server. The same goes for feedback, and any other form of teacher-student communication: if it happens online, it will be stored safely for further reference.
3. It offers unlimited access to education resources.
Ian Gilbert, a well-known educationalist, once wrote a book Why do I need a teacher when I can Google? When it comes to eLearning, the knowledge out there will always supersede the knowledge of one individual teacher. The use of the internet opens a world of knowledge to them and, best of all, this knowledge is generally free. Children can use online libraries, online courses, education websites, Wikipedia, and even ordinary websites to learn something new every day.
4. It offers more opportunities for sharing and presentation.
Due to online learning, students have all these multimedia tools to present their views and thoughts. They can create presentations, slides with images, and include videos to support their point of view. They can share these not only with the other students, teachers and their parents, but with the whole world -if they so wish. This is important, as they can then receive incisive feedback on ways that they can improve their work.
5. No work is missed
Students often get left behind if they have been away from school for whatever reason, and these gaps in their education can have an educational impact on the future. One great thing about Sophia High School is that all our lessons are recorded. This means that if for any reason any student misses a lesson, he/she can go back and watch it at a time of their convenience. If they have not understood anything, they can then email the teacher to elaborate on what they have not understood. This is also great for revision, as any student can go back to any time of the lesson to pick up on any concept they forgot about. In a physical school, the lesson is over and no student can go back in a time machine to experience that lesson again.
6. It offers Individualised learning
We all know that students learn at their own pace. However, in a physical school, students have to learn at the pace that the timetable dictates. They are expected to understand and finish a piece of work in a certain time limit. The students who fall behind are not really catered for, they need more time to understand information and the key concepts being taught. It is the opposite for the gifted and talented, who often get bored and lack motivation, as they understand things too quickly. These are often left to complete the same type of exercises they have just completed!
With E-Learning, students move at their own pace and are given the time to understand new facts and concepts. Students can pick a time when they feel they are best suited to learn new skills and knowledge. This empowers them!
7. It improves computer skills.
This goes without saying. As they say, ‘practise makes perfect’. As students are using computers as the main means of communication and presenting work, their computer skills will improve week by week. Computers also offer students more of a chance to improve their creative skills, present their work to a wider audience and access constructive feedback
8. It offers learning simulations.
No longer are we simply limited by our imagination to what something would look like, or how something might work. Through 3d videos, virtual reality etc any student can take a trip to Mars to experience what it looks like, any students can travel back to World War 1 and experience what it was like being int the trenches, any student can travel to any major city in the world and visit its attractions. Any student can perform all sorts of scientific experiments in the security and comfort of your own house.