Well, here we are! My final blog post for EC&I 830. The final topic I will be covering is whether online education is detrimental to the social and academic development of children. I had the opportunity to defend the disagree side of the argument. I found this as a great opportunity to explore online education from a different lens. For me, and I’m sure many, associate online education with COVID-19 and the time spent working with our students. Being in the business and field of education, I prioritize and value relationships and rapport with my students. This is essential for student success. Furthermore, engaging families and other stakeholders in what we do is equally important. Emergency learning was frustrating! Not only did I teach from an empty classroom, but it was also as if I were teaching to a wall that would not respond. Even though I know that online education is not my jam, I know that there are educators who are passionate and serve students well through this mode of learning! Take COVID-19 out of the equation, and view online education as an alternate opportunity, and new possibilities arise.
Our colleagues Britney, Kayla, and Colton did a wonderful job of defending their claim that agreed with this contemporary issue. In my opinion, one of the bigger issues that the team brought up was student well-being. According to the Ozge Misirli and Funda Ergulec (2021) study, “shifting from the concept of online learning to emergency remote teaching has brought new challenges and opportunities at a social and technological level, which influenced the physical and mental health of children.” Were students being served properly during remote learning? In my heart, I know that we did the best we could with the situation we were in. We tried to stick to routine and predictability. We even visited homes to ensure students were fine. Another challenge the group brought up was the added responsibility given to families who worked, especially those with young children. Yes, this was definitely and undoubtedly a challenge! Think about our EAL families. It was tricky troubleshooting to ensure the family was connected and prepared for online learning. It appeared nothing was appealing regarding online education, especially during a pandemic when there was no choice.
As my group countered, there were definite opportunities for success through online education. As stated, take away the mandatory remote learning due to a global pandemic and enter into a program available to students to meet their needs. Our team mentioned that online education is flexible, accessible, develops essential skills, allows for a customizable experience, and can be affordable. The key point that we wanted to make clear is that it is a choice and an additional option for students. Personally, I saw a young student thrive on the digital side of things. A young lady who never talked in school found her voice. Now, I understand that this isn’t the case for everyone, but this mode of learning worked for her! So happy for you kid!! I had also mentioned that I’m a huge relationship person. I believe they are the foundation of student success. Not only with the student, but their families. Transparency is key! The article found on Clanbeat explains, “having a strong parent/teacher team around will massively improve children’s social development and academic achievement. As a fun supportive team, parents and teachers can help reduce the stress of learning online.” Furthermore, we discussed that online education was found to decrease bullying, escape pressures, and provide a safe and productive workspace.
No, online learning isn’t for everyone, and yet again, we see a digital divide and inequities in services. As a collective, we experienced the not-so-great side of online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are benefits to online learning. I appreciated being able to see things from the other side since I painted a negative picture of online education based on my own experiences. I see online education as an opportunity for students to learn and grow based on individual needs.
Thank you to all of our teams and their great debate presentations! I’ve taken something from all of them. All the best in the rest of your studies!!