Over the past about seven months, the world started to go through something that no one today has ever experienced. Schools had to shut down, students had to learn from home, and teachers had to learn how to teach from home. Some may argue that students are not learning as much at home as in school, but is this true?
When schools shut down in March, the districts came up with ways to teach students at their houses. Some did live calls on chats like zoom or google meet, and others handed out assignments with the hopes that students would do them. But is hoping the students do their work really an effective way for them to learn? Students may also argue that online learning in their homes is even more difficult than learning in-person. American Institutes for Research and the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research did a test where they assigned students to either a face-to-face or online learning course of algebra 1. The studies show that the kids who did the learning online had lower test scores overall than the students who did in-person learning. The students who did online learning also reported that working from home was a lot harder and less convenient than in-person learning with a teacher there with them. Online learning is even more difficult than in school learning, proven by the results of this test, where scores were lower for online students.
Another problem with online learning is that not many families can not afford to buy computers or technology for their children to learn on. Some schools are supplying computers, but not all. According to NCES, studies show that about 14% of students from grades k-12 do not have internet access at home, which might not seem like a lot, but this means that about 9 million students will deal with struggles trying to learn from home. While some schools may be handing out computers, many were not prepared for schools to reopen in the fall. With the exception that districts were not given a lot of time to come up with a plan for online learning, many were not able to supply their students with their own computers. For low-income families, online learning is hard to do.
Online learning does have some good qualities, like students who are bullied in school or dread coming to school every day have the opportunity to learn without dealing with so much stress and worry. According to research at stress.org, around 80% of students are stressed out by schoolwork or by going to school in general. Being at home gives students the comfort of being in their own home, while still having the opportunity to get an education. Also, according to adda.org, about 2-5% of students face anxiety about coming to school. Online learning helps students, by not giving them anxiety about coming to school during the day. Online schooling is not all bad and does have some positive effects.
One way the problem of online learning can be solved is maybe making assignments more accessible for students. Many assignments get lost on sites like google classroom, because of how many assignments have been posted. If students or teachers could make separate files for each topic, or make the online classroom more organized, students will have an easier time locating them and are more likely to do them. Another way these problems can be solved is to do live classes online. Some schools are already doing this, but some are not also. If every school switched to live classes, students would be in a real class, and see their classmates, and also be able to ask questions live, instead of emailing and waiting for a response. If classes were live, it would be like sitting in a classroom, except in your house. It would make teaching and learning easier because students can hear their teacher teach, instead of doing assignments on their own, and complete them based on messages that their teachers send out.
The reason that online learning is not fully beneficial is that it makes it harder for teachers to teach, and students to learn. Students have siblings and parents in their houses, who are also trying to work from home, making it very difficult to concentrate on their schooling. Teachers also have families at home, like spouses and children. Many young teachers have small children at home, who need to be tended to very often. This makes it difficult for teachers to come up with and produce assignments for their students while they are at home, because they have the distraction of their kids, and they need to put lots of their attention into caring for them.
Personally, I think that online learning is more difficult than in school learning. When you are in school, you have a live class, which also allows you to communicate with others, overall making school a better experience. It is also better to have a live class because you have a teacher there explaining what to do, and who is available to answer any question you might have. In my opinion, if the virus gets worse, and schools continue to have to close, then the students’ grades are going to continue to decrease. Also, a lot of students feel like online learning is an option because they are not actually in school when it is not. This results in students’ grades dropping. Schools should try to do live learning through the computer, and if they do not, students are still going to be having a hard time. I think that online learning is not as effective as in-person learning.
Online learning can be beneficial for some students, but overall it is not as effective as in person. When students are in school, they are given more opportunities, like making friends, joining sports, or clubs, and it even is just better to learn when you have a teacher there with you. If the way schools are handling online learning does not change, students’ grades and scores may continue to drop. Online learning is very difficult, especially for families who do not have computer access. Students are learning more in school than out of school, making online learning less effective. Some classes are easy to do online, but some are very difficult. Considering all these factors, is online learning really beneficial for the students?