How Will Remote Learning Impact Education in the Future?

12:00 PM

What will be the long- term effects of remote learning? How will social distancing recommendations affect schools in the future? Read on to find out how teaching is about to change.




By now, we've pretty much settled in to life with social distancing and virtual learning. But what's next? Will things go back to the way they were? What will change? Let's look ahead and examine the long- term effects of remote learning.



What Is Remote Learning?

At this point, if you are unfamiliar with remote learning, I'm just envious. It's been a bit of a struggle for teachers, parents, and students alike. We're all doing our best to navigate a completely new frontier and it looks different from anything else we've ever been asked to do.

Remote learning, or distance learning, is when lessons and activities are provided for students online. During this time of quarantine, schoolwork has been moved to a completely virtual platform almost overnight. Students are completed assignments online and meeting with their teachers and classmates virtually.

Parents are helping their children navigate the technology hiccups and classwork struggles. Teachers are interacting with their students virtually and creating lessons on platforms they've never used before. Students are stuck behind their screens for hours at a time with limited access to their teachers and friends.

All of this is new for everyone and it isn't easy. But it's not all doom and gloom. Great things will come from this time in education. For many years, this will be remembered as the beginning of virtual learning. We're at the start of a huge change in education, maybe even a revolution. So let's explore the implications of distant learning.


What Are The PROs and CONs of Remote Learning?

Whether you're enjoying distance learning or not, no one can argue that there are both pros and cons to it. This is a time in education that will be remembered for many years. Here are a few points that stick out to me the most:

PROS:

  • Self- paced online learning
  • Casual attire permissible for pajama enthusiasts
  • Flexible schedule
  • Opportunities for enrichment
  • New online programs and activities
  • Safe and conducive to social distancing guidelines
  • Parents get a front row view of their child's schoolwork
  • Virtual accommodations for parents who were previously unable to attend in-person meetings and events

CONS:

  • Time consuming support needed from parents
  • Not all students have adequate parental support
  • Not all students have access to reliable wifi and necessary devices
  • Limited teacher support
  • Technical difficulties abound
  • Extensive screen time has been shown to have negative effects on child brain development


girl in classroom with ipad. Text: How will remote learning affect the future of education How Will Remote Learning Affect The Future Education?

It may be a while before school goes back to the way it was before. Here in New Jersey, we have been in quarantine for two months at this point with no plans to return to school in the immediate future. We are hoping to return in September but even that seems uncertain at this time. What we do know right now is that when schools do reopen, things will likely be very different from what we were used to.

Here are my predictions for school reopenings. Please note that these are only my personal projections and that this list is not meant to be used as a news source. Things can and likely will change, but at this time, these are predictions that I believe to be possible and anticipated.



Face Masks

Possibly the most obvious change will be the face masks requirements for all students and staff members. This'll be a huge challenge for younger children and those with disabilities and sensory defensiveness. If your child falls into one of those categories or just dislikes wearing masks, start practicing now. Schools may not allow students to attend school if they do not wear a face mask.

Reimagining Classroom Layouts

Due to the restrictions of social distancing, gone are the days of students squishing onto the rug for circle time. Teachers will need to keep students 6 feet apart at all times, which will require rearranging the classroom furniture and materials. Don't fret just yet (can someone put that on a t-shirt for me? Seriously though). Teachers all over the world have the same problem so you won't need to reinvent the wheel.

Part Time Virtual Learning

To limit student proximity, schools may move to a part-time virtual learning model. Some districts may provide in-house school 2-3 days of the week with virtual learning the rest of the days. Other schools may move to a half- day model providing in-house schooling for part of the day with the rest of the assignments completed online. Both options sound like a child care nightmare so I'm hoping the details get ironed out before we move in that direction.

Smaller Class Sizes

The good thing about a part time virtual learning model is that the class sizes will be smaller. Teachers will be working with half the amount of students they normally would have in class. How this would be funded and whether or not extra staff members will be hired is beyond me. Right now, all I can offer is my projections and hope.

Virtual Accommodations

Many parents struggle to attend school events due to work responsibilities, lack of child care, and other personal reasons. Now that we've all become more accustomed to remote learning, these parents will likely be provided with virtual accommodations. Finally parents will be able to attend meetings and events they were previously forced to miss.

IEP meetings and parent/ teacher conferences will likely be conducted virtually for parents unable to attend in person. Class events, open house nights, board of education meetings, and other school events will be streamed online for family members to participate from afar. This is wonderful news for parental involvement!

Snow Days

This one breaks my heart. Apparently some districts have already done away with snow days but this concept was new to me. Instead of just closing school for severe weather days, districts may opt to make those virtual learning days instead. After all, if we're able to handle months of remote learning without much warning, it's feasible to think that we'd be able to move to virtual snow days.

Memories of wearing our pajamas inside out and doing the "snow dance" may be a thing of the past. For some, it already is. There's just something special about waiting to hear if your school is closed for snow and I'll miss that. But the good thing about virtual learning is that it's flexible and it takes place at home. That means kids can still finish up their schoolwork and head outside with their sleds. Finishing the school year a few days early is a nice perk too.


Decelerated Student Progress

Students will go back to school having made less progress than they would have in traditional schooling. The comforting aspect is that the lack of progress will be universal and hopefully temporary. We're all in the same boat so no one teacher needs to worry about their students falling behind. No one will need to reinvent the wheel to find ways to catch up students because all teachers will be trying to do the same thing. The best way to approach this is by supporting one another (Click HERE to read my post about Finding Free Teacher Support Online).


Teaching By Learning

Teaching remotely has been an enormous adjustment, but it isn't all bad. Teachers are learning new ways to engage students using technology they may have never used before. They're using tools and teaching techniques they wouldn't have otherwise discovered. 

When schools open back up, teachers will be equipped with a more advanced skill set in technology and online tools. I've always believed that the best learners are lifelong learners. All teachers have been forced out of their comfort zones to learn new teaching techniques to teach virtually. When things settle down, I think these new skills will be beneficial to everyone.



Life After Quarantine: The Future of Education

Here in New Jersey, it may take a while for our schools open back up completely. We're hoping for a partial reopening in September (four months away) but even that isn't guaranteed. Right now, we don't know how long it'll take for things to go back to "normal." For now, all we can do is find ways to make things work.

Surely things will change as a result of the coronavirus. In the future, our new normal may not look exactly like our old normal. But we will persevere. We will learn, we will grow, and we will teach.




Other posts from Exceptional Thinkers that you may like:



Here are a few related items you may be interested in:

(These are affiliate links from which I receive a small commision, at no additional cost to you)


by Christy from Exceptional Thinkers

You Might Also Like

0 comments

Instagram