As technology continues to evolve, the traditional classroom environment is changing. Online learning has become increasingly popular in recent years and parents should be aware of the potential benefits and challenges that come with this type of education.
From understanding the technical requirements to scheduling considerations, there are many factors for parents to consider when it comes to their children’s online learning experience.
In this article, we will explore what parents should know about current and future online classrooms, including key topics such as the types of platforms used, home environment challenges, socializing with peers, and parental involvement.
By understanding these components more thoroughly, parents can ensure their child receives a quality education from an online platform that best suits their individual needs.
Reliable Internet Connection:
A high-speed internet connection is a critical requirement for online learning. It is necessary to ensure that students and teachers have access to a reliable and stable internet connection.
Unreliable internet connections can create hindrances in online learning experiences. To avoid disruptions in the learning process, educators should test their internet connection before conducting any online class.
Video Conferencing Tool:
A video conferencing tool is a must-have for conducting online classes. It allows teachers to conduct live classes, share video content, and interact with students in real time.
There are numerous video conferencing tools available in the market such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Skype. Educators should select an appropriate tool to suit their teaching requirements.
Learning Management System:
A Learning Management System (LMS) is an essential requirement for delivering online classes. A learning management system (LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, automation, and delivery of educational courses. LMS helps educators to organize course content, assignments, quizzes, and other learning materials.
LMS also provides a platform for students to access course content, submit assignments, and interact with teachers. Educators can choose an LMS that is user-friendly and easy to navigate.
Mobile devices have become an integral part of our daily lives. It is important to ensure that online classes are accessible via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
This enables students to access course content anytime and anywhere. Educators should ensure that the course content and the LMS are optimized for mobile devices.
Interactive tools are essential for delivering an engaging learning experience. This includes tools such as polls, quizzes, and interactive whiteboards. These tools help to maintain student engagement and promote active learning.
Educators can incorporate interactive tools into their online classes to enhance the learning experience.
Flexibility and Time Zones:
One of the many perks of online learning is that students can participate in classes from anywhere in the world. This, however, presents a scheduling challenge.
Since students can be situated across different time zones, it’s important to factor this in when creating a schedule.
In online classrooms, teachers and students aren’t able to communicate face-to-face, which can make things more difficult. There are different ways to address this.
One of the effective measures is to incorporate regular check-ins or “office hours” for students to speak to their teacher one-on-one. It is advisable to set a time that works best with their schedule and always provides alternative options.
Culture and Workload:
Culture here refers to the way that people from different backgrounds view time, deadlines, and obligations. Understanding the culture of your students is essential in creating a productive online classroom schedule.
For example, some cultures view deadlines strictly while others might take a more relaxed approach. It is fundamental, therefore, to create a schedule that accounts for cultural differences while still maintaining the necessary workload.
Technology and Accessibility:
Technology is the backbone of online learning. Nevertheless, different students may face varying access to technology. Disadvantaged students may not have access to computers or broadband connectivity.
Teachers, therefore, should make sure that learning materials are accessible via different modes of technological devices. It is also crucial to encourage students to communicate their technology problems in advance.
Consistency is key in online classrooms, so lessons need to be scheduled effectively to maintain engagement and structure. Informing students of when a class occurs, the format of instruction and how assessments are completed is crucial.
By putting up a consistent class schedule, students can better manage their time and balance other commitments.
Online Learning Platforms
As a parent or educator, it is essential to be aware of the different online learning platforms available for school-age children. We’ll now take a look at some of the most popular online learning platforms used in schools and homes today.
Google Classroom is an excellent learning platform that has been around for a while. It is an online learning platform that allows teachers to create and distribute assignments, quizzes, and tests to students, track their progress, and engage them in discussions.
The online classroom is user-friendly and can be accessed by students and teachers from anywhere with an internet connection.
Khan Academy is an online learning platform that offers students a wide range of courses and lessons to choose from, all of which are designed to improve their knowledge and skill levels.
The platform has a lot of features that can help students learn in an engaging and interactive way. It also offers a personalized learning experience that is tailored to each student’s needs.
Edmentum is a comprehensive learning platform that provides students with highly interactive lessons and courses. The platform offers a wide range of subjects and lessons designed to help students learn in an online environment.
Edmentum also has AI technology that can assess student performance, provide feedback, and offer recommendations to improve their learning.
Renaissance myON is an online learning platform that provides students with access to a huge library of online books and resources. The platform is designed to help students develop their reading skills and develop a love for reading. Renaissance myON is a great tool for educators to use in the classroom and at home.
i-Ready is an adaptive online learning platform that is designed to help students learn at their own pace. The platform offers assessments to measure student progress and provides personalized learning opportunities based on their strengths and weaknesses. The platform is widely used and is available for all K-12 students.
Home Environment Challenges
While online learning has a lot of benefits, it is not without its challenges. One of the most significant challenges that students face when learning from home is distractions from family members, friends, or other household activities.
It can be difficult for parents and teachers to manage students’ environment in this situation. Therefore, parents and educators need to create an environment conducive to learning, such as dedicated study areas, limited internet access, and regular communication with teachers.
In addition to distractions, students may also face technical difficulties when trying to access materials or complete tasks online. Parents and educators need to be aware of the technical requirements for their child’s school and make sure that they have the necessary devices and software.
If there are any technical difficulties, parents and teachers should reach out to the school for help or consider switching to a different online learning platform.
Socializing With Peers
One of the biggest drawbacks of online learning is that it can be difficult for students to socialize with their peers. This is especially true for younger children who may have limited access to technology or resources.
Parents and teachers need to find ways to help students stay connected with their peers while they are learning from home. This could include setting up virtual playdates or group activities, encouraging students to connect with their peers on social media platforms, or organizing online study sessions.
Parents need to be involved in their child’s online learning experience. Parents can help by providing moral support, helping with organization and planning, monitoring their child’s work, and encouraging them to stay on task.
It is also essential for parents to communicate regularly with their child’s teacher so that they are informed about their child’s progress and address any issues that may arise.
Online learning can be an excellent way for students to continue their education from home, but it is important to be aware of the challenges that come with this type of learning.
With the right tools and support, parents and teachers can make sure that students can succeed in an online learning environment.
Virtual Learning Environment
In 2023, online classrooms are more than just a place to watch lectures and take quizzes. Virtual learning environments (VLEs) allow students to engage with the material in a more interactive way by creating virtual models, simulations, and gamification that the children enjoy.
Parents should encourage their children to get comfortable with the VLE tools they will be using, such as attending webinars, participating in virtual group projects, and engaging with their classmates on discussion forums.
Online classrooms will rely on the cognitive-based curriculum, with an emphasis on critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration. To excel in this environment, students will need to master higher-order thinking skills and demonstrate an ability to apply knowledge to real-world situations.
Parents can help their children develop problem-solving skills by encouraging them to think critically and creatively and by offering support as they collaborate with others.
Personalized learning will be a significant focus of online classrooms in 2023/4. The virtual environment will allow for individually-paced learning experiences, flexible assessments, and customized feedback.
Parents should ensure their children understand the importance of applying themselves to their studies and seeking help when needed. They should also communicate regularly with their child’s teacher and provide feedback on their child’s learning experience.
In online classrooms, educators will emphasize digital citizenship to ensure that students acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to use technology appropriately and responsibly.
This includes awareness of online safety and security, healthy technology habits, protecting personal data, critical evaluation of online content, and ethical use of online resources.
Parents should also model these behaviors for their children and encourage a positive digital footprint on social media platforms.
Lifelong Learning & Soft Skills
Lastly, in the modern online classroom, the focus will not just be on academic knowledge but also on soft skills and lifelong learning. Students will need to be adaptable, and resilient, communicate effectively, and work well in teams.
To foster these skills, parents can encourage their children to take on leadership positions, participate in extracurricular activities, and pursue interests outside of their formal education. They should also emphasize the importance of continuous learning and exploring personal interests.
As the online classroom becomes more critical, parents should ensure that they prepare their children well for success in this environment.
An understanding of virtual learning environments, cognitively-based curriculum, personalized learning, digital citizenship, soft skills, and lifelong learning can help parents support their child’s academic and personal growth.
With these skills in place, students will be ready to take on the challenges and opportunities offered by the online classroom now and in the future.