Why is it that, through all the amazing technological advances of our time, the majority of our primary and secondary educational systems has remained untouched by significant advancement? We use incredibly powerful technology like computers to do something as mundane as turning in an assignment, or view our classmate’s work. Why not use our growing understanding of the complexities of the human brain to make education more useful for all students? Not considering online schooling as a very real possibility for an education in this day and age could be a huge missed opportunity for people.
In this essay, traditional schooling will be defined as public education which takes place on a school campus. It will be assumed there are multiple students in a single class, learning from an instructor or teacher. Online schooling will be defined as a software or web service which any individual student can access with a computer of some kind. This service may be accessed anywhere someone can take a laptop.
Social interaction is extremely vital to the development of children, and humans in general. Extreme social isolation has proven negative effects on children, such as an isolated child’s complete inability to function in any sort of civilization (Author Removed, para 2-3). Not being around humans who act as guides to a normal life will always result in a non adaptable, feril husk of a human. Adults can also benefit from interaction with others, as one never really stops learning and growing in that specific area. It is incredibly important for humans to have a consistent source of human contact throughout their life.
One of the benefits of traditional school systems is the inherent social aspect. Being around other people for a large part of the day forces people to craft advanced social skills. Many different skills can be practiced in this environment, such as problem solving, teamwork, humor, competitiveness and much more. All of these skills have very important roles in a child’s future life, and find a convenient place to be learned in a traditional school.
Online schooling doesn’t provide its participants with this built in direct interaction. The focus of this system, being on the individual taking classes by themselves, doesn’t lend itself to developing an arsenal of social tools. This lack of development isn’t to say it is impossible for students of online schools to experience adequate social interaction, however. Taking part in extracurricular activities led by the community is a great supplement to the interactions experienced in a public school. Many times, non academic activities, such as sports, are the reason a person would choose to enroll in an online school (Lowe, para 16).
The mental state that a student’s learning environment puts them in can greatly affect how they perform. The issue of what mental state a specific learning environment puts a student in can only be assessed on a case by case basis. For example, one student may thrive in the quiet, private setting of a home, while another may prefer the context of a classroom. The quality of public schools versus the quality of the home life is paramount in making the decision of how someone should pursue education.
Traditional, public schooling will range in quality all across the nation. The amount of funding a school receives can greatly impact how well it can do its job. Many factors affect the excellence of an education, from the amount of staff, to the quality of supplies. Another factor to consider is the culture of the school. If fights are commonplace, a student will likely spend more time looking over their shoulder than they would spend focusing on their school work. This distraction can clearly have an adverse effect on how well the student performs in school.
The environment at home, a common learning space for students of an online school, is just as important to analyze when deciding the path one will take in pursuit of an education. A noisy and chaotic household would be detrimental for a student trying to take classes. The unique quality of online schooling is the ability to learn in essentially any location that the student chooses. This could allow an online enrollee to take their lessons in a location which is built for silence, such as a library. On the other hand, a household with a stay at home parent could be great for this system, especially if the parents want to be more closely involved with the student’s learning. The environmental possibilities provided for virtual education are flexible, and therefore make it a preferable option for many people.
Students learn in different ways, be it visual, auditory, written, or physical. While it is still possible for a visual learner to gain knowledge through an auditory lesson, there might be complications. For instance, if an entire class is centered around a learning style which doesn’t correspond with that of an individual in the class, the individual would be at a huge disadvantage. Students who excel with the teacher’s style will perform well in the class. The student who doesn’t learn according to that style may be dismissed as not paying attention, when in reality, they are just struggling with how the teachings are presented to them. Traditional education doesn’t always make room for differing learning styles.
Online schooling could very well be the solution for the people who experience this problem. Since each student takes a class by themselves, each lesson may be crafted into their specific style of learning. Visual learners learn through visual lessons, auditory learners gain understanding through aural exercises, and so on. This individualized attention could easily allow any user of virtual schools to grasp many more concepts, potentially broadening their knowledge of more topics.
In traditional schools, a teacher can only present one lesson to the entire class. He or she cannot tailor a lesson to fit each student’s needs. Plenty of people can learn very easily in this type of classroom environment, but there are also a lot of people who must have something more in order to process what they need to know. This limitation exemplifies the core difference in the two educational methods. Online school is very individual, while traditional school is more about teaching everyone the same way.
In any learning environment, students will have questions concerning lessons taught. Students may need clarification on a confusing topic, or desire more information on a subject of interest. At other times, an individual may want input from the instructor on an assignment. Lesson feedback and response time to questions varies significantly between online and traditional schools.
A student in an online school who wants to ask a question can expect to wait for an answer. Most likely, the student will need to email a teacher, have them see the email, and respond (Sutherland, para 7). Message boards may also be an option, but have the same waiting time as an email. Either way, writing is always slower than talking, and there is no way around it. This process takes longer, and it can be harder to understand a written concept than when it’s told to an individual in person (Sutherland, para 9). While online schools have many pluses, the communication delay is a minus.
In a traditional classroom, a student with a question can ask it, and receive an answer promptly, with the immediate opportunity for any further clarification needed. This timely communication allows the pupil to get their work done without delay. The fluid interaction afforded by the traditional classroom enables the student and teacher to resolve the issue in one transaction. In general, communication within the traditional classroom is the superior option.
It is common knowledge that higher education, like college, can be a very expensive experience in the United States. The costs can range from $9,000 all the way up to $32,000 a year, on average. There are also the costs of food, housing, supplies,and other general living expenses. (College Costs: FAQs, para 3-5) These kind of costs can keep a lot of people from seeking higher education, as they don’t see the huge upfront payout as worth it. Again, traditional education and online schooling differ.
The option to take college courses online makes a lot more sense for many people. There is a significant amount of money to be saved by only paying for the lessons, and not for dorms, food and a classroom (Korn and Belkin, para 4). Avoiding many of the secondary costs of college allows a greater number of people to get the degrees that they need for a better career. Additionally, taking an online course could allow an individual to avoid massive student loans. Simply put, an online college degree makes higher education possible for many people.
Time management is an important skill to have for any student. With it, a person builds upon his or her personal responsibility. Effective time management is a skill that every adult uses constantly in their day to day life. Becoming proficient in this art at as young an age as possible can only lead to a better, more productive future.
No other form of education demands this ability as much as online schooling. An enrollee has to be exceptionally proactive in their schooling work, as they’re much more responsible for staying on track than a student at a traditional school. Failure to stay on top of one’s lessons can only spell disaster for the lazy student. One will do very poorly in online schooling if one can’t make oneself do lessons in a reasonable amount of time. The need for self discipline is much more prevalent in non traditional schooling.
Although traditional schooling still requires time management, there is simply less need for it in comparison. While the need to finish assignments on time is just as important as it is in the virtual counter to this system, in brick and mortar schools students don’t choose when a lesson takes place. Scheduling is done for them which, while easier in the moment, will hurt the student in the long run. This huge difference is generally the biggest deciding factor when choosing a path for education. (cite)
The increase in the amount of people taking part in higher education because of access to an online schooling program could have a great impact on the economy. Programmers would be hired to create better and better programs and there would be a higher number of educated people in the population. Many of these people might not have experienced education past high school due to financial barriers and time constraints. More educated people also means more sophisticated jobs being done and our economy moving towards advanced job markets. Online schooling could boost our economy.
A big problem with traditional schooling is the lack of options available. In many places, there aren’t a lot of school systems to choose from to which to send children. This limitation can be a problem for parents if there are specific qualities that they want for their kids to experience. Further development of the virtual schooling market could make these problems disappear (Lockhart, para 5-6). A learner could live on the east coast and be taking the same classes as someone in Hawaii. This availability could be great, as someone living in an underprivileged area wouldn’t necessarily be kept from acquiring a great education and succeeding in life. Traditional schools, by design, cannot allow this sort of access. The options available at a public school are dependent on that area. Online schools don’t have this problem.
The idea that taking classes online does not constitute a legitimate education is an outdated and extremely naive view of the subject. Such a system certainly is not for everyone, and that is to be expected. Many people learn in many different ways, and would benefit greatly from an educational system built for their brain. If a person feels let down by traditional systems of schooling, and believes they can handle the responsibility, they should unquestionably look into the growing market of virtual classrooms.
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