Is digital technology revolutionising the face of schools and education on a global scale? Why are more and more students choosing to use online learning as the method of instruction?
Thanks to the advancement in mobile and cloud technologies, teachers and educators have started making considerable changes to the classroom learning structure to keep up with the new digital trends in education.
Parents and their children are choosing online schools more and more. Educators are vitally aware of how significant the involvement of families is to a child’s learning.
I am now experiencing this with my family.
I had the pleasure to accompany my 14-year-old grandson to finalise his home-based student enrolment information and instructions appointment.
He and his dad opted for this form of education for two reasons. My grandson wants to keep an eye on his dad's needs. His dad, my son, has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and he needs someone to be attentive to his needs on a regular basis.
My grandson also enjoys the opportunity to learn when he is well-rested and most alert, and he finds that nights are better for him. He also likes the idea of learning at his own pace.
At the meeting, my grandson's supervisor went through the enrolment process.
Being myself from a traditional education environment, I was amazed at the flexibility that this virtual schooling affords.
His supervisor explained that they have a system called Saba which is an online classroom. It allows for the use of voice, video and shared online workspaces between teacher and students. It is a 'live' application where teaching happens in real time. The lessons are negotiated with students, but it depends on the teacher's availability and student timetables. However, the lessons are recorded for students who cannot attend.
She explained that they have a secure, learning management system consisting of individual online 'classrooms.' Course work is stored in a learning platform called Moodle, and it is accessible by students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
All students are assigned a supervisor who actively communicates with them. The supervisor supports them with their studies on a day to day basis, make available for them a suitable area with phone and internet access, IT resources and ensure that completed work is submitted by their course outlines.
This system is also making sure that there is a regular contact teacher/student by email, phone, that they submit their work on a daily basis and the school reviews their attendance regularly.
This online environment makes it a lot easier for students to connect with one another on topics of interest.
The IT resources required by the students, she explained, are to have a reliable high-speed internet connection, including email. Windows PC (version 10 or above) or Apple Mac (os version 10.13 or above) iPad, Windows 1OS, Android tablets and Chromebooks are not suitable.
A headset with a microphone via USB connection.
A standard operating environment including an up-today web browser, Adobe Flash Player and Adobe Acrobat (or equivalent) Microsoft Office is provided.
Access to a printer, a scanner/digital camera and storage.
His supervisor highlighted to my grandson that studying online is a different style of learning and to achieve the success he would have to be organised, effective with his time management, get into the habit of communicating regularly with his teachers and interested and committed to his studies.
When we left the office, my grandson was static about this educational opportunity, and I was surprised at how digital technology has changed education.
Families are faced with more important decisions related to education than ever. Parents nationwide are supporting their children in navigating a complex maze of new learning opportunities, new standards, new assessments, and new technology.
What are your thoughts about how digital technology has changed education? Are you in favour or do you prefer a more traditional approach?
With much appreciation