UNITED STATES—Some people call it virtual learning, but back when I was an undergraduate we called it online learning. There are many who think this is something new, but it is not. I had mixed reviews in the beginning about taking classes online. At the time it was something that was slowly gaining its ground. I mean there were kinks that needed to be fixed before it solidified itself as a strong method of learning. At the start we did not have videos of the professor teaching the course, but that has since changed.
The class is live, the professor or teacher can be seen and all the students in the class can also be seen. Of course this is a smaller class America. You’re not going to see 100 boxes on the computer screen for one course, it’s not possible on a Zoom call. I have and will always be a firm believer that one method of teaching is NOT universal. Even if people think that is the case it is NOT. Everyone learns differently. There are verbal learners, visual learners and hands on learners. For me, I have to see something first to understand how to do it.
If someone tells me just read this and figure it out, it will never transpire for me because my brain does not operate in that manner. That also tells you if you’re dealing with a teacher who is capable of adapting his or her teaching style to accommodate students. There has to be wiggle room because there is going to be that student or two or perhaps several who just isn’t grasping what you’re teaching. Me personally, I am a fan of virtual learning, but more so if I DO NOT have to be visually depicted on a screen with a ton of others. I guess I see the benefit of it for kids, but as adults I’d argue it’s not feasible.
Let me take that back because it is indeed dependent on the subject matter. Math is the one subject where I think visually seeing something be DONE matters when it comes to grasping the concept. That’s like trying to teach fractions by just reading. The brain would be boggled beyond anything you can imagine and in my personal opinion, when you SEE something it clicks and triggers with the mind on how to solve a particular problem.
What I have come to discover as of recent with virtual learning is that many students are struggling. Many young children are not fans of virtual learning like my niece, who after about 4 weeks of learning from home decided she wanted to do in-person classes. Yes, her school offers both virtual or in-person learning and while NOT many students are in the classroom at the moment and she got frustrated with technology. It kept freezing up or stalling and it interrupted her learning on a consistent basis.
That is the problem with the internet. It is NOT stable, and as someone who has worked from home before that is something you have to grapple with on a constant basis. No, I’m NOT paying for the fastest internet, because if I’m having problems now, what is to guarantee I will NOT have problems later. It is simply another approach to suck money from consumers by promising something that cannot be delivered.
Kids want to be in-person, they want to be with their friends, they want to socialize, but the pandemic makes that difficult. Wearing a mask is important because it offers a layer of protection and for those who don’t want to wear a mask, go to hell. I get it if you have health issues, but if you don’t there is no excuse, and kids are known to constantly touch their face and not fully sanitize so the risk factor rises and as a parent that is NOT something I’m willing to risk.
Is virtual learning here to stay? I believe so for the time being, but tweaks have to be made to make it is more feasible and pliable for all. Zoom has its pros and cons, teaching guides have its pros and cons, students’ pedagogy for learning has its pros and cons. There are a host of things that can make the problem a lot harder than one expected. Be patient and roll with the punches, we can only hope it improves as time moves on.