A recent study from McKinsey – which some of you know as having the best and brightest consultants – concluded what most anyone who is far from the best and brightest already know: our children’s education is being decimated during Covid.
20 years ago, I started teaching college classes online. Online teaching was revolutionary at the time. The tech wizards from Silicon Valley thought that school would be “disrupted”. Online classes, self-paced learning, and teachers who were facilitators would make virtual high schools the new standard. Even though I was, in small way, part of this pioneering group, I saw it differently. I was interviewed by a national magazine which highlighted my quote: “human energy is irreplaceable.”
I have continued teaching college courses online for nearly 20 years. My students are highly motivated adult learners who are finishing their degrees, usually because it will help lead to distinct career advancement. Still, they do not learn anywhere nearly as much as those that take in-person classes.
My classes – much like some of the current Coronavirus school classes – are “asynchronous”. This means my lectures and assignments are posted. Students complete their work. There is some perfunctory discussion on our class discussion board and some feedback when I give grades. Otherwise, the students are interacting with words on a computer screen.
In class discussions – “synchronous” – is far better. But there is undoubtedly something lost in translation from live to video classrooms.
When I first became involved in online teaching, I thought it would be far bigger. It turns out that human nature beats convenience. We are social animals. We need interpersonal give and take to feel engaged and to learn.
We hope that our tutoring will help your children during this difficult time period.