Shoreline CT schools are going to a distance-learning format next week.
I have been teaching online college classes for 20 years. So while I am a “fan” compared to most, I also know the following:
Distance learning is an entirely suitable replacement for what I call “check the box” education. Busy work – those homework assignments that just need to get done – , is necessary for academic credentialing and skill-building repetition. Distance learning also works for highly disciplined, highly motivated, self–directed students. These students would still likely be better off with in-person classes from an educational perspective but at least they are able to work with outer–imposed structure.
This creates some serious challenges. Most importantly, this scholastic gap will create knowledge gaps. Students will still be required to know math and grammar for the SAT, as well as foundational knowledge in all other subjects (particularly for those who will eventually take AP tests and certainly for all math and language students.) Moreover, students need to develop skills in reading and writing. This will not happen for most.
Moreover, most high school students do not fit into the highly disciplined, highly motivated, self-directed student category. Distance learning – without someone holding them accountable — will not work effectively. This is entirely the fault of the student.
Indeed, I urge parents to take an online class. Check out Udemy, Skillshare, Lynda, among other providers for adults, and you’ll discover that unless you are really interested in the material, you’ll be distracted very quickly. Remember your computer with a web browser is open! And, you’ll likely give up (the average completion rate for online courses offered for free is between 5-15%) or get distracted very quickly.
Students will — at best – be getting a “check in the box” education during this period.
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