What should online school look like?

Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many students in the U.S. and across the world had to continue their education virtually with varying quality. 

Students across America had varying circumstances with some being far worse than others. Some students have seen their test scores and academic performance decline significantly due to poor quality unaccredited online schooling methods. 

If we were to consider implementing online schooling again the following should be considered: 

  • Students of all ages need social interaction. 

Social interaction promotes positive mental health and for many students is a very important part of their lives. When the pandemic came, so many students were separated from their friends, and it led many students to face mental health issues. 

Social interaction also plays a crucial role in the maturation of a young person’s personality. Teachers across the country have noticed an increase in behavioral issues among students and they believe it to be influenced by students being prevented from developing socially due to school closures. 

Because of this, schools should only be closed in the most extreme circumstances.

  • Students need to be checked on.

So many students fell behind during school closures simply because they didn’t do the work. This is to be expected from young kids and teens. 

The reason so many students chose to just not do their work is that it didn’t feel real. Students are used to there being clear scheduling and a process to their educational experience, and online school disrupted those schedules.

Although students dislike it, it’s essential for there to be an adult or a teacher to keep the student on task. 

It would be wise for online schools to have frequent individual periodic check-ins on student learning. Schools could take advantage of things like Zoom, Google Meets and other similar programs to make this possible.

  • Schools should mandate online attendance.

Some students having to take online classes find it difficult to get help from the teachers or learn from recorded lessons and lectures. Although it may not be possible to have scheduled attendance every day, there should be times when all students are required to attend the same way they are required to attend in person.

  • Teachers need to be trained in teaching remotely.

At some schools, many teachers were unable to provide the same quality of instruction that they provided in the classroom. This is because teaching online requires a different skill set than teaching in person. 

Schools may need to close again, and teachers may need to pivot their teaching to a different setting. If this is the case, they need to be prepared for that pivot.