What Is The Same In Online And Face To Face Learning

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As I regularly cover, increasing the interaction between educators and parents can improve the outcome of students and the effectiveness of the instructional process.

Over the last week or so I have had a number of texts and emails from teachers across the country lamenting that their students are lacking in comprehension of the concepts that are being presented.

One thing that has always bothered me is that sometimes parents come to school looking for opportunities to take courses or when their child is being challenged in a particular subject area.

How does that take the focus away from what is being taught?

Let’s look at one equation. The equation is the after school test scores of the student and that of a peer group of students. So if a student is more interested in taking and taking some online courses while being challenged in the classroom, is it more effective or satisfying to the teacher?

Think about this for a second. The classroom study group is comprised of students, teachers, and the district staff who are actually teaching the subject matter. We are not focused on who got an A on this test so much as where the student is in the learning curve. There is an intrinsic interest on the part of the teacher.

Are students in a self-directed environment more excited, more likely to ask some questions, and to be open to any outside input that might give them an insight to how they can improve? Are they more engaged with the teacher?

Why do you think the study group tends to not get As?

Maybe the teacher has given the student more than enough motivation to take this course and to take the next course that may challenge them. How do you think the teacher makes them aware of this if they are studying online?

Have you seen these emails from teachers? The teacher may be, for the first time in 10 years, sitting at the teaching desk and a parent comes by, even if it is with a child who is sitting on the opposite side of the classroom. What is a principal to do? A teacher is taking 10 courses online and now a parent is coming to the classroom and the whole dynamic is disrupted.

No, the parent isn’t visiting or attending parent teacher meetings. A parent could be taking a course like Calculus for Girls in the winter break or attending meetings.

In the content field of education, there is great value in not simply teaching online, but in engaging students in other methods to be successful. It could be a small class that is independently studying something, sometimes with their peers. That approach may be better than putting the student in a group with those not as interested in that subject matter.

There is a place in our world for online education, but there is also a role for some sort of adult intervention, particularly when it comes to the classroom.

With schools of choice, students and parents do not necessarily have to go to a school that is affiliated with the central power and support they receive from their neighbors. That concept goes beyond the price of tuition and does include significant levels of professional assistance. Online education can be an integral component in this equation.

When a student is educated, and when they are educated for as long as a student would like to be, there is great value in giving them the tools they need to complete the course-work and be successful.

As a school looks to foster innovation and excellence in our schools, one way to do that is to create a community that is not only conducive to learning, but one that is moving toward excellence.

Author’s Note: Spencer is Managing Partner of Etis Communications, a communications firm serving education technology and education related clients.

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