The global COVID-19 emergency has disrupted the lives of millions of people, including students and teachers: schools are known to be breeding grounds for illnesses and shutting them down was only logical.
But in education, as in theatre, the show must go on: that is why teachers are turning to remote learning as an alternative. Distance learning has been around longer than most people realise, but the current state of emergency is forcing a faster pace of change for which many are ill-prepared.
Like most novelties, remote learning may cause distrust among teachers who do not know how to use its full potential, so here is a brief list of the key benefits of remote learning.
1. A safer, more accessible environment
This is the most obvious advantage of remote learning these days, but it is just as valid in the absence of a pandemic: learning at a distance is safer. With remote learning, immunocompromised or otherwise disabled students have the same chances to learn as everyone else without putting their health at risk or being subject to bullying. Of course, cyberbullying is still a possibility, but in an online classroom, your classmates will see your mind first and your body second, if at all.
2. A whole world of possibilities
If you can learn without leaving home, you are not only safer, but also less limited in your choices. Online classes eliminate the need for commuting or moving out to pursue your education, so you can apply for courses based anywhere in the world if you so desire, without the hassle of studying abroad. With remote learning, your choice of education and career is no longer restricted to what is closest and a literal world of possibilities opens up before you.
3. Making your own path
With remote learning, you can manage your assignments on your own time, watch recordings of lectures, and personalize your learning path. In the case of K-12, learning on your own terms encourages you to take responsibility without a teacher watching your every move, which may even give students a head start for college.
4. Fostering long-distance friendships
Enrolling for online courses means you are likely to be in contact with students from all over the world, which may be the start of some beautiful long-distance friendships with people who can offer you different perspectives and interesting discussions. This does not necessarily apply to traditional class groups who are using remote learning as a temporary solution and know each other in real life, but the experience of learning online may inspire today’s traditional students to become the remote learners of tomorrow. Now that the global pandemic is limiting international travel, contacting students from foreign schools may even be the start of a new and cheaper version of cultural exchange programs.
In these troubled times, Acer for Education is reaching out to help schools adapt to this mode of learning with a series of articles and links to remote learning resources, gathered in one place for your convenience.