Educational technology has changed the way we teach and learn. While the use of laptops and tablets increased during the school year, the number of people logging on to learn online surged during the summer vacation. The result is that schools are effectively closed during the summer, with learners taking what they need online.
The popularity of online learning is expanding as more and more people discover the convenience and flexibility of digital learning. And, while the medium is often associated with adult learning, over the past year, hundreds of thousands of students have discovered the advantages of online learning in K-12 schools.
Why Are Teachers Embracing Online Learning?
As more people gain confidence in the use of technology in their school life, the advantages of online learning become more apparent. The ease and convenience of completing assignments quickly and accurately without having to struggle with the learning curve of a new platform or device are just some of the reasons why teachers are changing the way they teach and learn.
According to the 2019 Global EdTech Survey, 66% of respondents currently teach with technology, primarily using laptops or tablets. While the number is high, it suggests that educational technology is still considered ‘geeky’ by some, and many respondents feel uncomfortable using technology in the classroom. However, this perspective is rapidly changing, with respondents reporting increased confidence in using technology in the classroom and an overall increase in the amount of time they spend using technology in the school context.
Online Learning Advantages
Even before the pandemic, the number of schools moving to online learning was increasing. The advantages of online learning are numerous, and they can be applied across different subject areas and grade levels. Here are just a few of the advantages of online learning:
- Increased student engagement
- Reduced Anxiety
- Real-time Collaboration
- Access to Specialized Tutors
- More time for Teaching and Less time Managing Students
- More time for Student Development
- Reduced costs
- Accurate Grading
- More Accurate Assessments
- Lower student attrition rates
- Improved quality of education
These are just a few of the advantages of online learning, and they highlight the many benefits of moving to a digital pedagogy. While the medium is completely up to the learner, there are several advantages to be had by everyone involved in the process.
Even better, with the right implementation and a few tweaks here and there, every school and college can have their own digital teaching and learning environment, benefiting every student in the school or college community.
How to Adopt an Online Learning Environment
If you’re currently using an online learning environment and would like to bring your school’s online learning program to a close, there are several things you can do. The first and most critical step is to evaluate your current situation and determine what needs to be changed or done differently. There are many benefits to an online learning environment, but it won’t all be evident right away. Take the time to learn how to use the tool effectively and make the most out of it.
To ensure success in your endeavor, look to the future and consider how you will integrate technology into your school’s or college’s workflow once the summer vacation is over. There should be a clear plan in place to integrate technologies such as laptops, tablets, and Chromebooks into your school or college’s existing framework.
Summer Break Is the Perfect Time to Adopt an Online Learning Environment
When schools are closed for the summer, it’s the perfect opportunity to bring your existing online learning program into full operation. During the summer vacation, learners have the time to complete all of their educational tasks and assignments, so this is the perfect chance to evaluate and improve your program. If your learners enjoyed the flexibility and portability of online learning during the school year, they will certainly appreciate having access to online learning during vacation.
Bringing your school’s or college’s existing e-learning program online during the summer break is a simple and straightforward process. All you need are a laptop or tablet and an Internet connection, and you can get started immediately.
Moving to an online learning environment during the summer provides several advantages. You can assign tasks and grades while monitoring their progress in real time and identify areas for improvement. In addition, you can provide additional support and guidance via specialized tutors and subject-matter experts.
The Rise of MOOCs and Other Online Learning Resources
Although the survey respondents were split on whether or not they favored a blended or a fully online learning environment, they clearly indicated that they prefer online learning resources over blended learning environments. This suggests that, even in the midst of the pandemic, people are still searching for educational resources, and those resources are primarily located online.
This trend is being driven by several factors, including the increased demand for specialized knowledge in today’s ever-changing world, as well as the desire to reduce costs and increase efficiency. When compared to blended learning environments, which require additional cost and structures such as labs and staff rooms, online learning environments offer a more flexible and portable alternative.
While the survey respondents prefer using digital tools in their teaching and learning, only 20% indicated that they had a good experience using them. This suggests that, even in 2019, there is still a lot of room for growth when it comes to technologies being applied in the classroom.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your school’s or college’s existing e-learning program, there are several platforms and resources available to support you. Many schools and colleges are turning to massive open online courses (MOOCs) as a way to better engage their learners and improve their educational experience.
MOOCs are platforms designed for online learning and teaching, and they were originally created for and used by universities and other higher-learning institutions. However, with the increasing popularity of MOOCs in schools and colleges, as well as the expanding use of technology in the classroom, the platform is becoming extremely valuable for K-12 schools and colleges as well.
The flexibility of being able to offer online learning during the summer vacation and integrate it into your school’s or college’s existing framework is perhaps the ultimate in terms of practical value. Even better, you can take your existing paper-based curriculum and digital tools, such as Quizlet and Canva, and repurpose them for your learners while also adding additional value.
The demand for highly specialized knowledge continues to grow, and many institutions and companies are responding by providing specialized online learning environments. In addition to MOOCs, there are several other online learning resources designed for specific subject areas and grade levels that can be used by schools and colleges. These range from university courses to in-demand niche skill sets, such as web design and development.
In an environment where everyone is working remotely due to the pandemic, the number of people looking to learn new things has increased. The demand for educational resources, particularly in terms of specialized subject matter, continues to grow. While there are many valuable resources available for teachers, students, and schools, the best resource is usually the one that is specifically designed for the educational environment in question.