Virtual learning is here to stay, in one way, or another…and most likely in a variety of ways, for a variety of reasons. The number one reason? Flexibility. Virtual learning and its ability to provide flexible options for students is most likely our future. The past year has been a model for how to deal with disruptions that may arise. Of course, right now, the current pandemic is at the forefront of our minds, but what about inclement weather days? Sick days? Family emergencies? An option for students to attend virtually a few days before a holiday break? Or, how about flexible learning options in general? These are all very real possibilities.
In order to prepare for the future, and continue to progress, schools are investing in tech equity. When used effectively, technology can greatly contribute to creating equity in schools. In many ways, technology removes barriers to learning materials, while supporting students. However, there are some significant hurdles to overcome.
1) Teacher education programs:
Will need to require virtual learning instruction methods. In a recent Gallup Education poll, the #1 answer for why some teachers may not use digital tools? Training, or lack thereof. School districts are actively searching for virtual learning skillsets in their new hires and will continue to do so.
2) Available technology and internet access:
In remote and rural areas will continue to be a challenge in certain areas throughout the nation.
3) Standardized tests:
They will need to change to accommodate a virtual learning model, or, will they go away altogether
4) Time. Talk to a teacher:
This year and they will tell you about how much time it takes to modify a lesson plan for virtual learning. In order to keep up with several students, consistently, there will be several opportunities for an effective and efficient virtual learning curriculum to be created.
Prior to 2020, virtual school was an option typically reserved for special circumstances—students in unique situations or with unique learning needs.
Virtual schooling has grown in popularity over the years, especially in higher education. However, it has never been a mainstream educational option in the K-12 sector, until, school districts across the country had no other option but to attempt virtual, or at home, learning. Now, virtual learning is here to stay, and the opportunities are endless.
Look at the list above. Within that list, there are already countless opportunities for teacher support in both K-12 and higher education. In addition to that, there are opportunities for curriculum design, content creation, data analysis, and all things ed-tech!