Why Online Education May Not Work For Your Childby : Tiffany Tunnell
posted on : 3/25/2014
There’s no denying that online education has been sweeping the country. Back in 2011, CNN reported that as many as a quarter of a million students, kindergarten through twelfth grade, were enrolled in online schools. As you can imagine, that number has greatly risen over the past few years.
As a parent, you may have wondered if this trend is really a better educational option, and you may have also wondered why so many parents have chosen to have their children learn online. Do online schools really prepare children that well?
Like any key issue, online education has its list of Pros and Cons that parents should consider when making the critical decision of whether or not to switch to online schooling. Here are the best arguments both for and against online education:
In order to form a more educated opinion about online schooling and what it would mean for you and your children, let’s examine this list of Pros and Cons in more depth. First, many parents like the idea of online schooling because it offers more variety in courses, including some that are international. Second, online courses generally have flexible schedules that are conducive to busy families and working teens. Third, online courses are also generally free of textbook costs, and are usually associated with lower tuition costs. Also, online schools are able to teach content according to their own curriculum guidelines and therefore students may be exposed to better, more diverse content. Further, instant grading let’s you know immediately how you are doing in the class.
With all these pros, online education seems like a wise choice. However, what you may not know about online schools, you could find quite alarming. Online schools may actually be unknowingly setting up their students for academic, as well as, social failure.
Did you know that many online courses utilize pre-made videos with actors teaching scripted material, instead of live teachers? Also, curriculum often consists of snapshots and picture images of books and materials. This can create a distorted, condensed version of the material that students actually need to know. Also concerning is there is little teacher interaction, so many students report more than half of their coursework is reading books independently or going online to other sites to figure out course material. Many students who have reviewed online education stated it was much harder to learn coursework, because they believed they had little support.
Another big problem is since there is no physical classroom, students receive little to no interaction with peers. Instead of engaging classroom discussions and learning from each other, as well as their educator, they are often required to communicate solely in written form. As you can imagine, this type of education is difficult for students who are not strong grammatically, who are not visual learners, and anyone who isn’t organized and self-motivated.
Independent learning may give online students the false security they can push back coursework. After all, they should be able to learn “at their own pace”, right? Many times, these students find themselves scrambling last minute to complete assignments just before deadlines.
Which begs the question…”What do you do when you don’t know an answer?” “Google it!” Many teachers of online classes are witnessing an alarming increase of plagiarism and cheating in their courses. Surprise, surprise! In most cases, students haven’t really learned at all – they merely copied answers, and turned in the work. This is contributing to another alarming trend – a significant decrease in problem solving skills and a genuine lack of persistence in many students.
Lastly, a major contributer behind the rise of online education is the idea that online schools provide a higher quality, more rigorous education than public school due to freedom of curriculum and international coursework. In actuality though, online schools are privately funded, which means they don’t have coursework requirements like a public school would. What does this mean to you? Little or no accountability, for one. That’s right – online schools may actually be offering curriculum that is inadequate to your child’s current needs and state requirements.
At the end of the day, do your own research so you can decide what’s best for your child. Also, it’s important to realize there are other options. Research shows that by pairing an individualized learning program with school work (whether it is public, charter, private, or online), students can usually accelerate their education greatly above that of their peers.
Programs like MathRise® Learning Centers in Litchfield Park and Glendale, Arizona, help students achieve high academic standards by providing unique 1 on 1 learning programs which are designed to meet and exceed your child’s academic expectations in Mathematics and Language Arts. At MathRise® students are provided the opportunity for individualized learning, similar to an online school experience, coupled with the teacher/student interaction of a private school, always in a one-on-one environment for optimal learning!
For more information about a MathRise® Learning Center near you, please call 623-536-7679 or stop by.