In the past year, students across the United States had to make major adjustments to their learning styles because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. While they were previously sitting in classrooms, surrounded by peers, and participating in hands-on activities, they now have become accustomed to learning through a computer screen. The question is: While virtual learning has come with many educational detriments, could it be preparing students for a future of remote work?
Many expect, or at least hope, that there is a positive aspect in contrast to the numerous drawbacks that come with remote learning. However, research shows that this may not be the case. According to a study completed by Common Sense Media in 2020, 30% of all public K12 students live in households that do not have internet connection or do not have an adequate virtual learning device. This digital divide not only prevents students from keeping up with their classmates, but it puts them at risk of significant learning loss.
Some Students are Thriving with Virtual Learning
While many students are experiencing difficulties because of virtual learning, some are thriving. In a remote setting, distractions are limited, and students can learn how to self-regulate. Some students who struggled in the physical classroom have demonstrated a significant change in their schoolwork. The flexibility of online schedules gives students the ability to take breaks, exercise, or spend time with family. All of which research shows to be beneficial for children and adolescents. Many school systems have encouraged teachers to be more lenient with grading during virtual learning which also lowers the stress levels of many students. A Pew Research Study, conducted before the pandemic, cited academic pressure as the top pressure that teens face. Many hope that these positive aspects of virtual learning will translate to success in the remote workplace.
Other Students are Experiencing Difficulties
Global Workplace Analytics research shows that while 56% of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is compatible with remote work, only 25-30% of the workforce will continue to work remotely by the end of 2021. With that said, current trends predict that employers will be returning to “normal” as quickly as they can, post-pandemic.
In addition, K12 students will not be entering the workforce for a few years so it is difficult to predict whether or not the skills they have developed will translate to success at work. However, these skills can lead to success at the university level. For years, colleges have offered hybrid and remote learning options for courses.
Another downside to virtual learning is the drastic effect it can have on K12 student’s mental health. A study from the National Institutes of Health found that children and adolescents are more likely to experience high rates of depression and anxiety during and after enforced quarantine ends due to social isolation. Lack of motivation is another issue that many students are facing because of COVID-19 and remote learning. Children are losing motivation and confidence during virtual schooling because it is more difficult for teachers to provide personal and individualized feedback.
How Can You Best Prepare Your Students for Success?
There are some major skillsets that can be developed from virtual learning like efficient communication and time management. However, in the case of K12 students, the detriments of remote schooling outweigh the benefits.
As school systems are slowly reopening and preparing to return to in-person learning, it is important that they are prepared for emergencies from coronavirus exposure scares to mental health emergencies to the unthinkable. Communication is key throughout any critical event. Rave Mobile Safety’s K12 School Safety Solutions will allow school administrators to do just that.
Resources for Students, Parents, and Educators:
Decision-making tool for parents and guardians
Mental Health Resources