The Importance of Education and Online Learning

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In 2016, nearly everyone involved in the education system (parents,students, teachers, researchers) can tell that things are changing, fast. As a young educator-in-training, I see these shifts in real life each week, as I compare my own experiences with those I had growing up. I currently teach 8th graders at Riverside Middle School when I myself was an 8th grader around 8 years ago, and the difference I see is stark. Each student now has a chromebook, which they use frequently and efficiently. 8 years ago I was taking a mandatory typing class, griping about how I did not think I would ever need to know how to type 75 words per minute. Of course, learning to type properly has become an invaluable skill, which most of the students I see now …show more content…
Rather, I may agree with him that classrooms could become fully digitalized within the next 20 years, however, I am extremely skeptical over his point that the websites and softwares he explored “already have a distinct advantage over me as an individual teacher. “ Students have a complex variety of needs that no computer program can attend to,go certainly not in the same way an engaged teacher could. I would argue, as would the Association for American Educators, that teaching goes beyond simple instruction and includes many ethical responsibilities. A computer program may be able to measure progress across multiple topics, but it has no empathy or understanding of the human condition. It cannot (at least, at this time) deduce a reason for lack of performance other than lack of knowledge. Which, as a student and a teacher, it is obvious that this is not the only reason students perform poorly. A computer program does not notice if a student never has lunch money, it cannot stop bullying, and it cannot notice signs of domestic abuse or mental issues. Without a teacher there daily, guiding students through obstacles of life and learning, many students would lose out on opportunities for a savior, a mentor, and/or a friend. Kids with extenuating circumstances would be doomed to suffer in silence as they chug away at their …show more content…
As educator and online-learning skeptic Larry Cuban writes, “ There are stars among instructors who relish the work, plan thoughtfully, and use the limited face-to-face interaction and discussion threads creatively. They offer many stories of student success.” In order to be a helpful “Guide on the Side” whilst utilizing online learning, there are several things to consider. Firstly is access and ability. If students do not have access to technology, or do not know how to use it, it is vital that the teacher provide somewhat of an instruction to ensure all students are on a level playing field. While Sugata Mitra, in his TED Talk, shows how students of any age in any condition could figure out how to use technology, unless it is a technology class, it is important to ensure students are somewhat aware of how to use the technology before it is used in the classroom. For example, one might have students download G Suite Training for use on their home computers if they were going to complete assignments utilizing Google Classroom or other G Suite applications. Students also must learn Information Fluency, otherwise known as acquiring the useful information out of the “infowhelm” of the internet (Crockett, Jukes, & Churches,

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