Could we thrive in a society where learning takes place only online?
I am writing this update immediately after teaching a computing lesson to Year 4.
It is interesting to think that as the lesson progressed I could be in many different places at once. I was behind my desk at Dovercourt in person, yet also in many homes across the area as the children watched video playback on their screens at home. I have recorded a series of short clips for the girls to work through at their own pace and that means that I can then be available to troubleshoot and answer questions. This seems to be an effective approach and the evidence is clear in the coding that is being produced.
We are fortunate that the approach of the school was already for the children to take ownership of their own learning. Continually asking the girls to make decisions on how confident they are in a particular area allows them the self-assurance to be able to work more independently at home. It is certainly true that online learning has taken some getting used to for everyone involved. However, I do feel this week that it has become embedded and children are producing some excellent work across the whole school.
The situation has also had the effect of building the self-esteem of some girls by proving to them that they can do the work independently. As time has gone on there has definitely been a move, particularly from Year 3 up, for the girls to be in lessons with less parental help. As they have developed their ICT skills they have been enabled to concentrate more on the task in hand.
Is this then the future? Do we need actual schools or could we survive and thrive in a society where learning happens entirely online? I am sure you will not be surprised to hear my emphatic negative on this particular point. There is so much more to school than what happens in the classroom and nothing can replace the actual interaction of teacher and pupil. As conversation turns to when we might return I cannot help but look forward to the buzz of the classroom and the sights and sounds of a playground full of children.