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Challenge: Open Discussion

A Look at Online Learning for Children

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I remember when there was a lot of discussion about the start of online education. Some educators said that these classes were bound to be less expensive for university students, because schools will save money on construction costs for new buildings, utilities, parking, etc. Students use their own electricity and resources most of the time. I suspect that many online university students do not go back to campus to use labs and whatnot, unless maybe they a need special equipment.

Education has progressed to include online learning for our K-12 children. Students can get their education and diploma through online classes. I've heard commercials for a couple of online schools, but I'm sure that there are many more that I haven't heard of. By the way, I meet a lot of people from different regions in the world, and many of them are shocked when I mention the online educational opportunities available to students in the USA, because online degrees and diplomas are not available (online classes are usually available). In Amsterdam and South Korea, there has been some work to get robots to teach students in schools. I'd rather have a live teacher, teaching online, at least my child can interact with a human teacher!

I do have experience helping children with their homework in an online setting. I've also taken university classes online. I'm thinking of online education as a real option for children, but I don't think that it's a good fit for all children and parents. Why? Children have short attention spans, generally. I can keep children captivated for short spurts of time, but from what I've seen in the commercials, these online schools for children provide full-time education. I can't imagine anyone related to me (except me) learning something online long enough to meet legal education requirements. However, I will say that kids do love computers. and the online schools apparently send hands-on manipulatives to assist the educational experience. I'm curious to see what a full load of online classes is like for a 7-year old, though!

Like homeschooling, children can and do benefit from the one-on-one experience afforded in online education. From what I can tell, the online students have a teacher or teachers whom they can see and hear through their computers. So, the children are not just given a bunch of assignments and asked to figure it all out. Many students are low achievers in school, because they do not get lengthy focused attention (unless the student has been identified as a special needs student). The online education experience can give students this attention, but many students will benefit from having a parent nearby to help them stay focused on the lessons and to aid with behavioral issues.

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