Some are at their best in class discussion. Others must be encouraged to participate. Some are brilliant at independent learning. Others may need to be supervised, or work better in a group-setting. The problem of accommodating different learning needs and styles is one that’s plagued education for centuries. But now, online schooling is here to help every learner, every teacher and every parent.
Online schooling is much more flexible than traditional schooling: where traditional classrooms have struggled to accommodate different needs within a single class, online classrooms can mould themselves around the individual. The traditional school day is bound by time constraints, and teachers are unable to run lessons that suit every single child, in every single class, every single time. Online learning enables teachers and students to learn and communicate away from those constraints. It steps in to ‘top up’ what traditional lessons perhaps can’t provide.
Of course, we’re not here to say that online schooling is ‘better’ than traditional schooling. This isn’t an ‘either/or’ thing. Online learning is at its best when it comes from a strong foundation of classroom learning.
So, how can schools make use of online learning? Well, here are some suggestions for how different types of school can improve both student performance and experience through online teaching softwares:
Start as you mean to go on!
Nurseries have a lot to gain from online schooling! The internet is only going to get bigger as nursery-age children grow, so introducing them into online learning at the earliest possible age will give them digital fluency and skills for life.
Platforms like Kinteract provide nursery children with online learning journals to serve as lifetime records of achievement. At the click of a button, new teachers and tutors are able to see their student’s academic history and development as they move from class-to-class.
Online nurseries also make it much easier for parents and teachers to communicate. There’s not always time for full, proper communication at the end of the day when tired children, busy teachers and busy parents coincide at the nursery gates. But online platforms provide safe, private spaces for stakeholders to discuss nursery matters.
There are also huge advantages when it comes to admin. With teachers able to record their observations quickly and easily online, it’s simpler than ever to do things like calculate attendance and write reports. This frees up a lot of time for the 'grown-ups' to do what they’re really there for - to teach - and to look out for the children in their care.
By the time students hit primary school, they are developing in leaps and bounds. They master new skills every day - so fast, that it can be hard to keep up (especially in the beautiful chaos of a primary classroom!)
Online teaching software helps teachers to track new achievements and make observations. They can then bring these up at the click of a button when it’s time to write a report, or to chat with parents about how their child is getting on - and it becomes a seamless and fluid activity.
Teachers are also able to share things like student artwork with parents, without having to worry about precious primary school souvenirs getting crumpled up or forgotten in schoolbags.
Crucially, online learning begins to come into its own in another way at primary school. In traditional classrooms, more extroverted children tend to dominate teacher time and attention. Their more introverted peers, meanwhile, may sink into the background. This can set up lifetime patterns of non-participation for less outspoken students. Online, however, quieter students have more of a chance to make comments and communicate with their teachers.
Secondary school is where the flexibility of online learning brings huge advantages.
Secondary school is where young individuals start to individuate. Some thrive in certain subjects, others develop faster socially than others, some fall behind academically but develop other skills. It’s hard for teachers to keep tabs on everyone! Online learning platforms, however, give students the space and time they need to develop skills in ways which work for them.
If they can’t concentrate in a busy classroom, their 'virtual classroom' provides peace and quiet for study.
If they struggle to attract a teacher’s attention, firing off a message or booking an online appointment can make all the difference.
If traditional classroom learning styles don’t suit them, the virtual classroom can direct students to resources which will help them through the curriculum in ways that are personalised for them.
Group work is often a bit fraught in secondary school classrooms. Feuds, crushes, (at times) bullying and so on, can all get in the way of group projects. Nonetheless, group work is really important for setting young adults up for success later in life. Online teaching software is great for productive collaboration. It makes sure that everyone has a voice - not just 'the bigger personalities' - and that discussion is well-structured, fair and enhances student wellbeing and class engagement.
And as always, teachers can record achievements and observations, which can then be shared with parents and other faculty members.
Academies are large, and their approaches often differ to those of other state schools. It’s not always easy to keep track of everything that’s going on. Virtual teaching software or digital learning platforms support academy faculty to monitor student progress, while keeping on top of admin. It allows educators to spot and share concerns quickly and easily.
For students, online learning platforms give them enhanced communication with their teachers, and access to much-needed resources. It helps them to map their academic journeys, and enables them in their independent learning.
Let’s be honest. The pandemic has taught us a lot, about communication, wellbeing and self-care, and it’s definitely taught us that we all work and learn in different ways.
Just as many students struggle with traditional learning, some experienced real problems when their lessons went completely digital in 2020. While some parents were delighted at the progress their children were making with online lessons, others were startled by falling grades.
Online learning has a lot of flexibility. The right online education platform can mould itself around the needs of the individual, and provide a truly interactive and inclusive learning experience. However, that doesn’t mean it needs to replace traditional schools.
Online schooling should enhance traditional schools - making them better, stronger, more inclusive. It definitely should not replace them!
Online teaching software lightens the load for teachers, while simultaneously providing additional layers of support for students. Virtual spaces can facilitate communication, add flexibility to the curriculum, and give students the tools they need to learn in their own way. But online learning is always at its best when blended with a traditional school experience.
To learn more about how Kinteract’s comprehensive online learning platform can improve your school, contact us today for a demo.