Some students who thrive in digital learning may stay virtual
A year after the pandemic, online learning is here to stay for some students who are thriving with the virtual option.
ATLANTA – When classrooms abruptly began closing last March, schools across the country pivoted in the wake of an emerging pandemic.
Many students have had to overcome the barriers of the digital classroom as systems fail and families struggle to connect to new virtual classrooms.
Although the detrimental effects of online learning have been documented, some students have found new successes.
Michelle Smith said she has always been a ‘school perseverant’ but the pandemic’s distance learning setup has led her to discover something new about her 11-year-old daughter.
“I was always in school, volunteering, helping them get things done,” Smith said, telling 11Alive that she had never considered alternatives to face-to-face learning before. the pandemic.
“I learned during that time that we were home and online, that she is a self-motivator,” Smith said, adding that her daughter quickly understood her lessons and completed her homework.
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“I didn’t know that when she was in school she always did well. But I didn’t know she was bored, ”she said.
She said her daughter not only thrives in distance learning, but that Grade 5 takes advantage of the extra time teachers set aside to rehearse instructions, learning Japanese and the violin.
The Smith family are such a fan of the online option, Nichelle, 11, will be joining the new Fulton County school. Fulton Academy of Virtual Excellence this autumn.
“Many families have realized that the virtual option worked for them,” said Dr. Gyimah Whitaker, assistant principal of studies for Fulton County Schools. “It works for their lifestyle, it works for their kids and they want to continue as an option.”
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According to the district, more than 700 families of Fulton’s 90,000 students have already signed up to the virtual school full-time.
“We’ve learned a lot over the year. I think all Americans have learned a lot over the years, and there are ways to connect students virtually, which we never dreamed of.”
The trend to maintain online options is emerging among schools nationwide.
A recent poll by Rand Corporation showed that two in ten districts have already adopted, are planning to adopt, or are considering making virtual school an option after the pandemic.
While a spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Education said state officials have not investigated the districts, “we know that many districts will continue to offer virtual classrooms and virtual optional courses even if the pandemic abates. ”
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“We have been offering state-level virtual courses through Georgia Virtual for over a decade, and many districts also have their own offerings through other virtual course providers. We also have a few full-time virtual schools.” , Matt Cardoza, Dir. of External Affairs and Public Health Liaison K-12 said. “What’s different now is that districts are offering full-time virtual classrooms and a virtual experience instead of face-to-face.
“We believe families can decide the right context for their children’s learning needs,” Cardoza said. “We believe that most students do best in a face-to-face environment, but for some students, high quality full-time online training offers a good alternative.”
It was an alternative the Smith family had never considered before the pandemic.
“I’m just grateful to have the opportunity to learn something new about my daughter and see her do well,” said Smith.