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Would the elimination of schools be a positive modification? If I could just go on personal experience, my heart tells me I ought to defend the school system. My high school life was safe, interactive, and fun. My school building was where I felt most comfortable. Although, not many people can say they went to a school of under 200 kids. I don’t have much experience to be able to address the average school system, since I attended a private school, but nevertheless, I will defend the existence of the classroom.
I believe if education is aiming reach students who have all varieties of learning capabilities, the online classroom would over looking kinesthetic learners. Looking on a screen for hours at a time would drive many students “up the wall”, and make learning even more difficult. Although school would be not as difficult to get to, it would be much, much easier to ignore, and so I say, not as easy to attend. And, even when you do sign on for class in the morning, concentration would be more difficult, absolutely. Without the presence of other learners and a teacher that you are present with, there is a loss of urgency and relevancy. No one to discipline, no one to provide emphasis by walking closer or father to you, only a screen. Which, no matter who or what is behind it, cannot deliver the same effect a teacher can.
It would also conflicts with certain classes, such as PE, drama, woodworking, and art. Tangibility is essential for these. The most obvious answer to me would be a separate school for touch-mandatory classes. I don’t believe this is practical either, because it creates a divide between classes and topics.
Education should be bridging and making connections over many areas, relating science and math to real life, physics to our cars, not to mention the social aspect as well. By eliminating the physical presence of students, all physical connections that could be made to the class are ruled out as well. If someone wanted to play a game with their classmates to demonstrate democracy, it would have to be moved online, which often defeats the impact and purpose of many interactive games. If everything can be seen as intertwined, everything can be seen as important. Not only would the elimination of schools destroy the possibility of intertwining physicality of other classes, but it would separate mind and body as well. A physical expression or activity to what is being learned helps students remember, and make better connections, new connections, about the reality of what they are learning.
As for the social aspect, it is true that bullying and cliques could be toned down, possibly eliminated, but if there is any sort of community, there will be conflict to be dealt with. Perhaps it is just the teachers who will not have to deal with those issues as much. What also concerns me as a future educator is that I could not connect to my students. When you see someone in person, you can sense their feelings towards an issue, you can give encouragement to someone because you can tell that they are sad, not tired. Through a screen, intuition and reading the students attitudes would be gone, along with many opportunities to influence their lives. So many students will slip under the radar, without ever getting the notice they need.
As educators, we need to be encouraging connections of all kinds, and educating in all types of ways. Moving the high school experience online just removes too many important elements that are needed to keep school interesting and enjoyable. I’m afraid continuing to move the learning experience online will stifle the future of learning. It will be cheaper. It will be convenient. But it won’t be effective.
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