Since the pandemic hold ground from March 2020, it had been forcing schools to shut down all over the world. And replace in-person teaching with remote means of learning. These revolutionary circumstances are, for technology-obsessed people, impeccable for the complete transition of the traditional teaching environment, prioritizing the concept of the virtual school, and the increasing personalization of students.
Although virtual schools have widely existed in many western countries like the USA. It had little impact on the overall society. But with the pandemic, all the schools were turned into virtue schools of remote learning. And that gave us a lot of insight and data, both positive and negative on the impact of remote learning on students.
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Remote learning before the pandemic
Numerous studies have analyzed the results. For students undertaking exclusively remote learning medium of education with those who attend traditional school and physical classes.
In 2015, the University of Standford Research Centre into Education Results contrasted learning progress achieved by 158 virtual schools from 17 US states with students attending physical classes. Their study reported that students who were remote learning had lower grades in mathematics as compared to students from traditional schools.
In 2020, (Carycruz Bueno 2020) analyzed the learning output of over 100,000 students attending virtual schools in the state of Georgia in the US, from 2007-2016. And the study showed students attending full-time virtual schools had significantly lower performance in the subjects of English, maths, sciences, and social studies among students from all classes.
Brian Fitzpatrick researched the academic results of students. From grade 3 till grade 8 in the US state of Indiana across seven years (2010-2017). The study concentrated on 2000 white students from middle-class backgrounds. And with high academic results on average before commencing their study in a remote learning institution. And the impact of remote learning negatively impacted the students. Their math scores decreased for the first year after the transfer and then consecutively kept on decreasing each year.
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Remote learning after the Covid Pandemic
Many studies also studied remote learning, especially after the pandemic. As of now, the sample size was even greater for researchers to conduct their studies.
Steve Bissonette analyzed 19 studies on the impact of remote learning on the academic progress of around 13 million students from various European nations. And confirmed the pattern of negative outcomes for reading with a stronger emphasis on mathematics from students who started remote learning. One such study reported an average loss of between 9 and 5 months of education till June of 2021.
Cheating has become incredibly easier during remote learning. Many teachers report that the students are cheating on their tests. A recent study reported that 93% of educators who were surveyed claimed that students are more inclined to cheat during online courses. However, some mediums of cheating cannot even be curtailed by physical learning institutions. For example, many students buy essay papers online and some of the best college essay writing services are freely available on the net whom remote learning students, as well as students who are attending physical classes, take advantage of.
Mental Health of Students in Remote learning
Many students suffer from mental or emotional health problems as a consequence of remote learning. Before the pandemic, students could interact with their peers during lunch and throughout the school hours. But with fully remote education, they cannot socialize with their peers face-to-face. It can get incredibly boring and lonely for children to stay inside the home all day with no friends to learn with.
The significance of being able to foster friendships during high school is a crucial aspect of stabilizing one’s mental health. And remote learning harms those connections with terminating face-to-face contact among peers. In our generation, we are heavily dependent on electronic devices and social media for communication. That physical learning offers us an opportunity to interact with others physically instead of virtually.
Lack of Physical Activity
Another drawback of remote learning is the absence of any kind of physical activity among children. Many children’s only source of exercise is from gym class or sports in schools. But in the remote learning model, gym class is conducted virtually. In which the coach offers some tips and instructions for the exercise. And then students log off from the class and stay glued to their social media or games. As there is no higher authority physically present with them to ensure they are exercising sufficiently.
And students can easily lie about having done their exercises. And the coach will have no way of knowing if the student is telling the truth or not.
The latest study by BMC Public Health reports that variations in physical activity during the pandemic have resulted in an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease among children.
We need to guarantee that high standard remote learning should be established. Virtual learning should remove itself from the paedagogic methods mostly linked with technologies. According to Christodoulou, “technology has been applied to introduce increasing levels of pseudo-science into the teaching profession.” It is crucial to transfer the important factors for optimized teachings in a physical format to remote learning. Over 50 years of studies into effective teaching display the positive impacts of direct, systematic, and clear teaching on the academic development of all students with much greater effects on students suffering from learning difficulties.
Physical modes of education are no doubt superior to remote methods of learning in almost every way. But in exceptional circumstances like the Covid Pandemic of 2020, remote learning is the only form of education for the children to receive. We have to make sure that we don’t get dependent on this kind of education. And should only consider this form of education as a temporary problem that would be rid of as soon as the pandemic ends. Remote learning can never replace the traditional form of education, as its disadvantages far outweigh its benefits. Hopefully, the pandemic reaching its end in most countries with the implementation of vaccines. We would soon be back to having our children go to schools and away from remote learning.
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