How to know if virtual learning is the right solution for your family
Even before Covid-19 forced many of us to start working from home, many parents began to rethink their work-life balance. The advent of mobile technology has allowed us options we never had before, to work remotely from virtually anywhere. Meanwhile, the gig economy has dramatically altered our employment types, shifting from traditional 40-hour full-time jobs to providing on-demand contracted services.
These things combined have created the digital nomad, a location-independent worker able to take their laptop and earn an income anytime, from any location. Digital nomads are no longer just fresh out of college students but increasingly middle-aged adults with families (I know, because I’ve been one, living abroad on the Aegean coast of Turkey while earning an income from my laptop). Thus, that intrepid philosophy is now extending to how parents think about their children’s education, too. But how feasible is online education for kids?
Indeed, we’ve all discovered that distance learning is a viable option when it has to be, thanks to the Covid pandemic forcing home-based learning upon schools, parents, and kids whether we were ready or not. But what about more permanent online educational solutions for your young ones?
How do you know if that’s the right solution for your kids, whether you’re already a digital nomad or are considering the lifestyle?
There are several factors to take into consideration as we dwell on these crucial questions:
Are your children comfortable using devices?
These days, nearly every K-5 child has grown up with mobile technology in an Internet-accessible environment. Most are now comfortable using devices and are only a click away from instant access to information on the web. There are many kid-friendly (and kid-proof!) products made for children to explore the web safely, such as the Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablet.
Do your kids enjoy discovering new things online using popular learning apps and platforms?
In recent years, blended learning methods have been incorporating sophisticated online tools. The rise of learning management platforms like Blackboard and Canvas has slowly but surely transformed the very nature of teaching and learning, empowering educators to teach almost anything to students in virtually any place. It’s easier than ever for kids to use devices to engage in kid-friendly apps like Zoom or Google Classroom.
Is transportation a barrier to access?
In-person learning is inefficient and restrictive due to travel and the need to either live near good schools or risk receiving a lower quality education. Online learning eliminates that problem. Meanwhile, transporting kids to school is a growing struggle, as urban traffic gets more congested and weather more erratic, but that, too, is a problem distance learning quickly solves!
What’s your background with online learning for academic subjects?
For quite some time now, traditional university students have been outnumbered by “non-traditional” ones who attend classes online or via hybrid methods. Many digital nomad parents were non-traditional students. They’ve seen firsthand the pros and cons of both working and learning from afar and have chosen to keep going. Now those mobile parents are starting to demand educational solutions for their youngsters, too. If you’re comfortable with online learning as a parent, you’ll probably be more open to your child using it, too.
Do you want to be ahead of the curve?
It’s only a matter of time before K-12 education follows the path of university education, which is increasingly transitioning online. It makes sense to challenge the status quo when online learning seems inevitable due to its sheer convenience, flexibility, adaptability, and affordability. Covid has shaken up the world of education, driving teachers and students online. Meanwhile, social distancing requirements and lockdown have proven to the world that, yes, people can work and learn remotely from home.
Ways to prepare for the transition to online learning:
In the end, it’s up to each family to decide what’s best for their little ones. For parents wondering if their child is ready for such a permanent transition, try enrichment classes from education resources like Monster Education. With just 4-6 kids per live video class taught by top private school teachers, Monster Education allows you to take benefits of the flexibility and personalization of online learning. Classes from Singapore Math to Hands-On Science to Public Speaking are readily available to help students prepare for such an exciting future!
Matt Cates is a writer and educator. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults), via the University of Cambridge and the International Training Institute in Turkey. He embarked on his full time writing and teaching career after retiring from the Air Force in 2015 after 21 years of service.