Problems with the Shift to Online Learning Materials

The days of the heavy backpack and a highlighting pen to use while doing required reading for class are disappearing. Schools are shifting to the usage of online lessons, which are downloaded by the student and then used at home and in the classroom. Schools are thrilled because the content of these lessons is often free saving them millions of dollars on textbooks. The fact that online learning seems to come naturally to our youth is listed as a factor in this shift to online learning sources, which is not surprising since many of these young adults are never without some form of technological device be it a phone or tablet. On the surface this all sounds wonderful but I see many challenges and problems with the push to total online learning sources.

1. What happens to the child who cannot afford the latest device to keep up with required download speeds. Will schools shift dollars spent to buying devices versus textbooks at no cost saving and will the student be allowed to use the device at home.?

2. Nonprofits and philanthropists are heading the movement to create much of this online learning content. How do we know they are truly qualified to do so?

3.Reading a teen’s comment that she cannot use a table of contents or index in a book of any type makes me shudder. If the only way youth can find information is through a Google search, who is going to break it to them that not everything on the internet is verified truth? Also, if they are studying a subject for the first time how will these students know they have correctly searched all content and gotten enough information?

4. Many parents are rebelling against the Common Core Curriculum. If this is converted to online material only, how will these parents know or have control over what their children are learning?

5. The comment that teachers like online materials because they can easily alter them and use them as they wish also creates concern. Who will be overseeing what content each teacher is creating and presenting to their students?

I will not label the use of online educational material as being absolutely horrible or unnecessary but I also think parents should be allowed to have knowledge and a say in what is presented to their children in our private, charter and public school systems. It also might be worth educating this generation of youth on how to properly use printed material, as we cannot afford to have life stop if the internet is down. My answer to this many years ago was to homeschool my four children and I still encourage any family to seriously research this option as a viable alternative to the school systems in our society today. There is no better way to build relationships with your children and teach them to be self-reliant and successful adults. Children have a natural thirst to learn and be creative. Let’s help them develop all of their interests and create goals they want to fulfill.

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