National Online Learning Day is celebrated annually on September 15, and although it was only created in 2016, it’s a growing “day”. This day highlights students of all ages who have the ability to learn anywhere, anytime, and thrive wherever their technology and imagination take them.
Technology in the past decade has completely transformed and built bridges in education. Even before the pandemic, online learning was growing and being adopted. As we entered the COVID-19 pandemic, educational institutions were forced to think digitally, and our viewpoint of online education shifted from “option” to “necessity”.
Whether you’re enrolled in a virtual course, working from home, or sitting in on a virtual conference, nearly all of us, at some compacity, take part in online learning—and it’s here to stay! The ability to learn online will continue to provide people with new resources and support for many years to come. Let’s dive into some advantages of online learning and discover helpful resources to thrive online.
This post is written by guest blogger, Peter Kritsch MS, Adjunct Instructor BTC Institute.
When I was in the middle of my junior year in high school, my family moved. We had lived in the first state for 12 years. I had gone to school there since kindergarten. Although it wasn’t a small district, I knew everybody and, for better or worse, everybody knew me. Often the first reaction I get when I tell people when we moved is that it must have been hard to move so close to graduation. The reality is . . . it really wasn’t. In fact, it was quite liberating. See, I didn’t have to live up to anybody else’s expectations of who I was based on some shared experience in 2nd grade. I had the opportunity to be who I wanted to be, to try new things without feeling like I couldn’t because that wasn’t who I was supposed to be.
As long as I refrained from beginning too many sentences with “Well at my old school . . . “ people had to accept me for who I was in that moment, not for who they perceived me to be for the previous 12 years. Now, the new activities were not radically different. I still played baseball and still geeked out taking AP science classes, but I picked up new activities like golf, playing basketball with my friends, and even joined the yearbook. I know . . . “radically different.” The point is that the new situation allowed me to try something new without worrying about what had always been.
The pandemic has forced a lot of us to move our classrooms online. In a short period of time, everything changed about how education was done. Our prior teaching experience, including the experience I had with doing blended learning (ooops . . . “back at my old school”), was helpful to a point. But we quickly found out that being completely virtual was different. And as science teachers, how do you do more than just teach concepts when online? How do you help students to continue engaging in the crucial parts of science – observing, questioning, designing, analyzing, and communicating?
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