Future for Education: Is Online Schooling an Option?

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Jack Josef

Carter Josef ’21 completes some online assignments for his e-learning classes.

Quin McCarroll

In the midst of a global pandemic, life is not what it used to be just two or three months ago. Stay at home orders around the nation have forced us to get creative and flexible in order to do what needs to get done. One of the most relevant changes is the switch to online learning in our schools.

The switch to online learning was not an easy one. Brian Brugger and the Eagle County Schools Technology Department have been working tirelessly to keep the schooling operation running, and made a crazy effort to switch in the time of a single weekend. But through this challenging switch, we have learned a lot, and opened up a new possibility. Every student and every teacher currently in the school system now knows how to do online schooling, and this gives us the opportunity to incorporate this new tool into a normal school year. 

Online schooling can be an answer to a lot of issues in the school system. For example, snow days and other weather related closures could be dealt out more liberally in order to protect students, as with online schooling, students could just complete the day’s work online. Right now, online school does not count towards “seat time,” which is how the state measures how long students are in school to ensure that all kids get enough time in school. But with our current situation, that is likely to change, and state regulators might open up to moving school time over to an online platform. 

School by its nature is full of a lot more problems. Many students have trouble waking up to get to school, others think it moves too slow, or too fast. Others find it very restricting; many students don’t like restrictions the school day puts on their lives. Adding some online schooling into the mix of school days could be a very great way to give students some of the freedom they want. 

Adding some planned online days into the year means that students can choose to wake up when they wish, and work at whatever pace they like. As long as the work is done on time, it doesn’t matter when or how students get it done. 

Right now, it is easy to hate online school. It has gone on a lot longer than we thought it would, and, if you are following the guidelines, you probably haven’t seen a lot of your friends for a couple months. But that’s not what online school has to be if properly incorporated into more “normal” times. Without global pandemic, school facilities can still be open to students who need to use them, and all the other things we love, like sports, don’t have to be cancelled either. 

Of course, even without global pandemic, there are still some problems associated with online schooling. Many students have trouble engaging with online learning, and keeping up with their work. There is nobody there to pressure them to stay off their phones and get the work they need to get done, done. The school also provides a lot of services to students in need as well, from free and reduced lunches to services for special education, which are harder to provide virtually. 

While these problems are important factors to be looked into, and if overused could be less effective, online schooling could be a very good way to make education a little more manageable for students. And with proper planning and deliberation, I think are a very useful and viable addition to the school year.