Written by Novella Teacher, Dawn Ruiz, M.S
As we gradually move toward a new reality of education, we come to see that many things have changed. Will we ever be able to work with students the way we have in the past? Or is this our new normal – a virtual reality of online learning? If history shows us anything it is that change is inevitable. How has this change to online instruction enhanced the learning process for millions of students across the globe? Put simply, it has changed the game of efficiency in instruction. What once took an hour to deliver – now can be done in half the time. Thus, it seems that virtual classrooms and online instruction are here to stay. Whether students are in the classroom or at home, technology will certainly continue to drive education into the future.
Digital education is a game changer. Our students are now learning in an environment where everything moves at gig speed. Cell phones, the Internet, social media – they all move and grow so quickly we can almost barely keep up with the technology. Smartphones have become synonymous with new cars – when they leave the showroom they become obsolete! How can we expect a student that has been exposed to this virtual education to go back to the chalk and talk of in-person learning? It just won’t happen. Students have been primed to switch gears – once going page to page in a textbook to now, with a click of a button, navigating from screen to screen in a millisecond. Having entered the world of virtual learning, it is now familiar, and likely here to stay.
As a classroom teacher and multi-subject tutor for over 20 years, I have seen the change – the historic shift in students’ perspectives. Where students once adapted to the “listen and learn” methodology of classroom instruction, learning engagements are now more often characterized by waning attention spans brought on by the emergence of social media and other technology. Students want information and they want it fast. They have expectations of information being delivered on an instantaneous level with no time to wait. Adapting to these shifts calls for a modern solution – one that builds on the technological innovations available and recognizes these changing patterns of engagement in today’s students.
As a Novella Prep Study Skills Teacher, I am amazed at what my students and I are able to accomplish in our 30 minute online sessions. In the classroom, it would take me over an hour to cover the same material and information we discuss in just a half-hour. Not only can I efficiently implement the core curricular elements that Novella’s programs are known for, I am also able to work with students one-on-one in a way that allows for more meaningful conversation, personal exchanges, and insights. With the efficiency of our online sessions and the Internet at our fingertips, our instruction works as quickly as our thoughts, a reality unheard of in a traditional classroom setting.
The past few years, I have seen firsthand these shifts in perspective in each and every student. Today’s learners are much more at home working online than ever before. Instruction now moves at their pace – fast and furious – and, when done right, they love it. Though we will eventually return to the classroom and enjoy the wonders of social connection once again, virtual learning and online instruction will continue to hold an important role for students, offering immense benefits when conducted with purpose and attention. As we know, when students enjoy the learning experience and feel their needs are being met, magic happens in the classroom.