While COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available, the Delta variant of the virus is raging across the country and forcing schools to navigate continued risk. Because of this, the virtual learning experience has lasted.
Educators, fatigued by tech challenges, student disengagement, reduced virtual attendance, and lower test scores, are worried. That said, virtual learning will continue for the foreseeable future because, still, no one knows what that future looks like.
Educators will have to focus on the advantages of the virtual classroom system, ways to improve virtual learning as a whole, and the quality of online education. By learning to engage virtual students in digital classrooms, educators will be able to build relationships with and teach students well–no matter what the world looks like as the rest of 2021 rolls on.
The challenging road ahead
What does the path for virtual students in digital classrooms look like as the pandemic continues? There are significant challenges ahead. State education budgets have plummeted alongside enrollment revenues, and communities fear the physical proximity of in-person learning.
That’s why it’s important to address the most pressing issues of the moment. Here are just a few:
Many students are offline. According to the National Education Association, about 25 percent of households with school-age children lack a computer, satisfactory Wi-Fi, or both. The numbers are even worse for economically disadvantaged students. Education leaders have noticed a drop in sign-ins, and the reasons behind this lack in participation remain unclear.
Building relationships with students virtually requires more effort. Schools have enlisted the help of as many adults as possible to stay accountable for virtual students in digital classrooms. And educators have resorted to using tools that most appeal to students, such as YouTube, podcasts, email, and texts. These efforts require more planning across the board.