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Virtual learning environments can help students develop a creative and diverse perspective--here are some specific benefits

How a global community helps students adapt to virtual learning

Virtual learning environments can help students develop a creative and diverse perspective--here are some specific benefits

With more than 290 million students worldwide affected by the coronavirus outbreak, students and teachers needed to shift their entire educational experience to an online platform within a matter of weeks.

As we continue to navigate these trying times, it’s imperative that students, parents, and teachers feel supported by their education systems as we all face new challenges stemming from online learning.

Related content: During COVID closures, a school was not just a school

While change is not easy and many are adjusting to our new normal, we have to start looking at the parts of virtual learning that are working. One of the most valuable lessons students can learn through these times is the importance of having a global community where educators help students discover different aspects of the world.

Here are just a few benefits when adapting to virtual learning environments.

Embracing collaboration

It’s important for educators to encourage collaboration and creativity in their students while they continue to learn at home. While collaborating may look different outside of the classroom, children are able to connect and communicate via Zoom, Google Classroom, and other online platforms to finish their assignments and projects.

This kind of collaboration can build more independence in students, as they must go out of their way to set up calls and meetings and find ways to share information virtually as opposed to simply collaborating in a classroom setting.

Allowing students to effectively collaborate in group activities during virtual learning environments also gives them the opportunity to identify problems and develop solutions.

For example, during the pandemic, one group of students worked together to develop SpeeDelivery, an app that allows them to support senior citizens who may not be able to go grocery shopping for their own safety during the coronavirus outbreak. The students worked together to develop a website, marketed their free delivery service and collaborated on all aspects of the business.

With the support of their global community, these students of different backgrounds and upbringings were able to come together and develop a way to give back locally, while also developing a closer connection to their fellow peers and understanding each other’s unique set of skills.

Developing diverse perspectives

Being part of the Nord Anglia Education global network of schools was paramount to the success of transitioning to online learning. As students and teachers grew more comfortable with virtual learning, they began to interact even more with their peers across the globe. Teachers from different continents shared tips and virtual classroom tools, and students engaged with creative challenges and at-home experiments from schools in different regions.

Virtual learning allows students to develop a global perspective as they interact alongside local classmates and their peers from diverse backgrounds all across the world. Students become more empathetic and compassionate as they work and collaborate with their global peers, encountering diverse viewpoints on real world issues.

When students are exposed to others who differ from themselves, they are more likely to consider differing views more thoughtfully. Virtual learning encourages this kind of engagement with peers both near and far, allowing them to become well-rounded individuals as they prepare for their future.

Growing multidisciplinary skills

While virtual learning environments are still changing the K-12 classrooms, it’s imperative that today’s educators understand how to embrace the trend and nurture key skills that help students gain confidence to take action and challenge themselves.

When we encourage students to think critically and engage in new ideas to develop creative solutions it allows students to grow their academic, social and personal success.

For example, one of our students saw an opportunity to create an intubation box due to an overwhelming lack of masks and other protective materials for healthcare providers treating COVID-19 within the local community. This particular student developed this reusable, effective method that allows doctors to operate on COVID-19 patients while preventing micro-droplet transmission of the virus and designed it to be affordable and easily assembled so it could be adopted across the globe. As of now, the intubation box is being used by doctors in the Princeton Hospital System with significant positive results.

Working with educators who encourage and engage students with a global mindset will only help students grow. It will teach them to take initiative and find solutions for real world issues.

Our mission is to create educational and beneficial memories for kids, and while the coronavirus outbreak will be remembered for years to come, it’s important to highlight the positive outcomes such as having a global perspective.

Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures and we embrace their individualism while helping them become well-rounded individuals by understanding the benefits of collaboration with one another, and allowing them to develop unique perspectives and learn new skills to think differently and openly.

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