Educator Reviews of Online K-12 Education
Experienced educators speak out and give online education reviews for programs offered to K-12 students. While classes offered online have carried a stigma, statistics speak louder than words and there is a growing number of experienced and new educators who are softening to the idea of online courses. In fact, programs such as A+ for kids are widely used as a means of helping students acquire the credits necessary to graduate or take classes not offered by their school districts. As more online education programs become accredited, the number of students taking courses online will increase.
In the meantime, online education reviews still show sharp disparities between people who professionally educate children. Most educators highlight that state-provided and/or reputable online courses for students K-12 are strongest when used to supplement traditional routes in education. Many of the same educators are staunchly against full-time online education.
Most teachers are comfortable with using e-learning as a mode of co-teaching. The presence of an online program is like having a teacher in the class with a different angle on how to get across difficult subject matter. Some programs provide relevant and demographic-friendly videos that help students engage with the content.
One hidden gem in online learning is the promise that it holds for at-risk and drop-out students. Although evidence of its success is coming in small bits, e-learning has been beneficial to more than a few low-performing districts. It has been primarily used as a safety net for at-risk students and a hook for drop-outs. Students sit behind computers “catch up” and develop confidence and the ability to work independently. There are multiple programs available for at-risk students.
As Ivy League universities offer e-learning (with some classes being free) and more school districts adopt e-learning and expand their capacities to educate its student bodies, online education reviews will change. The “no substitute for face-to-face” idea may yield to findings of more effective practices in education due to online education; perhaps it will not. But the fact that there is such a spike in e-learning in K-12 education, and a little success that comes along with it, is an indication that educators, parents and future students will need to take a more serious look at e-learning.
One of the biggest concerns of educators is the fact that students who do well in the context of virtual learning will have skill sets not common with the average public school student. This skill set includes time management, critical-thinking skills and exceptional motivation. While some statistics point to a moderate improvement for learners using online resources over those who strictly experience face-to-face teaching, educators claim that there hasn’t been enough research on the results for students with average initiative, skill and ability.
One other objection cited is the widely speculated interest of private capital groups. Teachers’ unions often harp on the perceived conflict of interest between authentic motives of education and offering courses for a fast dollar. Teachers point out that capital interest groups will promote an educationally inferior program for the purpose of making money; thereby undermining drives for proficiency in education.
However, there are state-run or state-sanctioned e-learning courses used on a regular basis in the classrooms. Districts across the country are some of the biggest clients of reputable online programs. But then, some educators point out, administrators run the risk of creating and perpetuating an inhumane environment. Most of the objection reveals a discomfort for moving away from the touch factor of the face-to-face teacher. Students need to be understood by and have interaction with their educators, argue some teachers. Online education reviews from this side of the divide place high value on teacher-student interaction. The philosophy behind it is that teaching is not “real” teaching without the element of a deep and thorough interaction with the students. “How do you know if your students are learning?” is a question asked by educators who hold this view.
Online education reviews also reveal the awful student-teacher ratio. Currently, there are teachers in the online community who are teaching upwards of 200 people. Cases are rising against agencies that allow these kinds of practices. Although those numbers can seem inhumane for both teacher and student, it is telling that there are enough students to create a demand for online teaching.