Online learning here to stay?

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Is online learning here to stay? Not everyone will go back to school in Canada

Online learning has become an integral part of the world in 2020. Dozens of top institutions for education switched to online classes and also promoted it this year. Of course, the cause is the ongoing pandemic which makes crowded public places a high risk for contagion. In Canada, children will soon finish their holiday break and head back to school. Yet, for students in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, and Ontario online classes will continue at least one week more.

And although online learning is a viable strategy for teaching institutions, parents are struggling with the side effects. One such effect is that the student, lacking socialization in a public environment, relies on their parent even more than before. Annie Kidder, executive director of People for Education, stated that this part is ‘problematic and not sustainable’.

However, many other parents prefer to keep a close eye on their children, especially during this time. In British Columbia, Jeni Hasskett, a parent whose kids headed back to school today, voices her concern. ‘I’m really worried about sending our kids to school, where there will be a lot of kids that will have gotten together, wither with friends or with family members’, she said.

Thousands are therefore signing petitions to keep the schools closed nationwide at least for two more weeks. Extending the winter break would also mean online learning will take prevalence in thousands of households across the country, an unprecedented event. Susanna Loeb of Brown University wrote an article which highlights that when comparing online and in-person classes, students who struggle in-person might struggle even more with online learning. To sum up, Loeb says that online learning needs especially strong pedagogical practices to make the students invested.