Rewind several (several) years ago. If your school was like the one that I attended, I had 5 teachers for the 5 content areas: math, reading, language arts, science, and social studies. Daily we would attend our 45 minute class, be assigned homework, and at the end of the day have a 20 minute study hall to complete homework assignments or go to our 5 teachers and ask for help. Once the bell rang at 3:15, everyone had to leave. If we had questions after school ours, it was up to our parents or older sibling to help us.
Now fast forward to today. If your school is like the one that I teach at, the students have more than just 1 teacher per subject area to ask for help. I teach Algebra I, yet, my students have access to the other 9 Algebra I teachers during their tutoring hours and synchronous lessons. In addition, students can attend peer tutoring from 4 PM – Midnight or After School Tutoring with content teachers 4 PM – 8 PM during the weekdays. There are many more teachers to use for help and as a resource. Students are no longer limited to the 8:00 – 3:00 time schedule for schooling. Many schools offer tech support, too. For example, our school has a tech department available 24/7 for students, parents, and teachers. It is very convenient! The use of learning management systems, messaging, and email has opened the doors to faster communication amongst teachers and the students or parents, too.
Likewise, students have many more educational options. Students that are sick, training for a competitive sport, or auditioning can have a more flexible education. Likewise, they are no longer limited to the walls of the classroom. The technology available can take learning across the nation, the world, or beyond. Need practice with your Spanish? Use an online tutoring center to speak with someone from Spain! It’s connecting even more students with others and broadening education.
Not only has this shift in education affected my teaching but it has also affected me as a graduate student. With children and work schedules, I would not be able to complete my master’s degree if it wasn’t for the convenience of online learning. The technology available and the many options for education have made it possible for me and therefor I am not limited in my own learning. How awesome is that!