Virtual Classroom Failure: The remote-learning experiment isn’t going well as study finds that many schools barely cared if kids did any work
Coronavirus pandemic is a boon to tech companies offering video conferencing software tools. These companies have seen a meteoric rise in the last five months. For instance, Zoom, a tech company that offers conferencing app, is now worth more than the world’s 7 biggest airlines combined. Zoom is valued at more than $50 billion.
The rise in the values of these companies is partly due to increasing demands for remote software tools that enable people to work from home while obeying the government stay-at-home orders and prevent the spread of the virus. Video conferencing tools are also used for education and virtual classrooms to bring teachers and students together more easily than ever before. On the surface, everything seems to be working out just fine.
However, according to a new study published by University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education, the remote-learning experiment isn’t going well. The report looks at how 477 school districts nationwide have responded to the Covid-19 crisis. Its findings reveal widespread neglect of students.
According to Wall Street Journal, the report found that remote attendance has been abysmal and only 27% of districts required teachers to record whether students participate in remote classes. For example, some 15,000 Los Angeles students failed to show up for classes or do any schoolwork during the first two weeks of the shutdown.
Los Angeles is not alone. The Philadelphia Inquirer also reported that, 10 weeks in, “the Philadelphia School District registers just 61% of students attending school on an average day.” The same week the Boston Globe reported that only “half of students are logging into online class or submitting assignments online on a typical day.”
“Students have an incentive to ditch digital class, since their work counts for little or nothing. Only 57.9% of school districts do any progress monitoring, the report found. The rest haven’t even set the minimal expectation that teachers review or keep track of the work their students turn in. Homework counts toward students’ final grades in 42% of districts. And some schools that do grade offer students a pass/incomplete,” WSJ wrote.
In another separate study co-authored by Spiros Protopsaltis, an associate professor and director of the Center for Education Policy and Evaluation at George Mason University and Sandy Baum, the duo found that online education has not lived up to its potential. The authors said fully online course work contributes to socioeconomic and racial achievement gaps while failing to be more affordable than traditional courses.
“Online education has failed to reduce costs and improve outcomes for students,” they wrote. “Faculty, academic leaders, the public and employers continue to perceive online degrees less favorably than traditional degrees.”
We leave you with this question: What will happen to these tech companies when kids return back to physical classrooms?