Online learning is a concept that is not new but that is definitely adapting to the times. Sometimes, students struggle with online learning because of the lack of support systems within the school they attend. When looking at online schools, families should look at support systems already embedded within the program.
Is there a person specifically assigned to your student to go to for guidance besides the teacher?
- Students, if supported by these staff members, will have better access to their learning because they will have someone to help them navigate through the world of online learning. These staff members can also help them plan out their scheduling for future years and create a map for having a successful educational experience.
Are teachers available to help students during a student’s free time (when they are not training or practicing)?
- One of the most important roles that online teachers play in supporting students through an experience that can be isolating at times, is to provide different experiences to show a sense of community within the school. This can be done by using discussion boards, online conferencing, and regular communication.
- Online teachers understand the time constraints put onto students who have extracurricular or serious commitments. Even though teachers will have specific “office hours” a school’s teacher should also be flexible to meet with students when the student has a small window to meet with them.
Are the online platforms that the school uses student-friendly and easily accessible?
- Online schools should also have easy to use platforms that help students contact their support person and teachers. Platforms like Slack/Pronto and other similar “back and forth” programs are perfect for students to have access to as they can utilize their smartphones to quickly contact support people and teachers.
- Programs like Zoom help students feel more connected to their teachers and support personnel. Weekly meetings to check-in or study sessions can help students feel more included within their learning process. Zoom (or similar programs) can also be used to set up fun activities like trivia, Name That Tune, and even academic-based review games that will also add to the feeling of belonging.
Are students able to participate in academic/community service clubs while attending this online school?
- Some online schools offer academic clubs like student council, math club, community service clubs, and a chapter of the National Honor Society. These clubs are offered virtually with virtual meetings and meet-ups. These clubs offer expansion to your student’s educational experience and allow them to communicate with their peers and teachers.
- These opportunities, as well as online discussions with peers, can help alleviate the feeling of isolation that some students feel when doing their schooling online.
Online schools are sometimes tricky to navigate but with these options offered, your student will be able to experience the feeling of belonging to something bigger than themselves, while working on making themselves better.