The ABC has teamed up with Australian National University (ANU) to explore the ideas behind why students at the country’s top-performing schools are spending so much time online.
Key points:Parents can’t predict when their children will start learning online, nor how much their school will spend on itParents can make educated guesses but can’t guarantee it’ll lead to better resultsIn the case of online learning, it can be challenging to know what they’re getting intoThe ABC’s new series “Digital School” examines how school is using social media to build the foundation for a better future.
The series will feature interviews with academics, students and teachers to explore what happens when parents and schools get in touch.
It also explores what factors influence the timing and content of online instruction.
What are the barriers to learning online?
The ABC spoke to more than 60 parents and experts to find out why their children’s school isn’t spending enough on online learning.
Here are some of the most common reasons parents and teachers have given for not investing in online learning:Schools are focused on digital learning in order to create a learning experience that is more fun and engaging, and the time spent on the internet is being diverted away from learning, says Associate Professor John Waugh.
“Parents are looking at their children and saying, ‘Is there any way I can be doing more with my time on the computer, because that’s a lot of time I can spend on my own time, instead of getting involved with their school?'”
Dr Waugh is a senior lecturer at ANU’s School of Information Technology.
He says that while digital learning is important for students to have access to, it is also important to remember that this can’t be expected to be a permanent solution.
“There are a lot more online learning programs, like tutoring and digital literacy, that are in place and can help students,” he says.
“We can’t necessarily predict the outcome of that or predict how it will be perceived in the community.”
What is social media?
The use of social media has grown exponentially in recent years.
“Social media can really help students find and engage with each other,” Dr Waugh says.”[It can also] be a great platform for parents to be involved and communicate with their children.”
Online learning is often about finding the answers to questions students may have, rather than the content itself.
“When parents are interacting with their child, that’s often where they find the answers and the answers can be about anything,” Dr Ward says.
But parents and parents can make informed guesses.
“You can be making educated guesses and you can be putting together an educated guess but you don’t have to do it all by yourself,” Dr Lough says.
In some instances, this may lead to students learning less online, but they are likely to learn more from other teachers, or from the school experience.
“It is a very collaborative and creative way of learning and teaching,” Dr Williams says.
It’s important to keep in mind that parents are not required to spend money on online instruction, or spend money to ensure their child is connected with their peers.
“Some of the more affluent parents may feel that they are entitled to have their kids connected to the world through the internet, so that’s not necessarily the right response,” Dr Bunn says.
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