The rapid development of Internet technologies affects many areas of human life, including education. Online education provides many advantages and opportunities, such as platforms with tasks, the availability of interactive content, and much more. However, disputes continue to this day – in what conditions it is still better to study, online or in person. The experience of the pandemic has forced people to resort to online training. Nevertheless, in this work, each format is considered, in which objective pros and cons are highlighted.
Online classes are capable of delivering the same quality teaching as face-to-face classes. Firstly, the verbal contract between teacher and students is achieved through video communication, but various technologies also compensate for it. The teacher can provide an interactive assignment, use multimedia files and maintain discipline in an online lesson by controlling the sound and image of the conversation (Gloria & Uttal, 2020). Secondly, students need to work harder in parallel, and in the process of this work, they master essential skills in using a computer or tablet. Third, for many students, learning from home means learning in a comfortable environment where the environment is not hostile in any way. Of course, children are deprived of crucial moments of communication, the development of communication skills, but at the same time, the risk of conflict situations that can lead to injuries goes away. Finally, the traditional teaching format lectures, test knowledge, work with a textbook, and discussion (SunyBroome, n.d.). In the online format, we have to completely deviate from the traditional approach, thereby opening up new opportunities for working with students. Modern children gravitate more towards bright interactive instead of boring solutions in a notebook or blackboard (NatCom, 2021). As a result, it is much easier in an online format to compose a quiz instead of a test, quickly show the instructional video, and adapt the lesson materials during the lesson itself if the situation requires it.
However, not everyone can have a good command of computer technology. First of all, it applies to teachers who have already developed many years of experience of full-time education, in which they were successful. If there were a choice, they would never agree to sacrifice live communication. However, situations such as a pandemic leave no choice in education professions. What is more, students can also be negatively affected. In the event of an unsuccessful Internet connection, a malfunctioning computer that is outdated for such video meetings, the student can very quickly lose motivation (Phan & Dang, 2017). While at home, children cannot always tune in to the work process, the feeling of which is much more easily achieved in the classroom. During class discussions, the student can count on the help of fellow students. Once in a stressful situation, every child develops the ability to give quick, clear answers and the ability to solve problems quickly (Gloria & Uttal, 2020). These qualities are blurred or lost in homeschooling, although they are significant for adapting to life in society.
Thus, with the proper work of the teacher, online learning provides much more opportunities for the educational process that are more relevant for modern children. Interactive assignments, multimedia, and the ability to control discipline during the lesson are undoubtedly advantages for the teacher. A comfortable environment, absence of conflicts guarantee peace of mind for parents and children. A lot of critical life skills are related to technology. The ability to control a computer and a smartphone are not even discussed in modern times, and a priori, it is believed that everyone has these abilities. In this regard, the skills of working with Internet technologies – search engines, instant messengers, programs for video meetings, text and image editors – are essential for every child. In this regard, online education significantly outperforms full-time education in the long term.
However, it is not advisable to completely deprive students of the opportunity to communicate with the teacher live. Stressful situations arise in the classroom during a vital lesson or conflict with classmates, and the student learns to respond to such situations appropriately. Unfortunately, the world is full of conflict situations outside of school, and practical, polite, and respectful communication skills also need to be developed during childhood. The teacher, as an example, is the educator of this kind of communication skills. In addition, schools often have specific equipment that is necessary for the educational process. For example, reagents for laboratory work in chemistry or installations and measuring devices for working with physical processes. This equipment is often expensive and unsafe for children. Students need this kind of real-world experience; otherwise, living inside digital technologies can have negative mental consequences.
The responsibility of parents is increasing in a consistent online format. In the traditional approach, the school and its staff are responsible for everything, while the student is much more likely to contact the parents at home. If both parents are working, the lack of control in a comfortable environment can lead to distracted attention of the student and an unwillingness to focus on the computer or tablet screen. On the other hand, the constant presence of a parent or parent at home can embarrass the student in class communication. In this situation, it is needed to find the right approach and discuss it with the child himself. There are no unambiguous pros and cons in this aspect.
Online learning at the same time minimizes all bureaucratic school processes. Naturally, students need to continue developing hand motor skills and handwriting to engage in creativity and physical education lessons. However, there is no need to keep a diary, write lectures in a notebook, and, when skipping classes, make up for lost material with the help of classmates who may have incomprehensible handwriting or unwillingness to share answers. At the same time, the ability to create a more flexible schedule is a plus for the teacher. Students and teaching staff save time and travel costs and keep their health by not carrying heavy teaching materials to the school.
To summarize the above, the online format is suitable in almost all but a few aspects. First, the child needs socialization. Parents must teach their children to get acquainted and make friends while playing sports and creativity, to organize joint activities with other families so that children communicate and become closer to their peers. Second, the student needs the opportunity to have authentic experiences. We are talking about laboratory classes, performances in front of the public, sports games in physical education lessons, and much more, which cannot be replaced by online education. Subject to these two conditions, the online format is the ideal choice for almost every student who can tune in to the work process at home.
Gloria, A. M., & Uttal, L. (2020). Conceptual considerations in moving from face-to-face to online teaching. International Journal on E-Learning, 19(2), 139-159.
Phan, T. T. N., & Dang, L. T. T. (2017). Teacher readiness for online teaching: A critical review. International Journal Open Distance E-Learn. IJODeL, 3(1), 1-16.
Suny Broome. (n.d.) Face-to-Face vs. Online Instruction.