Schools have been adopting virtual classrooms are more and more during the ongoing public health crisis with no end in sight. But besides their obvious advantages like convenience and cost-effectiveness, there are also some downsides teachers and school boards need to take into consideration. Here are the top pros and cons of virtual classrooms.
Virtual Classrooms: Top Pros
1. Virtual classrooms are more convenient.
Online learning shines brightly due to its high level of convenience for both instructors and learners. As a student, you can literally roll out of bed to your desk. Instructors can also save precious downtime by getting faster ready for work and skipping the commute.
Also, both sides can take pauses whenever they want it with minimum disruption in a virtual classroom. Also, receiving feedback and keeping tabs on each student can be easier in a virtual classroom if don right.
2. There's less pressure on students.
Unlike in a physical environment, in a virtual classroom, students feel less pressured by their teacher and peers as they can have easier access to the bathroom, food, and drinks, without disrupting the lesson. They can also skip class, as they can later have access to recordings of what they've missed.
This obvious pro of virtual classrooms, however, comes with one big disadvantage, as students are less likely to be disciplined (more on it in a bit.)
3. It is easier to get feedback from students and parents.
In a virtual classroom, it is easier for students to get almost instant feedback on exams and tests than in a classic classroom. Also, teachers have an easier time keeping in touch with the students and parents since it is more convenient to send via e-mail scores, assignments, and feedback.
Parents can also have easier access to a one-on-one meeting with their children's trainers. The only downside is that trainers will have a lot more work to do than they would in a physical classroom. Yet, if they manage to handle the extra workload during school hours, it is doable.
4. Classes are easier to manage.
In a physical classroom, teachers also have to act as security guards to keep children in place. Some children might get bullied too or get engaged in heated disputes with their peers. In a virtual classroom, the teacher can mute disrupters or keep students in separate virtual breakout rooms to prevent disruptions.
Breakout rooms are a handy tool when it comes to managing large classrooms. Teachers can split students into breakout rooms and give them collective assignments. The teacher has full control over each breakout room, and when the assignment is over, the breakout rooms can be dismissed.
Virtual Classrooms: Top Cons
In a virtual classroom, students with low motivation are more likely to become even less motivated. Because there's not face-to-face accountability to their instructors, students will be more likely to surf the web, play video games, or simply daydream during classes. And if they keep their video and audio shutoff, it is nearly impossible for teachers to address the problem.
2. Missing out on important experiences
In virtual classrooms, there no face-to-face interaction, which means that children will be missing out on important life and social experiences like making best friends, playing in the schoolyard, playing sports together, get to know each other better, brainstorming, and so on.
School means much more than pushing bits of info into children's minds. It is also about personality development, creativity, and sharing intelligence. And for these purposes, machines will never be able to replace a living and breathing person. Plus, it is estimated that by 2027, most teachers will be replaced by AI-powered computer programs, which will stunt even more children's emotional growth.
3. Zoom anxiety is real.
Especially children experience the so-called, meaning they are too afraid to make themselves heard, ask questions, or stand out. Very few students will hit the unmute button on their own. So unless you have a well-versed trainer, engagement levels in a virtual classroom risk being very low.