EdTech entered our lives some years ago and continues to gain strength. According to Forbes.Russia already by 2020 the market of online education reaches $252 billion with the annual growth rate at about 17%. But despite its rapidly growing popularity, a lot of people still prefer traditional schools with their classrooms or private lessons at home.
I also encountered such a situation when recently had proposed to my students to switch completely to online format of lessons. At that moment one could read perplexity, confusion and even fear in their eyes, they had a dilemma between a qualified and familiar teacher and a prospect of online lessons. And how many such embarrassed potential students who can’t make up their mind are out there? And what kind of obstacles are between them and online education?
OBSTACLE 1: The lack of personal contact
For many people it’s hard to understand how one can establish a personal contact with a teacher through a webcam. How can you get a feeling of a real lesson being in a virtual space? To be honest, in the beginning I couldn’t understand it as well.
ON THE OTHER HAND: Freedom! (in everything)
Because you can choose yourself what teacher and course to follow and what intensity of lessons suits you. A teacher will prepare a tailor-made study plan for you without a need to follow the rest of the group or the books available at school. Moreover, all professional school, specialized platforms and qualified teachers provide trial lessons for free or with a lower price, that gives you a freedom to try different teachers with different methods, study background and working experience and even from different countries until you find “your person”.
You are also free to choose a place of your lessons. There’s no need any more to go tired after work to another district to school or your teacher’s house. Or to clean your own house in rush just before the teacher arrives at your place. You can just sit back and relax wherever you want, on a chair, on a sofa or even in a park. Feel free to put on some comfortable clothes as well, because you don’t have to keep your office suit and uncomfortable shoes, and of course grab a cup of hot tea or even a sandwich!
Your schedule will be unbelievably flexible too. All online teachers have calendars with their availability for everyday of every week of every month, you don’t have to follow fixed “Tuesday and Thursday appointments” anymore. Even with work shifts like 2/2 you still can easily make your own study plan.
OBSTACLE 2: Incomprehension of the process
It’s hard to argue that we are used to classroom style education with a teacher talking and us writing down the notes and looking at the blackboard from time to time. Online education is not only about discovering a new subject, but also about discovering new technology.
ON THE OTHER HAND: Back to the future!
If gadgets help us in our work and daily life we just can’t reject their help in education. Even such a well-known tool like Skype allows a teacher to share his screen and, consequently, to show you images, videos, play audio, use presentations and books and even play educational games with you. What to say about online boards where you can draw, insert formulas, make graphics and tables. The interesting thing is that a student also has an access to them, so you can do all types of exercises online: write correct answers, fill the gaps and put phrases in order. But here is where we encounter…
OBSTACLE 3: Paper addiction
Because that’s how we used to do it. We are writing in a notebook with a real paper book in front of us and practicing on printed exercise sheets.
ON THE OTHER HAND: Immortality of notes and materials
So, you’ve been studying for a year and you shiny and beautiful September student’s book became an old and shabby May shame. The notes you made on pieces of paper are lost, printed materials that a teacher gave you are forgotten in some classroom or accidently thrown away. And online?
Everything stays with you! You book will never get old; your notes will never get lost – because they are typed. What’s more, you can save everything that was done during the class on the online board and retrace your lesson anytime you want – or simply make a screenshot of an important rule. Meanwhile your teacher will send you links of the educational content needed. Like this you will have an access to the things learnt anytime and anywhere without a need to look through the endless sheets. Much better than paper, isn’t it? And much eco-friendlier!
OBSTACLE 4: Fraud
If you don’t know a teacher in person or an online school doesn’t have enough reviews you will probably start having some doubts. And generally, so many people still don’t trust online payments.
ON THE OTHER HAND: Security and confidence of both sides
If you think about it, a teacher also can’t be sure that you’ll pay for the lesson after it. That’s why such platforms like Verbling check all personal data, certificates and work experience of teachers as well as secure your payment. These measures guarantee a pleasant experience for both of you. And don’t forget about trial lessons we talked before about! They will help you to understand if this is what you’re looking for.
we can talk endlessly about pros & cons of online learning, and some people will reject it just because it’s not “their thing” and there’s nothing wrong in such an opinion, too. But don’t say no if you haven’t even tried yet! Who knows, maybe the teacher of your dream is just one Skype call away from you!