While Covid-19 is no longer the threat it once was, the rise in online education has not declined to any great degree within college and graduate level courses. Even high schools and elementary schools have seen a rise in the number of students registered online, and it is looking like this will be the state of education for years to come. Part of the reason for this is that many parents are now working from home, so they are there to supervise minor children as they study. Another reason for keeping younger children out of the classroom has been the rise in violence and school shootings over the past few decades. With that said, it’s time to look at some of the technology necessary for students to excel in online, remote, education.
Reliable Internet Connectivity
There are still some areas of the nation that don’t have more than one internet service provider, but this is typically in rural areas. Even then, there are satellite (dish-type) networks that offer both cable and internet access. If you have a choice of ISPs, make sure to do the research because reliable connectivity is an absolute must-have in education as well as in business. You can’t afford to let your son or daughter be late with assignments because connectivity dropped off.
A Good Quality Laptop or PC
Speaking of the danger of being late with assignments, remote education often requires students to participate in videoconferencing classes. For this reason, a good-quality PC with a powerful GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is also a must. Older graphics cards simply don’t have the capacity to stream videoconferences or media without lagging and/or dropping out. In order to understand exactly how much speed your CPU and GPU need, read more about the various graphics cards on the market.
Webcam and Headset
Most online classes on any grade level will have videoconferencing for classes as well as teacher/student or teacher/parent meetings. For these, you will need a webcam and a noise canceling headset with a microphone. This way, students can hear and speak with teachers and other students without the distractions of sounds coming from other parts of the home. Even though there may only be one or two meetings a week and a bi-monthly teacher conference, much of the class work will be video presentations and that noise canceling headset is going to be an absolute advantage.
It’s amazing how something like a global pandemic can change the course of education at all grade levels. While many students were anxious to return to the classroom, others actually prefer learning from home. They have more fluidity in their hours of study and can go at their own pace. Fast learners can be on an accelerated path while those who learn a bit slower can take the time that they need with the lessons they have the most difficulty with. Distance learning may just be coming into its own, but the future of education seems to be headed in that direction. With the right technology, students can excel.