What makes virtual education work?
The effectiveness of online classes. has become one of the biggest questions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic closing the doors of schools across the U.S. As many administrators, teachers, parents, and students across the U.S. scramble to adapt to the sudden change in learning environments from in-person to entirely online at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, there are more questions than answers about the future of education. Even more importantly, will students get the education they need?
With over a decade of experience teaching virtually and training teachers to take advantage of the platform, Proximity Learning recently took part in a peer-reviewed study researching the practice’s effectiveness. This study, recently published by Chicago State University, found that students taught by a trained Proximity Learning teacher exhibited, met, or exceeded expectations for many important metrics.
Can online classes properly prepare students for college?
The study found high school grade point average (GPA) is rapidly becoming the measurement colleges across the U.S. observe first before making further decisions on a student’s admission.
Researchers specifically studied classes taught by Proximity Learning all over the U.S. to investigate GPAs, efficacy, and readiness of students learning online in comparison to those in a traditional, physical classroom setting.
According to the study, a student taught in a live virtual environment by a Proximity Learning teacher is an excellent candidate for college admission based on GPA. Over six semesters, the average grade of Proximity Learning student was 80.34% out of 100%, higher than the national average admission requirements of 72.5% for the average state university.
Beyond their grades, Proximity Learning classes prepare students for college by exposing them to the technology and skills necessary for learning online – a learning environment that will only become more popular in the future. Plus, they have a teacher with experience and training in virtual environments whom they interact with synchronously to guide them through this learning process.
How does synchronous online education compare to live physical education?
Students score higher than the national average when learning from a virtual teacher trained in live video instruction. The study found the average Proximity Learning student grade is about 6% higher than the U.S. core average 74.4% and is right on track with the national middle and high school average of 80%.
The randomly selected population of Proximity Learning student consist of children with a diverse array of backgrounds from across the United States. Proximity Learning achieves greater education equity through virtual instruction, allowing students in rural and lower-income areas where teacher shortages are prevalent to have access to high-quality learning opportunities. Because of that, they are competitive with other students across the country who learn from teachers physically in the classroom.
“Our teacher has been so encouraging and helpful in teaching us about AP Statistics though these uncertain times. I have never felt more secure and prepared for a test.” 12th-Grader, Nacoghdoches, Texas
“I can tell [my teacher] really cares about his student and that is dedicated to his work. He makes working seem leisurely and fun, while teaching us new things.” 11th-Grader, Duncanville, Texas
“This class was an easy transition from full-time in-person to home-learning because it was very similar to the rest of the year. It also helped me be comfortable with live classes for my other subjects.” 11th-Grader, Canton, Connecticut
Are online classes are effective when students are learning from home?
A common concern since the spring school closures has been that students might lose out on instruction they need and fall behind peers. They need teachers with virtual competency that know how to make an impact in an online environment.
For over a decade, Proximity Learning has trained hundreds of teachers to work in a virtual classroom. New teachers are prepared well in advance of their first day of instruction by sitting on on the lessons of experienced virtual teachers, being assigned a mentor to help guide them and answer questions, and learning the platforms and tools necessary to provide a quality education online.
This experience has paid off – now, over 600 Proximity Learning teachers are instructing students entirely online through live video conferencing, ensuring they don’t miss a beat, whether they’re learning within a school or at home. The study found that Proximity Learning students did not suffer the same challenging barriers that traditional schools encountered because they and the teachers were already familiar with the technology and software.
As the 2019-20 school year finished on an unexpected note due to COVID-19, an anonymous survey completed by over 800 Proximity Learning students revealed that 80% of students said they feel prepared for the 2020-21 school year after continuing their educating from home with their Proximity Learning teacher during school closures.
Additionally, many Proximity Learning teachers wanted their classroom to be a safe space during a challenging time and made sure to put students first by adjusting the class to suit their needs. One way they did this was by giving students a couple of minutes to socialize with classmates they hadn’t been able to see. Live video instruction is arguably more effective from home because students are provided with consistency and a sense of normalcy by having set class times during the week where they log on, see familiar faces, and get to learn something new.
In classes that were asked to review material during school closures rather than teach new lessons, Proximity Learning teachers gave students a class to look forward to with fun review games and science experiments. There is an increasing number of tools and resources available for teachers to take advantage of in their online classes that personalize the lessons and content towards their students’ needs, therefore encouraging students to interact and take control of their learning.
As the U.S. continues to face uncertainties of what the future of education will look like, data now proves that synchronous virtual education from a certified Proximity learning instructor successfully prepares K-12 students for their future – including the likelihood of attending a four-year college. By providing learnings with high-quality learning experiences, no matter if they are in the classroom or at home, Proximity Learning helps students stay competitive and brighten their path forward.