Virtual classes: necessary evil or new paradigm?
An important debate has taken place within the Covid19 pandemic and has to do with distance education or virtual education. It is an idea that has many detractors as well as many promoters, although in reality those who defend it, for the most part, consider it little more than a necessary evil. Does that mean that when the pandemic is eventually over, everything will go back to the way it was before? It is very unlikely.
The idea of taking advantage of new information and telecommunications technologies to lead education to a 2.0 model is not new. For decades, different educational schemes have been designed to serve the population of remote areas, what we have known as “distance education”: first it was by post, then by electronic messaging, and there is even currently a wide range of online portals. internet with more or less formal courses, in which the video recording of a class or a teacher is proposed to us as a substitute for the real experience of the classroom. Useful dynamics, of course, but more as a complement to the educational system than as its true replacement.
But it is also true that never before has there been the possibility of broadcasting a class live and massively over the Internet. Technological giants compete fiercely with each other to provide the most stable, most dynamic service that best emulates face-to-face presence, and with often amazing results. But the online educational experience still has many drawbacks.
On the one hand, it is uncomfortable, extremely sedentary and confines the student to the screen, one more at a time when the effects of information bombardment and the abusive use of electronic gadgets on our children are beginning to be felt: their limited attention span, his tendency to wander, his chronic boredom with the real world.
Seen in this way, the school represented an oasis of reality and presence in the face of so much virtual experience of the world: a place to learn, among other things, to deal face to face with the other, to form part of a group, to connect with others without the need for another intermediary than verbal language. Are these tools so obsolete that we can do without them in the future?
It is also true, without a doubt, that the world of work is betting more and more on the virtual and the computerized, and that perhaps this tendency to autism that many parents observe with concern in their children is an adaptive response to a world of information overload. .
The problem, in any case, is that these same parents seem more willing to blame the vaccines (the ones that save their children’s lives!) than the fact that, from an early age, they accustomed the little one to be distracted of the real world through a screen.
In fact, there is the explanation why so many parents are uncomfortable with virtual classes: because they cannot separate the home world from the daily world, virtual classes force them in many cases to assume a leading role in the education of their children. They can no longer be satisfied with going to school to complain when their child has an inconvenience, such as customers dissatisfied with a service provided by a company. With virtual classes they are forced, paradoxically, to be present .
The future will tell if the school will also go virtual, and to what extent. Sooner or later, the pandemic will pass and we will have to decide how far we want to participate in the formal education of our children. But the school will continue there, attending to those who cannot even consider this dilemma, for whom attendance is mandatory, either due to lack of technological or monetary resources (assuming that both are not the same thing), or because their parents do not count nor with the dubious benefit of the “home office”. The pandemic will pass, and we will see.
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