The surprising advantages to virtual school that we learned from COVID


In March of 2020, the educational system turned upside down at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. No one was prepared to suddenly operate 100% remotely, but that’s exactly what happened. Now, a year later, we are all much better prepared, and for some, the challenges of virtual school have turned into advantages.

For many students, virtual schooling opens them up to new and more comfortable ways of learning. Introverted or anxious children can struggle in crowded classrooms. The pressure of being around their peers 24/7 and the constant comparison with classmates can make it hard to focus positively on schoolwork. When learning remotely, those barriers go away.

While social interaction is crucial for children, for introverted students or those with disabilities, busy classrooms can quickly go from beneficial to overwhelming. When this happens, some students can shut down and get very little from their school experience. Allowing children to get away from this pressure can make them much more excited to learn.

Some students love to raise their hand in class and be the center of attention, but for others, that sounds like a nightmare! Remote learning can take some pressure off students and encourage participation. Shy students may be more likely to speak up, especially as they have multiple means to do so — using the chat function, private messaging the teacher, or speaking into their microphone.

Part of what may encourage students to participate more is another benefit of virtual schooling: a lack of bullying. While negative interaction between students can still happen via technology, remote learning doesn’t have the time that most bullying happens. Elementary school kids aren’t out on the playground and high schoolers aren’t in the halls during passing periods. Students (and parents) can feel safer and more confident in their everyday school experience.

The goal of school isn’t just to teach kids the basics, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made that clearer than ever. School is about instilling a lifelong love of learning in children, expanding their minds and encouraging their curiosity. Virtual school can help students feel more comfortable, learn at the right pace for them, and thrive in a healthy learning environment. And while virtual school in 2020 may not have been our expectation, the advantages we’ve seen from it should definitely be recognized.