Q&A – How engaged are South Florida’s students during virtual learning?

Q&A of the Day – How engaged are South Florida’s students during virtual learning?

Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Twitter: @brianmuddradio

Facebook: Brian Mudd https://www.facebook.com/brian.mudd1

Today’s entry: Hello Brian, I wasn't happy hearing Dr Fennoy's misleading statement regarding 98% of student engagement in online learning. 98% of engagement of students logging in at least once since March 30, just one time? Someone should ask for the data that supports his 98% engagement statement. I know a lot of teachers, and daily engagement is not above 70%. Even my children's teachers regularly send class-wide emails regarding a greater than average of 10% of students not doing daily work.

Bottom Line: You raise an instructive point regarding the definition of engagement in South Florida’s grade schools as we ride out the rest of the year this way. What’s the definition of engagement? How engaged are students really? To your point, we’ve heard from all South Florida superintendents stating virtual learning has been a success with greater than 90% participation during the lock down. As you point out, that doesn’t necessarily mean well over 90% of students are attending virtual classes and completing lesson plans daily, but rather that they have used the virtual equipment at some point. At the same time that doesn’t mean the virtual education plans aren’t working for most students. While we don’t yet know what the outcome will be from the state’s grade schools all moving to the virtual model for the final months of this school year – we do have a lot of history regarding virtual education in Florida. 

The lesson plans provided to schools across the state came from Florida’s Virtual School. Florida’s Virtual School was created in 1997 and to date over 4.6 million students have used the Virtual School’s education plans since inception. It’s hard to find completely objective ways to compare one school to another, let alone virtual education to traditional classrooms. As we know even GPA’s can be deceptive from one school to another. I feel graduation rates are the best comparative measure of engagement. Florida’s overall graduation rate is 82.3%. This indicates traditional school engagement isn’t anywhere near 100% either. Notably, Florida’s Virtual School has a graduation rate of 87.7%. That’s meaningfully higher than the traditional classroom environment. At minimum it’s safe to say virtual education is a good alternative option. Of course, it doesn’t mean the accountability or consistency with the curriculum is the same. We are talking about teachers who are used to teaching in the classroom environment and students accustomed to learning that way as well...at the same time it’s not a given the education isn’t at least going as well generally, as it would in the classroom, given the virtual ed has meaningfully higher engagement generally. 

I’m interested in seeing how this plays out. I’ve long thought increased remote learning and use of technology could be a solution for many families. Research suggests the more we engage children with education in ways they prefer to learn, the more likely we are to keep them engaged. Today’s kids are of the digital age. Replacing textbooks with E-Books, for example, makes a great deal of sense to me. Some kids learn best in classroom environments, some don’t. Some parents are able to remain home with their children while the learn remotely, some can’t. But I think all children and teachers will benefit going forward from enhanced use of technology in teaching. This could be and from my perspective hopefully will be, a positive catalyst that way. 

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content