Technology has changed the ways of teaching, learning, and connecting with others. And it has also transformed the regular classroom beyond the typical walled structures of brick-and-mortar schools. An online school helps the student to design his/her school day within the comforts of home.
Let’s discuss more about this new format and understand how these schools work.
The Learning Management System (LMS)
A virtual school delivers courses through the online learning platform also known as the ‘Learning Management System’.
In an online platform, the LMS is the tool that covers all aspects of the teaching and learning process.
The functions of the LMS include:
- Creating and delivering online content (modules and lessons)
- Collating data
- Tracking defined targets and student’s progress
- Identifying educational goals
- Interactive features like virtual classes (video conferencing etc.)
- Managing online resources like animations, presentations, audio, video, charts, diagrams, etc.
With the rise of digital education, the global LMS market also witnessed massive growth. In the year 2019, the global Learning Management System market generated around 18 billion U.S. dollars.
While the LMS is used to deliver online programs/courses, the School Management System is used to carry out the day-to-day school operations.
School Management System (SMS)
The SMS (admin portal) helps the school authorities, teaching, and non-teaching staff to access, organize and manage:
- Fee records
- Progress reports
- Exam dates and results
- Teacher’s attendance
- Activities and class schedules
- Communication between the parents and teachers
- School inventory and notifications sent to parents
- Certificates and generated invoices
Online teachers support the student’s learning during the synchronous (real-time student-teacher interaction) and asynchronous (self-study) duration. These trained professionals fulfill the following duties:
- Creating, consolidating, and delivering online lessons
- Allocating work (homework, projects)
- Grading coursework like assignments etc.
- Tracking and monitoring student’s progress
- Identifying learning difficulties and supporting students
- Ensuring a secure, nurturing, and pleasant learning environment
- Handling conflicts
- Revert to student or parent’s queries within the defined turnaround time
- Helping students to make the most of online and offline educational resources
Professional Development and Testing for Online Teaching Protocols
A virtual classroom experience is different from face-to-face learning. To ensure that the student thrives in a positive virtual learning environment, online schools focus on the professional development of teachers. Training, rigorous certifications, and mentoring sessions, help in streamlining the entire process of educational delivery. These periodic activities are also a great opportunity to brush up on online classroom etiquette and also help to boost the teacher’s productivity.
Supportive Teaching and Conferencing Applications
Mostly, virtual classes are conducted by teachers through conferencing applications integrated within the LMS. However, some platforms might also make use of video conferencing applications like Zoom, Google Meet etc.
Top accredited online schools have also introduced mobile applications for handheld devices. This makes the resources, and school-related information handy for easy access. And students can learn even while he/she is on the go.
Other Important Aspects of Online Schools:
An online school needs a valid accreditation to prove its legitimacy to the stakeholders and students. As a voluntary process, accreditation recognizes an institution for meeting the defined quality benchmark. An accredited online school can issue academic credentials that are as good as the ones from any prestigious traditional institution. And for this reason and more, accreditation is one of the most essential aspects of an online school. A virtual schooling platform spends a lot of time and energy to get accredited by a valid accrediting agency. However, once accredited, the institution becomes more trustworthy. And is preferred by the target group.
Like any other institution, an online school discloses all details related to its accreditation on its official website. Accreditation can also be from more than one agency.
Students who enroll in an accredited online school make the most of both digital and offline resources. This includes downloadable worksheets, printables, games, puzzles, podcasts, quizzes, and mobile applications (free versions and subscription-based).
Most of these resources are incorporated within the curriculum or lesson plans. However, for an enriched learning experience, supplementary resources are utilized by online students. A good mix of such additional resources (online and offline) supports students across all learning styles. And in most cases, supplemental resources are selected/finalized after a discussion with the teacher/teachers.
The Learning Coach
A structured online school procures the right resources and teaching support. However, this format always demands external support from a ‘learning coach’ to help the student. In most cases, parents/guardians or caregivers take up this role. And they collaborate with the teachers and help the student to ensure a productive schooling experience.
The option to provide synchronous virtual classes to students is completely subject to the institution. Some digital schools commit a defined number of classes along with the feasibility of ‘On-request’ sessions. However, others might do away with it or limit the numbers as per their preferences. Live instructions through these classes are known to develop skills like communication, and collaboration. Besides, students also feel more motivated while interacting with their teachers and peers through real-time interactions.
Some institutions also provide asynchronous online classes in the form of pre-recorded lectures. These classes are also helpful for students who prefer more flexible learning schedules.
A digital schooling platform provides the same and even better quality education than its traditional counterparts. A structured virtual school is a one-stop solution for the educational needs of all types of students. This new trend has already taken off, and the best part is that it is equally suitable even for the non tech-savvy students.
Thanks for Reading!