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Will the coronavirus make outside learning impossible in the future? Show more Show less
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The coronavirus has made learning opportunities very difficult these past several months. Schools have closed and become online. Although this is a great solution, there are concerns about not fulfilling the benefits of an in-person class. One concern is how the coronavirus will affect environmental classes, especially for young children. Is it still possible to somehow incorporate learning about nature while everything is online or is it impossible?

Yes, the coronavirus will make learning outside impossible Show more Show less

Nature is best observed out in the open. That’s the idea in environmental classes. Unfortunately, if everything becomes online, the ability to enjoy nature in its entirety is lost.
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School systems will be digitally focused because of the coronavirus

Coronavirus quarantine has caused many schools to become virtual. Because of the surge in the need for a digital solution to the pandemic, students are becoming more focused on computer screens. Because the classes are online, most likely it will push outside activities related to these classes aside.

Context

COVID-19 (coronavirus) broke out in China during December 2019. In January 2020, the virus spread to other countries like Thailand and Japan. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. As each country had the virus spread, schools have closed temporarily in accordance with quarantine procedures. To keep students engaged in educational activities, various schools have moved homework, projects, and lessons online.

The Argument

After the coronavirus became a pandemic, schools have become digital now more than ever. Quarantine has forced primary schools, secondary schools, and colleges to take place indoors. Meetings with teachers happen on live video, classes are done via online learning programs and labs, and tests are either taken with a live video or made open book on a computer. Although this sounds like a great way to continue the learning process, there is one area of schooling that has been left out because of the digital wave: outdoor learning. Natural sciences have been put to the side and packed away ever since schools started going online. Instead of enjoying an in-lab procedure, labs have been diminished to note taking and virtual experiments. Conducting research by collecting materials from outside is non-existent. Even young children are not encouraged to explore outdoors in their free time to learn more about their science material. This is because learning online takes up too much focus for students. Going outside to learn is seen as something enjoyable. It is a great way to learn because there is freedom in it. Being online is the opposite. Instead of being liberating, it is very demanding. Students are struggling to manage their time to finish tasks rather than understanding the material through hands-on experience. Tasks are necessary to get a good grade. But another aspect of learning is through experience. Digital classes now do not encourage that. Instead, it keeps students sedentary a lot longer than they should be. So in the future, it will be harder to encourage students to get outside and learn once again.

Counter arguments

Online classes aren’t as constricting as they may seem. Online classes were in fact made for students who need extra flexibility in their academic schedule. Some students work a lot and need extra time to complete tasks. Through online courses, they can get that extra time after their work shift is over. Online classes are beneficial to all types of students. These students can take online tests that are open-book and finish their homework whenever they want to. In a face-to-face class, a student would be required to sit and take notes for about an hour, go get some food afterwards, and head to the next class. This is time-consuming. As far as learning outside goes, learning outside hasn’t changed very much since the coronavirus. Before the coronavirus became a pandemic, learning outside often was not a reality. The only people who went outside every single day to learn about nature were toddlers and young children.[1] Once a student goes into secondary school, learning outside happens only during big science projects. In college, the only students who learn outside are those with natural science degrees or in some cases, artists. Digital classes don’t keep people away from outside learning at all. If anything, people should have more time to go outside and learn, but only if they want to. After all, not everyone is interested in natural science, so they wouldn’t be missing out on anything in the first place.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Online classes require too much focus for students. [P2] Learning outside is a liberating hands-on learning tool. [P3] This learning tool is being put on the back burner due to online learning taking precedence in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Online classes offer more flexibility than in-person classes. [Rejecting P2] Learning outside was limited before the coronavirus. [Rejecting P3] If anything, learning outside is even more possible these days due to students having more time on their hands.

References

  1. https://fairydustteaching.com/2015/10/5-reasons-you-should-take-your-class-outside/

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 19 Aug 2020 at 13:54 UTC

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