At heart, a virtual classroom is simply a class that meets virtually. In comparison, distance learning and e-learning classrooms are self-paced, requiring no set meeting times.
While virtual learning sounds simple, it does come with a number of unique challenges, especially for children.
Before Covid-19, adults who could not get to a physical classroom made up the majority of virtual learning students. This population is self-motivated and has hopefully already had social interactions in early life that sustain mental and emotional well-being.
For children stuck at home, however, the virtual classroom must be designed so that their individual emotional needs can be met while they are also asked to study—at home, where they might not have had to do so before.
A good classroom requires attendee/student data: names, class name or number, grades, participation rates, and so on. The software supporting the virtual classroom should record this data during every class period—ideally, on a real-time basis.
Most online classrooms use third-party cloud-based software systems to provide a classroom-like environment and to record data. Every classroom should have a secure and responsive system that meets every student’s needs and quickly analyzes student data, especially student behavior data like how much time they spent in the virtual classroom and how much they participated in forums.
Other useful data, especially for children, may include parental input, games, or NLP programs to identify depressed mood.
Software integrations with machine translation or transcription services may also provide a lot of help to students.
Students may find it difficult to be in class on time, no matter their age, if they are learning at home; the boundaries between school and home are difficult for anyone to navigate. If the virtual classroom is in a different time zone, this difficulty only increases.
Additionally, not all households have access to technology to access the internet nor reliable internet service.
Finally, moving to a virtual classroom setting unprepared is very difficult, even for teachers. Collecting and making use of student data in a new way comes with a learning curve that even the most user-friendly software service can’t make entirely smooth. Furthermore, when parents provide input to teachers, those teachers with no data science training may find it very difficult to integrate and analyze all the information.
MDPI: Improvement of an Online Education Model with the Integration of Machine Learning and Data Analysis in an LMS
Guide2Research: 50 Online Education Statistics: 2020 Data on Higher Learning & Corporate Training
The researchers surveyed 105 educators and 10 administrators who determine their expectations and concerns before running a privacy and security analysis of 23 popular platforms, including Zoom and Microsoft Teams…
The researchers found that 41% of 23 platforms assessed had policies that “permitted a platform to share data with advertisers, which conflicts with at least 21 state laws”. Around a quarter (23%) allowed a platform to share location data.
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