I don’t think distance learning can be beneficial for all students and I just don’t see it positively impacting students in their elementary years. Elementary school provides much more than just learning about curriculum or standards; students also learn about behavioral skills, having responsibility, and how to engage with other students. Students wouldn’t be able to achieve these skills with distance learning at this young age. As one progresses in middle school, they begin to learn to have deeper discussions on subjects that they are learning about, and I can’t see how distance learning can incorporate this because it is done on one’s own. Therefore, learning important life skills like conversing, will be lost with the implementation of this kind of learning in primary school education.
When it comes to higher levels of education like high school and college, I think distance learning can have a positive impact on some people’s lives. For instance, a student who may have to work throughout high school to support themselves would definitely benefit from distance learning. They would be able to achieve their work in the day time and educate themselves at night or whenever possible, because it does allow for flexibility. In college, it benefits students who have either transferred and need credits or want to get ahead and take summer courses but still want to live at home. Therefore, there are several benefits, but I don’t think this type of learning is for everyone. For instance, some students may not be mature enough to actually push through the program. They may simply not complete it or may not be able to get out of it what they would if they were in a regular classroom. Therefore, I think it takes a certain type of student to be able to accomplish the goals of distance learning, but I still feel as though it does not have a place in students who are in their primary years because it prevents them from other skills, like behavior and conversing, that are presented in a school setting.
I looked through the curriculum sample for 4th grade on the Oak Meadow website which is an independent learning program. I feel as though only a teacher who is certified would be able to implement this correctly, so I wonder if they have staff that goes to their house to teach the student or if they have parents implement this program for students who are not autonomous yet.