The professionals and cons of blending know-how and homework |
from Casey Thompson
Distance learning and work have blurred the lines between work and home. How does that shape the homework debate?
Does eLearning count as homework since children do everything at home? If you look at a backlog of missing tasks, it doesn’t seem like it is. The homework debate rages on as burned-out staff and students march towards the end of the school year.
Screen fatigue, eye strain, and a growing aversion to technology throw an interesting angle on the debate: How has technology affected our view of homework?
Flexible working with flipped classrooms
A type of blended learning turns the traditional sit’n’get lecture into cyberspace, freeing up synchronous class time to discuss and practice the concepts with a teacher, to coach and clarify.
See also The difference between synchronous and asynchronous learning
Time management skills
Children who have mastered asynchronous virtual learning are also developing their time management skills. In the absence of a teacher to guide each student through a schedule, students are expected to complete their assignments, due dates, and assignments on their own.
More communication and integrated feedback
Assignments delivered through technology (including LMS or exercise systems) allow teachers to establish expectations and the proper use of rubrics. The students can refer to this documentation during the assignment. After the work is submitted, students receive feedback that is embedded in the assignment.
Focus on the skills required, not each subject
It’s not necessarily about the content of the task, but rather the skills required to complete it. Time management, self-motivation, scheduling, the ability to multitask or concentrate when the situation demands it, and the willingness to try new things all contribute to a well-rounded individual. Students who are busy with a lot of tech-oriented homework can practice these skills while mastering the content of each subject.
See How Parents Can Help With Critical Thinking At Home
No borders between school and home
As the world shifted to the virtual world, many workers and students found that work shifted home and home felt … different. The boundaries between rest and study are blurring. This effect is perceived by some more than others, and in different ways: think of the differences between introverted and extroverted people, those who crave structure and those who hate them (and perhaps more tellingly, those who need the structure to be successful, and those who don’t).
For a multitude of children of different ages who still need the structure of the classroom a lot, the lack of boundaries is not only unhealthy, but also runs the risk of disrupting important development milestones.
Maximum homework from everyone = unmanageable workload
When homework is done through technology, it is tempting to set the maximum workload. Finally, especially when class time is tight (or not happening), how else can teachers measure progress? There’s a catch 22: not enough homework and we worry that the kids aren’t getting the enrichment and experience they need. Too much, and children are overwhelmed with tasks from all angles.
Password and application management takes time
Mo ‘systems, mo’ problems – with managing credentials, switching between systems, and knowing where to find what. While Edtech is still far from a seamless, universal experience, interoperability and single sign-on help. There is still a bit of a learning curve to figuring out how to use any system that accommodates homework – and learning them takes cognitive energy out of the actual lessons.
Technology issues affect homework completion
If students don’t have access to high-speed internet, they may not be able to hand in completed assignments or even work on certain assignments that are stored in cloud-based systems. Some families share devices with multiple children or with home-working adults. While one-to-one programs can help combat this, technical issues can be a difficult obstacle to homework.
Technology should inspire us hook
It’s not a secret social media and its infinite scrolling is designed to entice users to come back to find out more. The grip of technology has worried quite a number of parents and experts as children increase screen usage. If school and homework require tech and students want to spend their free time watching screens, families need to set boundaries to have time for IRL activities.
In most districts, homework is a vital part of education. Still, it can help students set well-thought-out school-wide expectations in order to focus as much as possible on learning the skills that are important to their future.
Casey Thompson is Skyward, Inc.’s Digital Media Manager, committed to ethical digital experience and security. His expertise spans digital media marketing, while his passion lies in user experience, web design and digital artwork. When he’s not in the digital realm, Casey ventures into nature in search of adventure.