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What’s the value of online learning? Answer: Not much | READER COMMENTARY

Online learning will be a common experience in Maryland and elsewhere this fall but how much will students get out of the experience? No one knows for certain. File.
Online learning will be a common experience in Maryland and elsewhere this fall but how much will students get out of the experience? No one knows for certain. File. (Canva)

To answer a parent’s letter about the value of virtual learning, there is hardly any value to virtual learning (”Can anyone be honest about the value of virtual learning?” July 23). As a former English teacher with 27 years in a local private high school, 11 years in Baltimore County schools and 28 years teaching in college at night, learning face-to-face is the only credible way. I spent several years during my college tenure teaching writing online at the University of Baltimore. Only individual response to a student’s essay can come close to teaching online. Logically, if learning at home on a computer is “the way,” then why ever have actual schools?

Virtual learning is being done to “sorta” justify collecting tuition from private school students and make some excuse by politicians to look like parents’ tax dollars are still at work. Marginal students hardly respond when in school. They aren’t even going to go online. How do you teach physical education online? How do you teach art, theater, all of the vocational courses or music? I am horrible at math. Now, all I would have to do is just ask google to do my homework and submit the answer. I would have my good math student friends give me answers to submit online. How do I dissect frogs in biology online or perform chemistry experiments at home?

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The other consideration is that teaching online is a skill-set learned through trial and error. No teacher methodology classes are offered on how to teach online. You can’t just tell any teacher, “Oh, I know you have taught 15 years in a classroom, but tomorrow you start online.” It’s like telling me that I have a driver’s license for 20 years driving my car, but tomorrow you are going to start driving 18-wheelers. But I have a driver’s license so no big deal.

Most local school systems have now closed schools until January. That will be 11 months for kids sitting at home with no where to go, no jobs (of course) and only the internet to play on while no one is watching what they are really doing on the computer. All of these daily virus numbers have never been validated. I have asked The Sun to inform the public just how do 900 people a day get this virus? I didn’t even get a response. I don’t know one person, not one, who has contracted it. Does one wake up with a sore throat and call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? “Hey, I have a sore throat. Make sure to add me to the list today.”

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It’s all a big secret how hundreds of people a day have the virus. And the biggest joke is to tell me that 40% of those with the virus don’t have symptoms and don’t know they have it. So, I am to believe in something that is intangible and not in evidence. Hey, don’t you see Casper the Friendly Ghost standing over there?

Thomas Bateman, Lutherville

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