“In 1951 we witnessed the birth of television. In 1981, Acorn IBM’s first personal computer was released and in 1999 Wi-Fi, the abbreviated term for “wireless fidelity” was developed. But life as we know it today doesn’t change every 20 – 30 years anymore. It now changes every 20-30 minutes…perhaps without us even knowing it.

Traditional Schooling as we knew it

If you are reading this there is a 99% chance that you were in a “traditional brick-and-mortar” school. We were dropped off in the morning by a parent, or took the bus to school, or for some of us, even walked to school. Then we joined our friends in a classroom with a teacher, the bell rang for break, we all had our lunch, and then we went back to class. We were lucky if we had a Computer Centre at school that we were exposed to. After school, some of us attended social or sport events. And most of you would agree with me that we did not turn out too bad. 

Times have changed

Today, every child is exposed to some type of technological device and likely, even more than one. They are exposed to technology at home and at school, and when visiting their friends’ houses. Students in the 21st century need technology to do their schoolwork, their sport activities, and events and even when organising social events. We as adults must raise children with technology as it is the key to their future. Modern universities make use of online assessment tasks, computer-based assignments, software tools and in all careers, a basic computer skill is a requirement. We have the privilege to raise children with the necessary future-focused skills to adapt to a fast-growing technological world. 

Forced to online schooling 

COVID-19 forced the global community to experience “home-schooling” or “online-schooling”. What a blessing in disguise for many of us. Parents and students had their worlds changed by this. Many of us realised what our children were being taught at school, and in many cases left us with a lot to be desired. We also realised that we could do school from literally anywhere in the world by using web-based tools and online schooling platforms. Together with this, a whole new world opened for children. Students can be managed by an online educator under the supervision of their parents to do research, to write their own coding programme, to experience learning in an immersive way, and be engaged by a variety of tools that bring joy into learning. The possibilities are endless. 

Pros and Cons of raising the next generation by use of EduTech solutions such as online schools

This debate can go on for days, but in fact, it all comes down to two main considerations. If my child goes to an online school, how will their social development be impacted? The reality is that social skills can be fostered outside of a brick-and-mortar school. Online schooling and homeschooling families have vibrant communities that have rich social experiences, build lifelong friendships, and have the benefit that it can be forged around your own family values, choosing friends, and avoiding bullying and exposure to bad influences. This does take parental effort and can be a task without tapping into the communities available. Most online schools, such as Wingu Academy have vibrant programmes where students are given a choice of different clubs to be part of. The clubs foster social interaction, connect friends that can meet up in person, build leadership skills, and get exposure to other potential interests. Students who attend an online school know all the ins and outs of technology and how to use it in everyday life, school, and work. Children today are more comfortable with social interactions online than other generations and are developing the crucial skills to safely interact in a connected world. It is important to leverage off the opportunities available to ensure socialisation in person. Globally there are vibrant communities on social media for homeschooling, and veteran homeschooling families that can offer guidance. 

As an educator, teaching online changed my whole life. I realised that there was a whole new world outside of my comfort zone waiting for me to discover. When I first started teaching online, I was terrified of using the technology, but now I can’t think of going back to my old way of teaching, experiencing all the possibilities online teaching holds for me and my students. I also can’t wait to see how my son develops using all the technological skills he is about to learn. He has the best of both worlds. I can raise him on a farm in the outdoors with the peace of mind that when entering the workforce of the future he wouldn’t have to stand back for anyone or anything, because of an online school like Wingu Academy he will have all the skills to have a technological advantage in whatever career path he chooses to pursue.”

Madeline Kruger, is a wife, mother of a five-year old, and a language teacher at Wingu Academy with true Wingulian blood flowing through her veins. She holds a B.Ed Intermediate Degree from North West University in South Africa. She also received an award from the Golden Key International Society. Madeline is passionate about teaching and believes that all children are special in their own way and should have the opportunity to develop at their own pace.