When I was in my last year of high school, we had the option to take biology 12 online. I didn’t end up needing the course for my university requirements, but I do think back to how interesting the initial process was. In the mail, I received a textbook, just like one you would find in school, to do assigned readings. All tests and quizzes and assignments were handed in online through a portal and you had to complete them with a supervisor next to you, to ensure that you didn’t have the opportunity to cheat, just like in a tradition classroom setting where someone is watching over you. I thought it was very organized and a great way to learn a subject. I think the role of distributed learning in students’ lives is huge. If students have to travel for unexpected reasons, or deal with issues that make them absent for many classes, they have resources that enable them to not fall too far behind. I know that in elementary school, whenever someone was absent from class, they were just usually given the worksheets they missed out on completing. This still didn’t ensure that they knew all the information being missed, as there was no lesson behind it. If teachers are capable of designing ways for students to learn outside of the classroom setting, everyone can thrive. It reduces the stress and anxiety that comes with students missing class. I know personally I was really stressed and anxious when I had to miss school, as I always felt that I could not catch-up. When circumstances are unpredicted and take a student out of class, it is helpful for their already fragile mental health, that they feel like they can heal without the pressure of being surrounded by a room full of people. When talking about inclusive learning, it is important that all students are taken into consideration, and that their needs can be met. Learners shouldn’t have to completely isolate themselves from the school community when they have to be away, as it is where they are comfortable and have built connections. I like the metaphor mentioned in today’s lecture that there can be different learning pathways for students, where they are headed towards the same destination but taking different routes. Effective distributive learning can benefit students who live far away, suffer from anxiety or other mental disorders, are ill, have to travel, etc. There are so many ways that learning at a distance can benefit students’ learning journey. We had a fun experience working with the telepresence robot in class and seeing how interactive you can be in a class from home. It was amazing to see how it could navigate around the room, have the ability to pause the camera, and speak using a mic. It is tools like this that can make all the difference in a class.

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