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The Value of Virtual

Think virtual classes may not hold the same value as in-person classes?

Think again...

Text reads Online Classes with Cristin DeCamville over an image of an open laptop with Cristin leading a book club. A leather couch, large plant and coffee table with books, colored pencils and a microphone represent the elements of the classes.

Advantages of virtual classes


    •    for those with prohibitive mobility needs

    •    for those who are immunocompromised and have to limit time in public (or their caregivers are immunocompromised or impaired in some way)

    •    for those with agoraphobia or debilitating social anxiety

    •    for those without adequate support for their child’s mobility or behavioral needs in public

    •    for those with conditions like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Tourette’s syndrome. Masking is exhausting, and privately learning from home provides a safe haven to relax and learn comfortably.

    •    for those who do not live near services like this

    •    for those without reliable transportation

    •    for those with attention issues like ADHD. Online learning has far fewer distractions.

    •    for those who struggle with chronic illness resulting in low energy levels. (One of my students suffers from a Thyroid condition and would undoubtedly fall asleep during our sessions if he were additionally worn out from commuting to class. He would not be able to attend if he couldn’t do it from home. Additionally, I have a severe chronic illness and could not teach at all if not for virtual lessons, so I understand the extent to which it affects every aspect of life.)

    •    for those with conditions that require sudden needs. I have students with seizures, Gastro Intestinal conditions, T1 Diabetes, etc. who benefit from having their home resources at hand. Also, basic needs like a drink of water, needing to grab a hoodie, or needing a bathroom break are more easily met when they are at home. They haven’t missed anything when they return.

    •    for those diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Our  virtual classes produce a more relaxed environment, allowing much more engagement.

    •    those with autism. Environmental considerations like a quiet space, low lights, fewer distractions, no observers or a specific comfort item are easily accommodated with virtual lessons. To be able to turn down volume or brightness on a class is a gift.



    •    Being able to keep a weekly appointment, even when on vacation or sick is a godsend to the students and caregivers who desperately rely on routines.

    •    Even on snow days with driving bans and minor holidays, we get to have classes without worrying about a building being accessible.


Nothing is Lost:

    •    My students are still getting hands-on experiences with art supplies, instruments, microphones, worksheets and books. 

    •    The students are still getting face-to-face interactions, and arguably even more dedicated attention than in a classroom.

    •    Socializing is absolutely part of our experience every time. Group classes offer chances for discussions with peers.

    •    My students who danced when we held in-person classes still dance! 

    •    Our goals remain the same as when we were in person, and are consistently met: 

    ⁃    focus, concentration, memory skills, confidence, information processing, analytical skills, conversation skills, reading, information recall, writing, articulation, creative expression, imagination skills, empathy, learning definitions and context, exploration of meaning, imagery, symbolism, analyzing music and text, literary creativity, instrument instruction, coordination, fine motor skills, pattern recognition, reducing stress, planning skills, keeping lists, taking notes, navigating books, following along, making connections from illustrations to story, using visual cues in books to keep the thread of the plot, anticipating next steps, summarizing skills, etc.. 


Smaller Class Sizes:

    •    Whether in the customized 1:1 sessions, or the group classes, smaller groups mean more intimate learning. 

    •    More time is taken with each individual to process the material, formulate questions and express their thoughts.

    •    Our individual sessions allow the student to learn at their own pace.

    •    Every question is addressed. Everything they express is honored.



    •    Save time with no commute.

    •    Parents are free during that time instead of waiting at the event or in the car.

    •    The ability of a student to spontaneously grab a special item from their home to share with me often enhances and reinforces what we are learning. 


Deeper Connections:

    •    Teacher/Student: Seeing each other’s homes, meeting the pets, even noticing which mug they are using today is an arguably more personal setting than a brick and mortar classroom. They’ll show me how much snow they got, and the next thing you know, we are writing a poem about the snow in their own back yard. Their enthusiasm that shines with these moments of personal inspiration is breathtaking. I’ve also gotten to meet extended family members who happen to be around during lessons. The student-teacher connection deepened when we started meeting virtually.

    •    Student/Family: Parents and siblings overhear and observe our classes, enhancing their ability to converse with the student on the topic, reinforcing the material they’re learning. Involvement in things like aiding them in a google search for song lyrics, or the student sharing a piece of art they just made, or song they’ve just learned, or a sibling joining in to sing together enhances family connections. 

    •    Parent/Teacher: Parents’ presence leads to better understanding, appreciating and supporting the student’s experience. Teachers observing how the parent interacts with the child improves understanding, communication and planning assignments. 

    •    Peers: The relationships forged in our virtual group sessions are so valuable. They bond, reminisce, and get excited over who is attending the next session. Group chats are formed, it’s amazing.


Extra Perks:

    •    My ability to observe what they are using at home for music and art lessons greatly enhances my ability to help them learn. For example, a grand piano vs. an electronic keyboard require completely different instruction for how they should practice. During my first virtual lesson, I observed that my student of two years had all his piano keys labeled… wrong. It explained so much. Another had far more access to art supplies than I’d realized, opening up opportunities to do more creative projects. Another had posters of her favorite bands in her room, increasing our karaoke list by a ton. Another had a collection of books on a shelf behind her that we were able to add to our Book Club experience. None of these students recalled or communicated this information spontaneously, so this glimpse into their lives via virtually meeting has been incredibly valuable.

    •    Dogs and cats. Enough said.

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