Who Invented School?

There isn’t a school child alive today who hasn’t, at some point, wished that schools had never been invented. If they hadn’t, they’d be free to play all day right? Who is the person who’s responsible for creating schools in the first place?

There isn’t actually a simple answer to this question. Rather than being invented in the format we know it in today, the concept of ‘school’ has evolved over centuries, changing along the way.

The first known instance of a formal school can be traced back to Ancient Greece. With a culture that placed such a high value on knowledge and wisdom, it’s not surprising that this is the case. Around 385 BC, groups of students would get together to learn from a teacher, in groups called ‘academies’. The name came about due to Plato, who founded a school of Philosophy near an area named Akademia.

School in Ancient Greece wasn’t run anything like a modern school is today. The teachers would concentrate on more free form topics, encouraging students to think about topics such as ‘the meaning of life’. This began to change in 425 AD with the Byzantine Empire. The schooling system was adjusted to fit the needs of military personnel, the people who would be attending. The focus was on more rigid topics, such as Math and History. However, this system was lost with the fall of the Empire in 1453 AD.

Every culture developed differently when it came to education, but here in the west schooling was known for years as only for the rich. Poorer children would never be sent to schools. Instead, they would work to contribute to the family’s upkeep. In the UK, children were famously known for being chimney sweeps as they were small enough to fit up chimneys.

In the US, Horace Mann and Harry P. School were two men who began to gather children together in groups in order to educate them. In the UK, Robert Raikes introduced Sunday Schools, and the law was changed in 1870 so all children had to be educated.

Schools were very different back then, but this was the turning point that lead to the creation of the modern schooling system as we know it today. Children weren’t separated by age, so every child in the school may be taught in the same room. In a larger school, you could be looking at 80-90 children in a class. This has been changed, but we still see some Victorian ideas in schools today.

Schools weren’t so much ‘invented’ as created over the years, becoming what we know today. There’s no one inventor of the school, but plenty of people who have contributed to the idea over time.

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Is Online Learning As Good As Face-to-Face Learning?

Nearly everyone has some experience of learning in a face-to-face classroom environment. Because of that, we’re often more comfortable learning in environments that look like classrooms. However, online learning is becoming more and more popular in recent years. Is online learning as good as face-to-face, or will the personal touch always be better?

There’s no arguing that online learning brings education further than it’s ever been before. Thanks to the spread of the internet, learners can access education through their computers, no matter how remote they are. It brings opportunities to people who have never had them before. When viewed like this, there’s no argument that online learning isn’t a good thing.

Learning online has a lot of advantages. As the learner is attending the class in their own environment, they can control it better. They can adjust lighting, heat and noise levels to ones they are comfortable with. The more comfortable they are, the better they can learn. They also avoid the issue of potentially disruptive classmates.

The work done in class can be much more focused online, too. When group work is held through text or video chats, it’s easier to concentrate on the topic at hand. It has been suggested that online, a group will put much more effort into the task at hand. Feedback given online can be in depth and consistent.

However, there’s some things that online learning just can’t offer. The learner has to be fairly dedicated, as online it can be much easier to disengage from the task at hand. It’s also harder to check if they’re paying attention to the instructor.

The same goes for group work. Face-to-face, every participant needs to contribute, as it’s much more obvious if they don’t. Being physically in the same room together creates a much stronger bond between team members, too.
Ultimately, learning is a social activity. While the internet has made communication easier, it’s not always as effective as face-to-face meetings. Learners can get to know each other better in a physical space, while online there’s always the sense of being disconnected from your peers.

Looking at these points, it’s easy to see a case for both online and face-to-face learning. Both are effective in different ways. Online learning is fantastic for those who otherwise can’t access education at all, due to location or illness. Face to face learning is better for bonding, and allowing learners to learn from each other as well as their instructor.
Overall, online learning is as good as face-to-face learning, but it works best in certain situations. In the vast majority of cases, face to face learning is the way to go.

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