Virtual Learning - A Blog for Principals and Teachers - School Matters | A Blog for Principals and Teachers – School Matters

 
 

Virtual Learning

 
 

 

 

iStock 000011253010XSmall 150x150 Virtual Learning

I always teach my kids never to call anyone stupid. So you’ll have to excuse me for my language when I ask, “How stupid can they be?” No, I’m not referring to my kids, I’m referring to all those who are riding the wave of the newest craze, virtual education.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal outlines the growing popularity of the cyber school, citing that nation wide an estimated 250,000 students are enrolled in full-time virtual schools and more than 2 million take at least one class online. Some companies who run public cyber schools claim to have doubled enrollment in the past 2 years, as many states are joining the trend and are encouraging (or on a limited basis, even requiring) online education.

What are they thinking? Was it that our children did not already spend way too much time plugged into their computers or Blackberries, that we now have to find a way to increase their detachment and estrangement from authentic human contact? A few short years ago, many schools shunned mobile phones or handheld video games in the school building in order to ensure that children actually spoke to one another or learned how to navigate complex social interactions. How ironic that now the electronic world gains its sweet revenge as it seeks to shun the school building!

Yes, it is true that economic realities may justify such radical thinking (in some cases budgets of cyber schools are 60% less than traditional institutions), however, the trend towards equating the value of the virtual educational experience to that of a live classroom is troubling, and demands serious reflection.

While it is easy to rant against those who champion the cyber school, traditionalist must look inwards and ask why people are leaving their schools? Perhaps parents are willing to forgo the advantages of social interaction if schools are not adequately addressing issues of bullying. The obvious gain of having a live teacher may be offset by overcrowded classrooms in which the student’s individual needs are not being met. The excitement created by a really cool computer generated learning experience will easily trump a boring teacher who flamed out years ago but continues teaching nonetheless.

As always, the solutions we seek may be much closer than we think. The easiest way to successfully buck the destructive trend towards virtual education may be to improve our schools and enhance the quality of our classrooms.

Share and Enjoy:
  • twitter Virtual Learning
  • linkedin Virtual Learning
  • facebook Virtual Learning
  • googlebookmark Virtual Learning
 

2 Comments

  1. Scott Merrick says:

    There is so much unsupported opinion and so little substance in this piece that I cannot believe I’m commenting. In fact, I won’t. Just see http://www.inacol.org/research/. Sheesh.

Post a Comment


 

Educators Calendar Events

Featured Posts

Video: Wellness and Health Education

Video: Wellness and Health Education

  Is there a place in our schools for teaching our students wellness and fitness? While physical education classes have always been a part of our education system,...

 
Top 15 Things Teachers Hate Infographic

Top 15 Things Teachers Hate Infographic

  Hertz Furniture presents the Top 15 things Teachers Hate Infographic.  Paperwork, Meetings, Uncomfortable Teacher Chairs and more. The infograhic was compiled...

 
K-12 Class Size And Student Success Infographic

K-12 Class Size And Student Success Infographic

  Hertz Furniture is proud to present the Correlation Between K-12 Class Size And Student Success Infographic.  Are smaller classes more effective?  Does the...

 
Student Data Sharing: Is this “Big Brother Watching”?

Student Data Sharing: Is this “Big Brother Watching”?

Readers be forewarned; I am about to age myself. When I was in school, George Orwell’s “1984” was required reading. We couldn’t imagine then that much of...

 
Infographic: What Makes An Effective Teacher?  Part II

Infographic: What Makes An Effective Teacher? Part II

Hertz Furniture is proud to present the What Makes An Effective Teacher? infographic series!  Environmental influences such as classroom resources, appropriate...

 
Does Class Size Really Matter?

Does Class Size Really Matter?

As educators, I believe that most of us would prefer fewer students to teach than a larger amount. We might feel that we can give more personal student attention,...

 
Infographic: What Makes An Effective Teacher?

Infographic: What Makes An Effective Teacher?

  Hertz Furniture is proud to present the What Makes An Effective Teacher? Infographic!  Teacher Influences such as pedagogical knowledge, content knowledge and...

 
Let’s Improve Reading… Again

Let’s Improve Reading… Again

When I was in first grade, I was taught to read using a system called, “I.T.A.-The Initial Teaching Alphabet”. Never heard of it? No wonder. I.T.A. used a fake,...

 
ADHD in the Classroom

ADHD in the Classroom

With a 42% increase in reported cases of ADHD since 2003, no doubt you have dealt with this challenging issue in your classroom. It is estimated that 11% of children...

 
Teaching Happiness 101

Teaching Happiness 101

What was the most popular course offered at Harvard University in 2006? What class at the University of California at Berkeley was so in demand that it has now...