There will be many supporters of the concept of online classrooms. People will see it as cheap, engaging and an opportunity for children who haven’t been able to acclimatise to the classroom to find a workable alternative.
But do we really want our children living through their computers? Is real human interaction being permanently dismantled in favour of communication via the computer screen?
The online classroom takes the social media age a step further:
In a radical rethinking of what it means to go to school, states and districts nationwide are launching online public schools that let students from kindergarten to 12th grade take some—or all—of their classes from their bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. Other states and districts are bringing students into brick-and-mortar schools for instruction that is largely computer-based and self-directed.
In just the past few months, Virginia has authorized 13 new online schools. Florida began requiring all public-high-school students to take at least one class online, partly to prepare them for college cybercourses. Idaho soon will require two. In Georgia, a new app lets high-school students take full course loads on their iPhones and BlackBerrys. Thirty states now let students take all of their courses online.
Nationwide, an estimated 250,000 students are enrolled in full-time virtual schools, up 40% in the last three years, according to Evergreen Education Group, a consulting firm that works with online schools. More than two million pupils take at least one class online, according to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, a trade group.
It’s all part of a burst of experimentation in public education, fueled in part by mounting budgetary pressures, by parental dissatisfaction with their kids’ schools and by the failure of even top-performing students to keep up with their peers in other industrialized countries. In the nation’s largest cities, half of all high-school students will never graduate.
Advocates say that online schooling can save states money, offer curricula customized to each student and give parents more choice in education.
In my opinion, some of the biggest advantages of the conventional school system is that it provides children with the exposure to help, guidance, leadership opportunities, social interactions and a taste of the challenges that they will meet in the real world.
None of these advantages are addressed by a i-Pad.
Tags: BlackBerrys, Child Development, cybercourses, Education, Engaging Students, iPhones, Online Education, Parenting, Rocketship Education, social media, technology, Technology in the Classroom, vergreen Education Group, Virtual Classrooms