Since I am currently a “virtual” math teacher, I thought I would share my observations with you all.For my purposes I will define virtual school as “computer” school where students log in to an existing computerized curriculum (which is supervised and graded by licensed teachers). An example of this is K12 https://www.k12.com/ who I currently work for (and whom one of my children is enrolled, and I am teaching). Anyway, this is in contrast to “homeschooling” where the parents are the teachers and responsible for grading their childrens’ assignments.
Virtual School(VS) Plus’ (lest you think I am entirely critical):
- VS allows students to “do” school anywhere where there is an internet connection. This is practical when school age children are needing to travel extensively. Examples are musicians, singers, actors, athletes, Olympians, migrant workers, commercial fishing families, logging families.
- There are other reasons why families may choose VS, for example, if there are teachers or students that are a bad influence or are incompatible with students temperament, values, or faith.
- Another place virtual school can be practical is if a student lives in a remote location where there is no school, or parents arn’t willing or qualified to teach, or classes are not available (like the Alaskan bush).
- Atteding VS can help students prepare for online college classes.
- VS allows students to progress at their own pace and at the time of day they are most alert (how many groggy kids have no clue what happens first period).
- VS curriculum are top notch and require the students to complete the course.
Now for the con’s:
- VS allows students to “cheat” the tests and quizzes by looking up answers on the internet. (This is a two edged sword, on the good side, we look up information on the internet every day. on the bad side, children learn to be copy/paste experts and don’t apply their minds.)
- Sitting at a computer for five hours a day is not my idea of learning and certainly isn’t good for children either.
- Children (in my opinion) sit at electronic equipment too much anyway (TV, computers, smart phones, gaming consoles).
- It requires an internet connection and the right versions of software (which adds frustrating difficulties).
All said, I think VS has a place and will certainly improve over time. Some things cannot be learned over the internet, not everyone “gets math” especially and some students (and adults) still need a “hands-on” approach.
Thats my two cents!