Monday, April 6, 2015

Virtual Schooling; Myth VS. Facts

After viewing the video posted to the weeks content. the first thing that surprised me is the law in the state of Michigan pertaining to financial responsibility. I had no idea that virtual schooling providers were independent of a school district and that the home school district would be required to pay. I did have some idea that some schools provide a partial block of online learning only because I worked for an educational publisher and dealt with many schools and districts who purchased digital products.
It certainly didn't surprise me that a virtual education is not only for gifted learners, I have seen and thought that this kind of education accommodating different types of learners, including at risk students and students needing an individualized pace and instruction.
I was also not surprised that virtual schooling does not lack interaction. I feel that many times, especially introverted students receive more interaction because they can ask questions without an audience, without fear of being ostracized and also posting to a message board for other students to answer. I also feel that it's helpful to the instructor since they are not being asked the same question over and over again, which often happens.
I also feel that there are so many ways for students to turn in homework, email, google groups, and other services and also sharing ideas through cloud based services, it is a lot easier to collaborate. It also helps alleviate the issue of constantly losing assignments for unorganized students. However, while they are not isolated, I think the use of video based interaction like google hangouts is necessary so we don't lose out on personal communication skills that are needed in the working world.
I can also see how online teachers work harder and is more than just putting it up on a website. There is constant revising and as new technology emerges, we are always looking at the many options we have and also teaching the students how to use that technology in addition to the standards-based content. While I teach in a traditional classroom, I have 8 laptops in my room and spend a vast amount of time revising the website to adjust for new students and different learners. I spend my entire Sunday every week just revising the website. This is in addition to the 9 page weekly lesson plan with standards, I Can statements, essential question, etc.
I also feel students really need to be self motivated or self starters to succeed in an online learning environment. It is very easy to slack off when you don't have someone harassing you for missing assignments and fooling around.
I found most of the myths not surprising, but most surprising was how many variables go into online learning such as state laws and financial responsibility. I am aware of schools doing blended learning but I haven't been able to experience that on my own.


  1. I too am very pro online education. I am wondering, however, do you think that getting an online education is good for all students and all ages?

    I definitely think that technology should be flawlessly integrated into the classroom daily but I'm also beginning to wonder where, if any, a cut off should be for students to receive their education entirely online at home,for example. Looking at my own students, most, if not all in the grades K-3 would not be able to handle solely being educated via the internet and many of my students in grades 4-8 would struggle heavily.

  2. No, I don't think complete immersion is possible for very young students without guidance. I do feel that students who benefit most are self motivated and dont need constant redirection. I really feel there should be a balance of in class and online.

  3. Completely agree! Self motivation...what a concept!

  4. It definitely depends on the student if they are ready to handle courses that are fully online. Victoria and Karen, both of you look at your own students and feel that they are not ready for those type of courses at this point without guidance. Down the road after they have experience with technology and become self-learners, then they will most likely be ready for those types of courses. Of course, there may be a few students in 8th grade (or younger) that are self-motivated and could be ready to try online courses.

    1. For sure, I do have some students who could do complete online immersion as long as I was available to answer questions here and there. I have students who prefer the times scheduled each day with the program I use which also allows them to earn game time and badges. They really are wanting to have the most badges. However, I do have a handful that need constant redirection, will surf inappropriate sites when they think I'm not looking, know how to erase the history and do not bother to read the tutorials and ask me how to do it for every single problem or task.

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