Monday, March 28, 2011

Virtual Schools By, Jacqueline

Online classrooms or virtual schools are popping up all over the country. When searching for examples to use in this project I found dozens of schools that have started using online classrooms. These classrooms found more in upper level learning such as college and high school but now there are virtual classrooms for elementary levels to middle school. Here are sources I used to research virtual schools:

"Wagering on the Web: Vegas Schools Go Virtual." Edutopia. Web. 28 Mar 2011.

This video from edutopia presents how Vegas schools went from regular classrooms to virtual ones. One of the most compelling features that are presented in this video is that students and teachers both stated that there is more communication in a virtual school than in a regular classroom. The reason behind this is that the student has more control over their learning. An example used in the video was that if a student has a question they could send a quick e-mail to a teacher instead of waiting for their turn for the teacher’s attention in a regular classroom. Also in this students are able to make their questions more specific and have the answers in front of them saved in an e-mail form. The video showed perspectives from students and teachers. The students described some of the major advantages to online school, which include: flexibility, time management, more teacher interaction, and the ability to connect with other students. The teachers that presented their online classrooms agreed with the students especially on flexibility. Teaching can now be done at home or in any distance away from the students. Teachers are also able to connect with other teachers and create an even larger online classroom. The only disadvantage that was presented in the video was students need to be self-motivating. Some students can easily fall behind if they don’t keep up on assignments. Teachers are not physically in a room with the students to push them in their assignments. So virtual schools are not for every student but those who take on this new way of learning find many more benefits.

This video presented information from two different perspectives, which allows the viewer to look at the issue from different standpoints. The information came directly from the students are teachers who use this kind of learning. Although I found this video useful and reliable I think that there was not enough presented about some of the other disadvantages of online learning. I personally struggle with online learning because I like to have a teacher face to face who can see the student’s reactions when presented with new material. Online learning is a generally new trend and I think it will only get bigger as time goes on so this video is up to date and a good resource on this topic.

"Georgia Virtual School." Georgia Virtual School. N.p., 28 03 2011. Web. 28 Mar 2011. .

The website is an actual virtual school. The home page to this website opens by sharing information through three groups of people: students, parents and educators. The Georgia virtual school allows students to take an assessment to see if an online class is suited from them. It offers classes for any students in the grade levels of 9 though 12. It also carries over 100 class offerings to any student whether they are already enrolled in a public school or even home schooled. It also offers educators ways to get involved or offer subject content to any of the classes. A nice feature to this virtual school is that it has a virtual guidance center. The virtual guidance center helps students navigate or overcome any problem they may experience on their online learning. This feature may help some students with any anxiety they may have on taking online classes. The Georgia Virtual School states that flexibility may be a reason that students may want to join their school. Classes can be scheduled inside of a normal school day or outside normal hours.

This website is a good example of an online school. It offers many different resources for anyone involved in a student’s education. This example is a great part of researching this topic. It is a reliable source and The Georgia Virtual School is credited and a useful resource to students looking into online schools. The website is friendly and easy to find classes and more information about their school.

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