More Students are Attending Classes Online

What does the typical high school classroom look like to you? It maybe has some desks, some students, and a teacher, right? At least, that’s how the typical classroom looked a few decades ago.
According to the Sloan Consortium, more than one million students attended classes via the Internet in 2008. Of those million, around 200,000 were enrolled in full-time virtual schools, meaning they attend all of their classes online.
“If students have their own computer, it can travel with them from home to school,” Karen Cator, director of the office of education technology at the U.S. Department of Education. “There can be software programs that help the student, or there can be an online teacher, but the technology can also augment a teacher in a face-to-face classroom.”
In the past, most of the students who attended classes online were in alternative schools and charter schools. However, Caprice Young, the former chief executive of KC Distance Learning, said that today the “client base [online students] flipped to predominantly traditional schools.”
Part of this trend could be attributed to President Obama’s support of online learning. Obama has been working to improve the levels of education students receive in the U.S. since he was elected to office, and later this month, he plans to release a National Education Technology Plan.
There are several advantages to attending high school online. Students can “attend” classes when it is convenient for them and they can also take classes that might not be offered at their own high school.
However, there are also disadvantages to this new trend. Many wonder if the instruction will be up to standard for online schools. Others worry that this will not allow students to form proper social skills or maintain a healthy social life.
Personally, I can see both sides. I think that this can be a great option for those who cannot attend traditional schools for any reason. However, I can’t imagine my high school experience without lunches with my friends and all of the socializing in between classes – something that would be missing from an online learning environment.
What do you think? Is this new trend a good thing or a bad thing? Why? Share your thoughts below!
Via The New York Times