With budget shortfalls affecting school districts across the United States, a lot of public schools are turning to virtual learning to ease some of the burden of these shortfalls.
When I started researching for this blog post I found that here in Texas, we have the Texas Virtual Academy, which is 100% supported and accredited by our school districts. I did some quick asking around in the office and found out that one of our operators has a child that started the program this year. I talked to him to give me some of his first impressions about the program.
- Approved curriculum from the school district
- Monitoring tools to keep kids accountable
- Materials provided go well beyond text books. He informed me that not only did the school provide his child a preloaded desktop computer, they also threw in jump ropes and yoga balls for PE, as well as beakers for chemistry assignments.
- There are also no additional grading requirements. Meaning all of the grades are submitted directly to the district - so there is no additional information for the parents to fill out or send in.
- More one on one attention from the teachers and students are required to do at least six hours of logged work per day.
The ideas of distance learning are not exclusive to the state of Texas. In fact, a lot of school districts are embracing these ideas as financial burdens begin to affect the ability to hire more educators. Distance learning isn't just about saving money, it also exposes students to different teachers and classroom set ups.
Imagine the student that attends a large school district where the student to teacher ratio is 30:1 and this student struggles in the subject of Math. Now take that same student and virtually connect him or her to a classroom in small town America where the student to teacher ratio is 15:1. I wonder if the extra attention might help to boost this students grades.
We have an education system that if full of different perspectives and loyal educators. Embracing distance learning is going to give students the chance to be exposed to a number of the different kinds of classroom experiences.
What do you think about the potential benefits or drawbacks of distance learning?