Posted by: wingnut650 | September 7, 2007

Virtual Schools – a positioning challenge

I was reading a very interesting article about virtual schooling today for kids K-12.  The article covers topics such as how this type of environment is beneficial for kids that need more of a one-on-one learning environment (which virtual environments provide through the teachers use of:  chat rooms, e-mail, telephone and instant messaging). 
This was interesting b/c as I’ve blogged before, in my experience a virtual work environment has been a really great way for me to have a more flexible day where I can handle personal tasks but also it’s been a great way for my employer to get more out of me than if I were strictly in the office.  I work many more hours (it seems) since I can be checking and responding to my email as soon as I get up in the morning instead of getting ready for work and commuting; and, I am doing work related items much later than I would if I had been in the office.  Plus, I have the opportunity to mow my lawn at noon if I need to.  The work life balance has truly been rewarding and in return, I’m constantly “on” for my employer every day of the week.  This is a challenge for many, many employers to grasp that their workers can be trustworthy and productive by providing this level of independence – but it really is a great way to get more from your workforce if it’s an option. 
Now, I see that college courses are being taught in the same manner where students are not required to be in a real classroom and now the same scenario is happening in secondary schools.  The challenge here is positioning this type of learning environment to parents and educators that may not be familiar or comfortable with the concept of learning virtually and not in a traditional classroom.  (I believe that there is a component of comfort and familiarity with the technology that drives this environment as well.)  To be honest, since my only academic experience has been in a traditional classroom setting it would be hard to get my head around my kid taking school virtually…though I have the benefit of my work experience to draw from. 

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  1. You’ve done traffic school a few times in a virtual environment though haven’t you?

  2. But what is the social benefit of that? What will happen to these children when they are only interacting with a computer? I know they’ll have friends from different sports and clubs, but…

    Maybe this calls for completely rethinking the way children are raised vs. rethinking how they are educated. Our current school system educates intellectually and socially. (well, HA, but you get my drift…) Maybe if it were to move to just focus on intellect (a la virtual schooling) there would need to be completely different types of socialization for children…. Or maybe those home-school people already have that aspect sorted out!

    I don’t know. As a virtual worker myself, i do definitely see the benefits to work-life balance as an adult, but god how I would have missed out on a lot if I’d not had the social part of school.

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