College students have taken online classes for years. Now high school students are logging in, taking everything from biology to P.E. via computer. How does online learning stack up against the traditional classroom? On Monday, Jennifer talks with public education leaders about the virtues and limits of an online education.
- Kenneth Grover, Director of Career and Technical Education and Secondary Schools, Salt Lake City School District; chair of Utah Online Education Consortium
- DeLaina Tonks, Director of Open High School of Utah
- Gene V. Glass, Senior Researcher at the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder
Utah State Office of Education – Public Education Online
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The Pros: Online education is a great boon to some children with special needs – for example, some young people with autism.
The Cons: Our legislature is almost sure to push Online Education as a way to avoid funding appropriate staffing levels in our public schools, and then contract out the online education business to private companies. This will NOT decrease education costs, and it WILL disadvantage the great majority of students who cannot maintain attention to a screen. And no, I really don’t think that logical reasoning can be taught in a video-game format (which is one format that does hold attention).
I taught for 4 years at a laptop high school, and saw both the advantages and disadvantages of online and computer based curriculum. It occurs to me that high school is a bit too early to go to a completely online curriculum because of the onus that gets put on students who might not be mature enough to monitor themselves and their work. I do think that online courses give students who might feel a bit shy about speaking in class the opportunity to be more open in a different environment. There are some great things that you can do in a computer based class that get students to broaden their learning styles. I don’t think we should move away from physical schools completely, however.
It seems to me that anyone who must resort to name calling and the inuendo engendered in those derogatroy terms has no business being involved with teaching in any format. I am referring to “Jetsons” and Flintstones. What childish nonsense.