Quick response to two online learning articles

Here is the first from “More Ohio students learning via online schools:”

More children than ever in Ohio are learning via online schools, a trend that local parents say is more the result of wanting more for their child than it is about their local school district.

Increased popularity for this option has seen enrollments totals blossom from 44 such schools serving approximately 17,000 students in 2004 to 27 e-schools serving 39,044 students in the 2013-14 school year.

It is good to follow these trends. That’s a lot of students in Ohio! But parents, if you “want more for [your] child” then I urge you to consider that you will get more from brick and mortar schools. You will get in-person instruction, hands-on activities, social interaction, and more. If you have a reason for online learning such as scheduling conflicts, need due to a disability, or fear of bullying, then yes I get it. Though I do not expect you will get “more” but you will get “different.” Keep that in mind. 

Here is the second from “Concerns remain as Virtual Virginia online learning program begins“:

Virtual Virginia is gearing up to roll out a pilot program that could make a high school student’s classroom experience almost entirely online, something many people see as an extra opportunity for students to complete their high school career.

Spots are still available for Virginia students wishing to enroll in the program, but it has come with some concerns. In addition to being a benefit for students who don’t perform as well in a traditional classroom setting, there are worries that it could cut down on interactions for students both academically and socially.

As one can probably tell by following this blog, I am cautiously intrigued by online learning. We have seen cyber charters limp along here in Pennsylvania, potentially indicating to policymakers that implementation is key. The for-profit sector seems to have inherent deficiencies (I wonder: Can they really be top-notch when their number one goal is enrollment? Doesn’t this lead them to worry more about marketing than teaching?) That being said, I do think there are some instances where online learning is appropriate. I also think online learning needs to be rolled out in a measured way: Consider students on a case-by-case basis, watch their progress, work with their parents, and pull them if they do not log into the websites and/or do not complete their work. 

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