Friday, March 31, 2006

Online Classes: Coming to a School Near You?

From the March 30, 2006 edition of the Christian Science Monitor Online

Online courses aren't just for home-schoolers anymore:
Small schools use them to broaden class offerings; Michigan aims to mandate them.

By Kate Moser | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor

If high school student Kelsey Speaks had taken all of her classes at her bricks-and-mortar school, she wouldn't now be three years into her Latin studies. Since junior high, Kelsey has enrolled in eight courses in a virtual classroom through Colorado Online Learning, a state-funded program. The junior at tiny La Veta High School in southern Colorado says taking courses online is a great choice. "It's allowed me to do things I wouldn't otherwise have been able to do," she says.

In addition to letting her take courses (for free) that her school doesn't offer, online learning has made her schedule flexible enough that she can captain the debate team, edit the yearbook, and do volunteer work as well. She also gets to study independently, which she enjoys.

Once considered the domain of home-schooled students, K-12 online learning is a fast-growing option for public school students in rural, urban, and suburban areas. Michigan lawmakers are likely to pass legislation soon that will require high school students to take one course online before they graduate."

For the most part, I'm all in favor of virtual school. Klaus has thrived in such a program and I'm keeping options open for Wolfie and Xavier to do virtual middle school next year if they so choose. But I have to disagree with this part:

"The current national emphasis on math and science in schools might also create a new relevance for online learning, says Tim Snyder, director of Colorado Online Learning. Virtual teachers could help ease the nationwide shortage of math and science teachers, he says."

In our experience, math and science classes are better taught in person, rather than online.

No comments: