Virtual School Programs and Virtual Learning
In situations like the one we're all facing, it's important to have options to continue education, like virtual school programs. Instead of halting student's learning or disrupting their ability to grow with school, they can switch to an online curriculum. Some think virtual school programs are inferior to a regular classroom or that many of the activities in after school programs don't translate to the virtual world too well, like the arts but, nothing could be further from the truth.
Let's go over what virtual school programs are and the many virtual curriculums that are offered.
What are Virtual School Programs?
It's tempting to think of virtual school programs as a kind of homeschooling and many people use it in that sense but, it can also be a kind of support when schools are shut down or if a program isn't offered. So, what is are virtual school programs? They're exactly what they sound like, learning online in a structured way.
For example, the student may log into a school's server where sections are locked until a previous one is completed. There can be timed tests that kick the user out when the timer winds down, even registered clock-ins to make sure the student is in class on time.
Some parents and teachers worry that a virtual curriculum is like learning in a bubble, that a student will miss out on lectures, socializing, and cooperating to complete assignments. While there are some virtual programs like that, there are also video classes and group video learning capabilities. Students can log in at a set time, the teacher pops up on the screen for the lecture and they can have the ability to see all their students. When it comes time for group assignments, similar features can be used for students to communicate with each other.
Pros and Cons to Virtual School Programs
No matter what tool is used to enhance a student's learning, there are always pros and cons to them. For example, in traditional education, if the school shuts down then the education ceases. If the student is bullied frequently or is ahead of the class, their education is hampered by circumstances out of their control. The same is for virtual school programs. So, let's cover some pros and cons to virtual learning.
Flexible Schedules: Whether it's the pain of waking your kids up or having to get up earlier yourself to take them to school, virtual school programs remove that burden.
Curriculum Calendars: This is more for the parents who choose to homeschool their kids, many have to create a curriculum calendar to satisfy the state that they're teaching their kids. With virtual school programs, the curriculum has already been created for the kids to follow.
Bullying and Social Pressures: Many students are unfortunately bullied or become so socially awkward that they don't participate in class. Fear of embarrassment or not knowing the answer, trouble with getting picked on, many of these things disappear in a virtual learning environment. They can focus on the lesson at hand.
Disciplined Learning: It's hard enough getting students to focus in a classroom. Now, there are extra distractions because they're learning at home. More diligence is required, especially if the virtual school program isn't on video.
One major plus to going to a school is getting out. Being at home all the time can be very stressful, especially in larger families or when the parents have to go to work.
All parents tell their kids not to sit too close to the tv and everyone knows how too much time staring at the screen is bad for eyesight, well virtual school programs increase that.
Virtual Learning Program Support
Virtual schools aren't limited by the standard curriculum, over the years many extracurricular activities have disappeared and replaced with expensive private lessons or nothing at all. Virtual school programs, on the other hand, can still offer many of these fun learning activities without the hefty price tag.
Here is Academic Entertainment's list of virtual-online learning programs:
Many of them educate on topics students would find in school while others are social lessons, delivered in a fun and engaging way.
Back to the original point regarding classes that aren't offered in as many public schools as once were, Academic Entertainment compiled a list of virtual learning programs for dancing, music, and poetry, among other more familiar programs here:
If you're hesitant on how these programs could work, there is this nifty little link that leads to video demonstrations of these virtual learning events:
You can see how whether the school is open or closed if you're homeschooling or not, how virtual school programs enhance the education your student or child is already getting. You don't have to completely replace conventional education to take advantage of contemporary means of learning.
Go Learning Virtual
Virtual school programs are debated and examined because they're a recent option in education. Sure, many colleges and universities have used this tool for years but, that is because college students are also learning independence. That is another way how virtual schools can better students, it allows them to learn independence. Instead of being constrained by a building, they can learn to do the work necessary out of choice rather than force.
Explore the links laid out, see all the ways virtual learning can better the overall education experience. Many of these programs are also offered in brick and mortar schools, so keep that in mind as well as teachers and administrators.
Need more incentive to go online for learning? Check out this article regarding more pros to virtual school programs
There are many options for students to learn, it is also said no one can stop a kid from learning. They learn from their friends, from their neighbors, from their parents. Perhaps the greatest advantage to virtual school programs is there is more opportunity for kids to learn the right things rather than random things they encounter.