The traditional model of schooling relies on education delivered to students by teachers in brick-and-mortar buildings. The physical presence of the students and instructors is the very essence of this type of education system. However, in recent years, a different mode of schooling has emerged, which relies on online mediums for educating children. Just like most of the world and its systems have gone online, so has schooling. Today, alongside schools, colleges, and institutes that deliver education traditionally, we have online schools, colleges, and courses.
Students or parents no longer have to rely on public or private schools in their vicinity for getting access to quality education. If they run into some problem with the school administration, they do not have to change where they live to go to a new school. Rather, virtual schools have opened countless paths to education within every home and made education more accessible. Due to varying reasons, students are choosing to have online classes during their high school years. Around 199 815 students are enrolled in online schools across the US.
You may be wondering whether you should opt for this option or not. Well, here is all you need to know about virtual schools before you enroll your child in one.
What Are Virtual Schools?
As discussed above, virtual schools are schools that use the internet to connect teachers and students. They only require that the teacher and the students have access to a stable internet connection, a laptop, and a working desk. Through virtual schools, it becomes possible to get access to education in the comfort of your home. Virtual schools resemble traditional schools in the sense that teachers still follow course outlines. There is a syllabus to cover in a given timeframe, and students are required to do their readings, projects, assignments, and take quizzes and exams. Sometimes, exams can be taken from home, and at other times, test centers may be arranged.
Children getting virtual education sometimes connect to their classrooms through online meeting apps such as Zoom, Google Meet, Webex, etc. Apart from real-time classes, students also get access to pre-recorded lectures and recordings, which they can listen to at their ease. They can also download/listen to lectures and recordings. Overall, virtual schools are a way of providing ease and accessibility in the educational system.
What Does a Child Need to Attend Virtual School?
To ensure the best experience for high school children, parents should equip them with a few tech tools for attending their virtual classes. These technologies include printers, personal computers or laptops, keyboards, and most importantly, a good internet connection. Therefore, every parent who plans to enroll their children in an online school for their high school year must ensure that their children have the items mentioned above.
Before you can head out to purchase these tools for your child, we must first look at the pros and cons of virtual schooling.
Pros and Cons of Virtual Schooling for High School Children
Many critics have spoken about the positive and negative aspects of online schools for high school students. These debates greatly help parents to make the best decision. So, without wasting more time, let us dive straight into them.
Advantages of Virtual Schooling
No Fixed Schedule
One of the best advantages of attending a virtual school is that students do not need to study at fixed hours like in a traditional school. Virtual schools provide a lot of flexibility in study hours, which can be very beneficial for teenagers who struggle to manage their jobs and education at the same time
Further, online education enables students to study at their own pace. In traditional schools, teachers set the pace for classroom lectures, which the whole class has to follow. However, online courses allow students to progress at whatever speed they are comfortable with. A student may cover a course they are particularly interested in within two months, while another student may take four months to cover the same course.
A Safe Environment
Some students face adjustment issues at public schools and can get bullied by other students. Others are not able to make friends and so always feel uncomfortable in a traditional classroom. With virtual schools, students can focus on learning without having to worry about any other factor. Free from the curse of bullying and feeling alienated, their confidence increases, and their personality develops more fully.
Students who do not have strong immune systems are vulnerable to getting sick easily at public schools. Attending a virtual school instead of a regular one will lower the risks of children contracting deadly viruses and diseases. Also, through this mode of education, special needs students can get a quality education while still receiving the care and aids they need right at home.
Disadvantages of Virtual Schooling
Students Need to be Self-Motivated
Online education requires students to be driven and motivated to meet their study goals every day. If students lack motivation or the ability to work independently, their work will pile up until it becomes overwhelming and impossible to complete before the due date. Teachers cannot monitor every student’s daily progress online, which mandates students take up responsibility and get their work done on time.
Can Hamper Social Development
Online schools limit students’ interaction with other children of their age. They are socially distanced from others and do not meet new people regularly. This can lead to many problems. For example, if a child is relying on e-learning, he might not learn how to share his opinions in front of others. He can lack self-confidence and the ability to mix with different groups.
However, all of this can be avoided if the parents offer their children alternative ways of socialization. Taking part in community work, signing up for sports classes and literary circles in the neighborhood are some ways for students to socialize with their age fellows.
Education May Not be at Par with Traditional Schools
Virtual schools are all over the spectrum when it comes to the quality of education they deliver. While some reputed universities have introduced online courses that are expensive but beneficial, some public high schools can deliver very low-quality education. Since students find it hard to stay motivated in online learning, and teachers have a slight disconnect with them, education standards can fall.
Virtual Education and the Pandemic
The health and safety of children is the foremost priority of both parents and educators. The coronavirus pandemic has affected people across the globe, with many losing their lives to it. In light of the alarming situation posed by COVID-19, most schools and colleges have shifted online. Since this transition to online schooling has taken place abruptly and responds to an emergency situation, it has some drawbacks. Still, it is the safer and preferred mode of education for students until a vaccine is invented and distributed.
Studying and working online during the pandemic has made everyone aware of the benefits of online education and work. Post-pandemic, online schooling, and working will still retain their popularity.
Wrapping It All Up
The internet has made it possible to pursue learning and education through online mediums. People who prefer structured learning under a school but require flexibility in their schedules can study in virtual schools from their homes. Virtual schools make it possible for anyone to learn from an instructor and follow course outlines, yet do it at their own time and place. In the wake of the coronavirus, online schooling has gained popularity, and it may continue to be popular even after the world returns to normal.