May 5, 2018
What is a Full-Time Online School?
The structure of a school has changed over time. First, there were one room school houses, where the youngest students sat in the front row, and the oldest sat in the back- and they all had the same teacher. Then, as populations increased, the number of students attending school increased, and the number of school buildings increased. Now there are multiple schools for multiple districts all over the United States, and more importantly, the world. Along with the brick-and-mortar schools that are still standing, there are also Full-Time Online Schools. But, what is a full-time online school?
Full-time online schools are exactly what they sound like: schools where students do all of their learning online, from the comfort of their own home, or wherever they are. With online schools, all instruction and interaction is completely electronic; students are not required to go to a building for 7 hours a day. Many online schools are available for grades K-12, with all the core subjects as well as electives available.
Full-Time Online Schools have grown in popularity in recent years, because they have a lot to offer. Online schools offer all kinds of personalized learning. With online schools, students have the opportunity to take any type of course they want, all the way from honors and advanced placement to remedial and summer school classes. Each program is specifically suited to the individual learner’s needs. Online schools allow students to learn from anywhere. Many times when people hear about online learning, they just picture a student sitting in his house all day on the computer. But, online schools allow students to learn from anywhere in the world, as long as they have an internet connection. This is a great opportunity for parents who travel for work; it allows them to take their children with them, keeping the family together, traveling the world and making sure their children are getting a solid education. The accessibility of online school is limitless.
One main setback with online schools is the social interaction. Social interaction is a key component of a child’s educational experience, especially during the primary years. If younger students are not experiencing those interactions because they are attending an online school, they are missing out on those interactions that help them develop problem-solving and communication skills. Technology has been said to desensitize people’s ability to interact with each other, and the same can be said for online schools. Online Schools also require students to have a lot of time-management skills. With online schools, there is a lot of self-directed work, meaning students have to watch the lectures and complete the assignments on their own time. At any age, strong time-management skills are hard to obtain. It does not matter where you are- whether you are in your house or traveling the world- people can become easily distracted, especially in the comfort of their own home. This distraction and lack of time management can cause procrastination, which can ultimately make more work for a student than if she were attending class every day.
Full time online schools are a nice innovation, that has allowed education to adapt with the times of the world students live in. While there are benefits to online learning, there are also concerns that still need to be address. When considering the future of education in terms of online schools, one also has to consider the role of the educator, because that also changes. Online schools do not just change the environment, but also the types of jobs that are needed to run the school. Like many other areas of technology and education, I believe that online schools should be taken at a case-by-case basis. For some students, online schools are the solution; but that does not mean they are the solution for all students. And truthfully, in 10 years or so, I guarantee that full time online schools will be the, “old school” way of learning and there will be new method that has students, parents and teachers alike taking a hard look at the relationship between education and technology.