Are Virtual High Schools the Future of Education?
The traditional high school experience does not work for everyone. Every year, thousands of young adults drop out of high school because of difficulty keeping up, peer problems, or home issues. With the emergence of the internet and the majority of Americans having some type of technology in their homes, free online schools have become a great alternative educational option.
Curriculums based on the individual
Free online schools are often preferred because they are catered to the individual student. Many students get overwhelmed in traditional schools because they are not at the current learning level, or have already passed it. When students in a classroom are at different learning levels, it can be difficult to plan a lesson that will benefit everyone in the classroom. With online high school classes, students can learn at their own pace, spending more time on subjects that are difficult for them to understand.
Increased one on one attention
In addition to free online schools being designed to fit the individual needs of the student, students are also able to get more individualized attention. Many high schools have large class sizes and the teacher does not have sufficient time to spend with each student. With free online schools, students can communicate with the teacher and peers, in a one on one setting. This one on one communication opportunity allows each student to get the assistance and tutoring they require.
The ability to receive college credits
Some students may find traditional high school settings to be slow and nonconductive to academic learning. Because teachers are often tasked with creating lesson plans for multiple students, all at different educational levels, advanced students are held back. When a student is advanced upon what a traditional school can offer them, they are simply wasting time. An accredited online high school can also give students the opportunity to receive college credits. These dual credit high school programs give students access to both high school and college level classes. By the time the student has graduated from high school, they are already on their way to a college degree.
Better time management
Traditional schools take up a lot of time during the day. Students spend sometimes up to 10 hours per day at school. Yet, they are not learning for all of these hours. Dual programs are unique in that they allow the student to learn on their own time and then attend school for tests and group work. These dual programs ensure that students get the most out of academic work, but still are exposed to the social side of a school. According to Blackboard K through 12?s 2013 Trends in Online Learning study, 59% of teachers reported that students were more motivated to learn in a blended learning environment.
Opportunity to graduate high school, despite home difficulties
One of the biggest challenges for children in poverty stricken cities is regular attendance at school. When young children are tasked with caring for the household or younger siblings, they may find it difficult, or impossible to attend school regularly. This can affect them from graduating and ultimately, obtaining a higher paying job and getting out of the poverty loop. Virtual high school settings can give these children the opportunity to graduate, despite home difficulties. During the 2013 to 2014 academic year, full time virtual schools enrolled nearly 262,000 students. Approximately 87 blended schools enrolled 26,155 students. The fact that they are free makes it reachable for even more young adults.
Free online schools and the idea of virtual high schools are rapidly growing. During the 2013 to 2014 academic year, 33 states had full time virtual schools and 16 states had blended schools. These online schools offer many advantages to students from traditional high schools. These programs let students learn at their own level, give them the opportunity to graduate in poverty ridden areas, and helps students make the transition into college. As technology and the internet continue to become even more important, entirely online schools are only going to increase in numbers.