Monday, August 13, 2012

Online Education K-12

I was born in the 80's. I remember doing research papers, researching information in the encyclopedias, and had to read books on the assigned topics. I remember the joy when I discovered the blue and white books called cliff notes. It cut down my reading time in the boring books I had to read for class.

Then when I was in high school in the mid 90's, I was introduced to the internet. Life was just made easier. I even had a computer in my home. Most middle class families had a least one. It cut down time writing reports and using my electronic typewriter that I had since I was little. I typed reports on my computer and printed them out at home. That was the beginning of easy A's because of the grammar and spelling check.

Then we I was in college, I was barely in my college library. I was on my computer getting information. Everything was at the tip on my fingers. Almost everything had a website. I even had "interesting" conversations online with other people and emailed my professors questions concerning an assignment or two.
But no one saw it coming. No one saw how fast our world was about to change just with a single tap of a finger. After graduating from college in 2002, in 2005 I took my first online class for Grad School. It began to spread like wild fire.
College on the internet!
There's now no excuse of not getting a degree or taking extra classes to enhance your learning. You're able to form classes around your personal schedule. Libraries, encyclopedias, typewriters and cliff notes are the thing of the past. We don't have to leave our home to go to school. Everything is online. Now everyone has a computer or two and a laptop in their home regardless of  their social class. Now since everyone have access to the great creation and is able to get a college degree and proceed on with a higher degree, the cyber world is now going the next step forward.

Online Education for K-12
There is now online education for kindergarten to seniors in high school. YUP! You read correctly. In my state of New Jersey, there are already two online schools ready for service. New Jersey Virtual Academy Charter School is a full time online public school. It is free tuition because it is a public school system. It's available statewide. All teachers are certified and students who live in Newark are able to have face-to-face instruction.
There's another school called Newark Prep Charter School for grades 9-12 which is also a full time online public school with free tuition. This school is only for students who resides in Newark. Just like New Jersey Virtual Academy Charter School all teachers are certified and are able to have face-to-face instruction.
Brooklawn School District in New Jersey also offers full time online public school education. This online school is only for Kindergarten to fifth grade.
And George Washington University Online High School is a private online education for high school students of course.
Okay, so how exactly does this work? Do our kids sit in front of a computer all day? How can they have a healthy social life? How do the teachers know if it's the student doing the work and not the parent? Is this one way to keep the kids safe from bullies in school? Will this teach them responsibility and time management skills?
There are so many questions that come to mind.
Here's what I found out so far:

  • Students actually participate in academic and social outings. There are planned school trips and clubs. they encourage students and parents to take part of it. These academic and social outings are at the school that is signed up for the Online education.
  • 30% of  K-8 lessons are taught online. The percentage is actually higher for high school students. High school students have more research. There are printed handouts and textbooks that is also included with all the classes.
  • They would spend four to six hours on school work each day depending on the grade level. If the teacher have to contact the parent they'll do so by email or phone. Parents are also able to meet the teachers.
  • Students are still required to take standardized tests mandated by the state.
Some schools will begin their K-12 online education in the fall of 2012. Most of the others will begin in the fall of 2013. They're still being developed and enhanced so it can perform to its highest potential. Online education has worked tremendously with college education. K-12 shouldn't have a problem but I don't think it's for every student. Sure, it would give parents peace of mind knowing that their child is safer at home but then their social life will suffer traumatically. Kids don't have to worry about being bullied but how will they learn how to stand up for themselves and address certain situations. Kids will probably feel less pressure and learn more computer skills. But what if they get side tracked and become distracted with television, video games, social media and prohibited websites. There's pros and cons to everything but as online K-12 enhances and develop even more, I'm sure they'll work out all the kinks.

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