Monday, May 10, 2010
Virtual schools soon reality in Mass.
The Boston Globe published an article on May 5th about virtual schooling. While Massachusetts has lagged behind other states in the adoption of virtual schools, the reporter seems to forget that Massachusetts is host to the Virtual High School, arguably the country's first virtual education program. The Globe has printed a number of articles on the Virtual High School going back to the mid-1990s.
Florida Virtual School, now one of the nation's largest programs, has been educating students in Florida and internationally for as long and is considered the nation's first state-wide program. So, the concept isn't new, though it's hard to tell from the article, and the comments. (If you read the article, be sure to look at the comments too.)
The proposed National Technology Plan supports virtual schooling. There's interesting research on the strengths of online learning as compared to traditional learning. It's too bad the reporter didn't pursue any of that information. That would have been interesting contrast to the quote by the State's Chief State School Officer: “...Learning at its heart is a social endeavor. . . . I think for most students face-to-face instruction is the medium that gives them most benefit.’’
It's unfortunate the Massachusetts Chief doesn't understand that good online education is a social endeavor, and there's research to show that online can be as good or better than traditional face-to-face instruction.