Virtual Reality

Originally published on The Quick and the Ed.

Every day, internet users send over 170 billion emails.  For comparison, the U.S. Postal Service delivers 213 billion pieces of mail — in a year.  Could a similar transformation take place in education?  A year ago, 700,000 public school students took online classes, enough to form the third largest school district in the country.  Most did it to supplement traditional “brick-and-mortar” schooling.  To get a better idea what it’s all about, test drive some sample lessons

Bill Tucker explores a myriad of issues related to virtual schools in a new Education Sector report, highlighting their innovations in personalized learning, teacher quality and support, and funding.  He makes a number of interesting points.  For example, virtual schools are recruiting retirees and stay-at-home parents who wouldn’t otherwise be teaching at all.  The report makes reccomendations about how to best foster virtual schools and virtual innovation.

From a teacher’s perspective, I see tremendous potential for engaging students, especially as these programs get bigger and better.  My students love computer games, myspace, and text messages.  I wonder if virtual schools can leverage those interests into meaningful learning opportunities.


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