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Online K-12 Education Dissected

K-12 technology in the classroom is one thing, but what about classes that are designed to facilitate lessons from home or help students learn anywhere they can get a Wi-Fi connection? K-12 online classes might raise plenty of questions from parents and educators, but one reporter is setting out to debunk the myths that often go along with such institutions.

“At our school, Oregon Connections Academy, the state’s largest tuition-free virtual public charter school for students in grades K-12, we receive inquiries from hundreds of families considering switching their students to online school,” according to Allison Galvin of the Statesman Journal.

Galvin does preface her dissection of K-12 online by saying that it’s not for every student. If there is anything educators and administrators have learned over the years, it is that not all students learn the same way. She also insists that these schools still use resources from public schools, including state-certified teachers.

She takes on five myths: “online school is the same as homeschooling, students spend all of their time in front of a computer, virtual learning is essentially ‘teacher-less,’ online students are isolated and won’t have opportunities to socialize and virtual schools isn’t academically challenging as brick-and-mortar schools.”

She’s already put the myth of teacher-less classes to rest with her earlier assertion that online classes tend to use state-certified teachers to teach the courses. In regards to students spending all of their time in front of a computer, Galvin says that students still use textbooks and in necessary cases, microscopes and interactive curricula.

Galvin debunks the idea of isolation by claiming that students regularly socialize and interact with peers they meet through online courses.

“Just like most kids these days, students who attend virtual schools interact with their friends using text, IM, or talking to each other on the phone,” said Galvin.

“Beyond technology, they also get together to hang out at the park or other places after school hours.”

It’s hard for traditional parents who grew up in a different age of education to come to terms with their children learning from the living room. However, it is another viable option when it comes to K-12 education.

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor

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