Most recently I read an article discussing a new school, which is run completely online. I am passionate about online education; however, I am not sold on the idea that full time education for primary and secondary school students is delivered solely online. Blended learning I believe would work. As much as I love the idea of full time education being delivered online for adults and further education students I think it is important for primary and secondary school students to interact with one another. Many children of primary school age already have a smart phone or tablet or at least some access to the Internet and as for secondary school aged children it is almost a rite of passage to be connected online. Children are in danger of not interacting enough physically with one another. If we are not careful we will be in danger of over stimulating our children with technology. I strongly believe that children benefit from going out for walks, learning about nature, playing with other children freely. It is important for social functioning to learn how to interact with each other outside of texting and e-mailing and posting on the various social media platforms.
However there are some circumstances where the entire fulltime online education route could be beneficial. Take Yardleys School in Birmingham. Unfortunately the school most recently suffered from a catastrophic fire, which gutted the entire building during term time. What do you do with 925 pupils that need to continue with their education? You get them to log in to their very own virtual academy online. Read more here: Yardleys School
Now I have to comment that this is where I really admire the concept. The online technology will remain once the school reopens. Born out of necessity rather than choice unlike the virtual school that recently applied for Free School status but unfortunately was turned down. Read more here: Wey Ecademy
The controversy is that Wey Ecademy is based entirely online. The children get to choose when they start learning and all interaction is carried out by online messaging and they don’t get wear a school uniform. What about Sports Education? Sport is an important part of a Childs development and learning providing the ability to learn about teamwork and the importance of exercise, which are essentially great life skills especially as the UK has a high rate of unhealthy children.
However structured online learning can be useful for some students, those that have been excluded, sick, school refusers and home educated etc but perhaps not daily instruction there needs to be some form of human interaction. School provides friendships, learning how to interact with other people and supervision.
I am on the fence with this one and as an advocate for learning online I think the concept is more suited to adult learners.