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Thread: Should Public Schooling Go Online?

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    Should Public Schooling Go Online?

    Public education is, no doubt, an essential investment. However, with it taking up more than a quarter of most state budgets, are we getting the most bang for our tax bucks? With the popularity of online colleges growing, I wonder how much can be saved and redistributed to other programs/returned to taxpayers if online options were offered to gifted students and students with no significant disabilities? Cutting down on class size and building size for future schools could not only have an impact budget-wise, but it could cut down on bullying, school violence, peer pressure, and just the overall stress of school in general (honestly, who fondly remembers middle school or high school?) Some may argue online options would hurt a student's social skills. I don't know if I really agree with that. Students can acquire more social skills through extracurricular activities, family members, and friends in their neighborhood. A lot of the socialization in middle school/high school can be extremely negative which leads to fights, threats, harrassment, cyberstalking, and school shootings. I haven't dived real deep into any numbers, but there doesn't seem to be much on the internet about this idea.
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    Re: Should Public Schooling Go Online?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoist View Post
    Public education is, no doubt, an essential investment. However, with it taking up more than a quarter of most state budgets, are we getting the most bang for our tax bucks? With the popularity of online colleges growing, I wonder how much can be saved and redistributed to other programs/returned to taxpayers if online options were offered to gifted students and students with no significant disabilities? Cutting down on class size and building size for future schools could not only have an impact budget-wise, but it could cut down on bullying, school violence, peer pressure, and just the overall stress of school in general (honestly, who fondly remembers middle school or high school?) Some may argue online options would hurt a student's social skills. I don't know if I really agree with that. Students can acquire more social skills through extracurricular activities, family members, and friends in their neighborhood. A lot of the socialization in middle school/high school can be extremely negative which leads to fights, threats, harrassment, cyberstalking, and school shootings. I haven't dived real deep into any numbers, but there doesn't seem to be much on the internet about this idea.
    Public schooling is in part online already. But should it go fully online, thus replacing brick and mortar schools with remote and virtual ones? - No.

    One of the key roles of schools is still the socialisation of students through guided group interaction. That would be partially inhibited by remote schooling through virtual online classroom. Much of the learning which goes on in school comes from the real-world, face to face interactions of students with each other and students with teachers or other staff, both in the classroom and in less structured time before, during and after school hours.

    Bullying, school violence (in its most mild forms), social cliques, peer pressure, excessive competition and stress are all important, albeit undesirable, experiences which give students opportunities to learn and develop skills or strategies which they can use in later life to manage similar challenges in their adulthood. Brick and mortar schools are ideal places to learn conflict-management skills and peer-mediation strategies as well as leadership and cooperative skills. Teamwork, competition and cooperation in classes, clubs, physical education programmes, sports programmes and other extracurricular activities are important facets of learning and socialising which would be degraded or negated in a purely remote and virtual school experience.

    Supervision would also be a problem, as a kid at home can simply log off or walk away from the virtual school and raise hell in the few hours it would take for working parents to be notified and return home in order to re-establish supervision. Minors must be supervised with adult supervision or we shall have a latch-key civilisation.

    Poorer kids depend on brick and mortar schools for one or two nutritious meals a day. Schools are a refuge from abusive guardians, parents or siblings. Schools often provide hands-on medical and counselling programmes which can monitor and warn families of health problems. Brick and mortar schools can be places of study and tranquility for students whose homes are too crowded or busy for proper study and thought.

    Brick and mortar schools can be valuable and important force-multipliers for mobilising large numbers of students in one place into public services like raising money for charities through fund-raising activities to cleaning up and improving neighbourhoods through collective actions like litter pick-ups or community gardening and food-growing programmes.

    Physical schools are too important to abandon entirely but online education and self-directed study should be an important supplement to brick and mortar education. Technology should support education and learning but it should not supplant brick and mortar schools.

    Cheers.
    Evilroddy.

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    Re: Should Public Schooling Go Online?

    what do children receive in brick and mortar schools that they could not achieve online?
    i suspect the future will be a melding of the two approaches
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    Re: Should Public Schooling Go Online?

    Quote Originally Posted by justabubba View Post
    what do children receive in brick and mortar schools that they could not achieve online?
    i suspect the future will be a melding of the two approaches
    Socialization?
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    Re: Should Public Schooling Go Online?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grand Mal View Post
    Socialization?
    Something that can be acquired through youth groups, extracurriculars, neighborhoods, etc. There is a lot of negative aspects of socialization in schools that we see a lot less of in these other environments. At least, that has been my experience, both as a student and as a teacher.
    "Men did not make the earth ... it is the value of the improvement only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property... Every proprietor owes to the community a ground rent for the land which he holds." -- Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice
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    Re: Should Public Schooling Go Online?

    Quote Originally Posted by Evilroddy View Post
    Public schooling is in part online already. But should it go fully online, thus replacing brick and mortar schools with remote and virtual ones? - No.

    One of the key roles of schools is still the socialisation of students through guided group interaction. That would be partially inhibited by remote schooling through virtual online classroom. Much of the learning which goes on in school comes from the real-world, face to face interactions of students with each other and students with teachers or other staff, both in the classroom and in less structured time before, during and after school hours.
    I wouldn't argue that it would be 100% win to transfer to online schooling. I don't think social interactions in public schools are all bad. I just wonder if the good really outweighs the bad. I go back to that question: How many of us can truly say we enjoyed middle school and high school? How much of that social interaction can be made up in other youth activities?

    Bullying, school violence (in its most mild forms), social cliques, peer pressure, excessive competition and stress are all important, albeit undesirable, experiences which give students opportunities to learn and develop skills or strategies which they can use in later life to manage similar challenges in their adulthood.
    If bullying is essential for one's growth then why do we work to stop/limit bullying?

    Teamwork, competition and cooperation in classes, clubs, physical education programmes, sports programmes and other extracurricular activities are important facets of learning and socialising which would be degraded or negated in a purely remote and virtual school experience.
    Extracurriculars are important and I did mention them in the op so obviously I don't believe in getting rid of those.

    Supervision would also be a problem, as a kid at home can simply log off or walk away from the virtual school and raise hell in the few hours it would take for working parents to be notified and return home in order to re-establish supervision. Minors must be supervised with adult supervision or we shall have a latch-key civilisation.
    How many middle school and high school students get babysitters at their ages? I was often hired by moms in my neighborhood to babysit when I was in 8th grade.

    Poorer kids depend on brick and mortar schools for one or two nutritious meals a day. Schools are a refuge from abusive guardians, parents or siblings.
    I probably didn't make it clear enough, but this proposal is more of an optional alternative, mainly directed at first towards gifted students (not saying poor kids can't be gifted, but it is much rarer). Yes, I agree school is a refuge for many kids living in bad environments. I still believe there should be a brick and mortar option for any student who prefers it. And with several students (who are more independent) opting for online option, students with disabilities and fewer at-home resources would get more one-on-one attention in a traditional school environment.


    Physical schools are too important to abandon entirely but online education and self-directed study should be an important supplement to brick and mortar education. Technology should support education and learning but it should not supplant brick and mortar schools.

    Cheers.
    Evilroddy.
    Imo, so long as there are students with disabilities there will be a place for brick and mortar schools. I think, at first, offering online schooling to gifted students is a way to test the waters and weigh the good and the bad. If it is successful then it could be offered to other students.
    "Men did not make the earth ... it is the value of the improvement only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property... Every proprietor owes to the community a ground rent for the land which he holds." -- Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice
    http://www.wealthandwant.com/

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    Re: Should Public Schooling Go Online?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoist View Post
    Public education is, no doubt, an essential investment. However, with it taking up more than a quarter of most state budgets, are we getting the most bang for our tax bucks? With the popularity of online colleges growing, I wonder how much can be saved and redistributed to other programs/returned to taxpayers if online options were offered to gifted students and students with no significant disabilities? Cutting down on class size and building size for future schools could not only have an impact budget-wise, but it could cut down on bullying, school violence, peer pressure, and just the overall stress of school in general (honestly, who fondly remembers middle school or high school?) Some may argue online options would hurt a student's social skills. I don't know if I really agree with that. Students can acquire more social skills through extracurricular activities, family members, and friends in their neighborhood. A lot of the socialization in middle school/high school can be extremely negative which leads to fights, threats, harrassment, cyberstalking, and school shootings. I haven't dived real deep into any numbers, but there doesn't seem to be much on the internet about this idea.
    It's been online for at least 5 years bud.
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    Re: Should Public Schooling Go Online?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Jr View Post
    It's been online for at least 5 years bud.
    Have you read anything I've written? I am talking about giving some high school students the option to do their schooling from home (or wherever) through the internet. That is not currently an option, at least anywhere in the US that I know of.
    "Men did not make the earth ... it is the value of the improvement only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property... Every proprietor owes to the community a ground rent for the land which he holds." -- Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice
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    Re: Should Public Schooling Go Online?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoist View Post
    Have you read anything I've written? I am talking about giving some high school students the option to do their schooling from home (or wherever) through the internet. That is not currently an option, at least anywhere in the US that I know of.
    That is exactly what I said has been in existence for at least 5 years. Go to your local high school and ask about their homeschool program. It's all online. There's a website to do the course material and a separate secure website to take tests.
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    Re: Should Public Schooling Go Online?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoist View Post
    Public education is, no doubt, an essential investment. However, with it taking up more than a quarter of most state budgets, are we getting the most bang for our tax bucks? With the popularity of online colleges growing, I wonder how much can be saved and redistributed to other programs/returned to taxpayers if online options were offered to gifted students and students with no significant disabilities? Cutting down on class size and building size for future schools could not only have an impact budget-wise, but it could cut down on bullying, school violence, peer pressure, and just the overall stress of school in general (honestly, who fondly remembers middle school or high school?) Some may argue online options would hurt a student's social skills. I don't know if I really agree with that. Students can acquire more social skills through extracurricular activities, family members, and friends in their neighborhood. A lot of the socialization in middle school/high school can be extremely negative which leads to fights, threats, harrassment, cyberstalking, and school shootings. I haven't dived real deep into any numbers, but there doesn't seem to be much on the internet about this idea.
    I'm not sure this would fly with working families where mom and pop both have jobs?
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