Many colleges have begun offering online courses, but with each passing year, more and more K-12 students are making the change from traditional schooling to virtual schools. Some students and schools are utilizing part-time online schooling programs, where students are in a classroom, face-to-face with a teacher at times, and other times they are working on a computer to complete assignments and interact with their peers. But as we embark into a new decade, experts everywhere believe that virtual schools are our future, and that belief is strongly held for many reasons. The advantages that virtual schools offer are significant, and traditional schools simply cannot compete. Here are the main reasons that we believe virtual schools are the future of education in the US.
More Versatile Course Offerings
Running an online school is significantly less expensive than running a traditional school, meaning that more funding can go towards quality educators and more course offerings. Since online schools don’t need the physical space to host unique classes, they have more versatility and fewer restrictions on what types of classes they can offer. At the same time, students can take just about any class they want online, as long as they can find a school that offers it. They will no longer be limited to the courses offered at their local public school or a nearby private school.
Students of today are far more comfortable with technology than students who graduated even just a few years ago, so they are far less intimidated by learning new devices or working on a new platform. At the same time, technology is constantly advancing, both in terms of physical devices and software programs, and students are great at embracing these advancements and figuring them out quickly. With more and more advancements in our future, virtual schools will have even more opportunities to connect with students and provide them with excellent educations.
Focus on Collaboration
Go into just about any workplace and you’ll see a focus on teamwork and collaboration. Traditional schools are not great about integrating these things into curriculum programs or daily lessons, but online schools are. They focus a great deal on collaboration and getting students to connect with one another, even though they may never even meet face to face. Virtual schools focus on preparing students for the real world and for life beyond school, and they view collaboration as an absolute must for any class.
Nowadays, students seem to communicate constantly, but much of that communication is on their devices and is often not in proper form or even complete sentences. As the world shifts to a more tech-focused place, written communication skills are becoming increasingly important, and virtual schools address that head-on. Students must write to their classmates and instructors with proper sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation, meaning they will improve their written communication skills significantly.
Increased Digital Literacy
With technology at their fingertips, the youth of today are often irresponsible or unhealthy with their use of technology. Virtual schools understand that and acknowledge it, but they also seek to address it in a positive and constructive way. Online schools teach students about healthy and responsible use of technology, including social media, online resources, and more. Digital literacy is incredibly important and it must be addressed and dealt with appropriately and respectfully, and virtual schools are at the forefront of doing exactly that.
More Individualized Approaches
Many people are under the assumption that virtual learners get less one-on-one time with instructors, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, students at online schools probably get more one-on-one time with their teachers because they can access them more easily and don’t really have another option but to ask their teachers for help when they need it. Because of this, teachers know their students well and can take a more individualized approach when teaching certain concepts. They can also pinpoint learning styles very well and can instruct students accordingly, making the most of teacher-student interactions and helping students grow, learn, and develop faster than students in traditional schools.
Perhaps the most significant reason that virtual schools are the future is their real-world applications. Online students learn real-life skills that they’ll need to succeed in a career, and they are able to apply their knowledge of concepts to real-world situations and problems. They foster problem-solving and critical thinking far better than traditional schools, and they allow students a realistic glimpse into specific trades, career fields, and industries, offering them a leg up on other job applications with different educational backgrounds.