Over the course of this semester, I have struggled with what my viewpoint is, exactly, on "virtual" education - that is, at what point does technology in the classroom stop adding to the value of education and start being detrimental? This article helped me develop a better grasp on what I feel is "too much" technology in the classroom. Basically, in my opinion, there is "too much" technology in the classroom when there is no longer an actual human being leading the class. We are already as a society letting technology do so much to raise our children and getting away from a considerable amount of human contact. Let's not let it completely educate our children!
The authors do an excellent job outlining the recent movement to online education even at the early levels. It also shows the different types of students and how they perform with so much freedom when it comes to determining when to complete their educational goals. The article states "It's all part of a burst of experimentation in public education, fueled in part by mounting budgetary pressures, by parental dissatisfaction with their kids' schools and by the failure of even top-performing students to keep up with their peers in other industrialized countries. In the nation's largest cities, half of all high-school students will never graduate." I can definitely understand that moving to online schools are easier on state budgets than absorbing the cost for every child to sit in a classroom, but when the article goes on a few paragraphs later to say "A few states, however, have found that students enrolled full-time in virtual schools score significantly lower on standardized tests, and make less academic progress from year to year, than their peers. Critics worry that kids in online classes don't learn how to get along with others or participate in group discussions. Some advocates of full-time cyberschools say that the disappointing results are partly because some of the students had a rough time in traditional schools, and arrive testing below grade level in one or more subjects." I can't help but to wonder if saving the states educational budgets are worth not providing our kids with quality educations! They are, after all, our future! If they fail to learn the curriculum and don't know how to get along with others or participate in group discussions, how are they going to succeed running corporate America one day?
In short, I definitely agree that the drive to reinvent schools is necessary and that technology should play a huge part it in. However, I don't feel that cyberschools are an appropriate solution.