Educational Editorial: Online learning

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Online learning is to the 21st century what chalk and boards must have been to the 19th century. In 2006-2007 more than 12 million students enrolled in 11,000 online classes for college credit.

The Virginia Virtual Advanced Placement School is a vivid example of high school use, and the Governor has discussed the potential of moving to elementary schools.

When I first developed and taught online courses for VCU, I feared that it would be impersonal and inhibit the development of relationships with students. Of course I probably was historically a "stand and deliver" instructor who asked questions but frequently answered them while the students were still thinking.

In reality I had more responses from students the first week than I normally had in several sessions of traditional classes. They emailed me and their colleagues, they used "instance messages," chat rooms and texting. The course was alive with interaction and learning.

Well, our four granddaughters are between the ages of 7 months and 4 years. The oldest one lives in Atlanta and visits "online" with Pop and Gammah. She calls and says let Skype, and we go to the computer and with a free internet call play games, laugh, sing, tell stories and virtually hug. The younger ones watch Dora and learn in multiple languages with questions, clues, and online direction.

Schools typically create five and six year plans but in reality, when that four year old starts kindergarten next year, she will be in the graduating class of 2023. Some body needs to have at least a thirteen year plan and virtual education must be a critical component.

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