It is Monday morning. John, a high school junior, gets out of his bed at nine in the morning and nonchalantly walks to his computer. John then logs into the computer on and plugs his headset onto his ears and watches a video stream from a website. John then takes a question from his webpage and types the question into Google to search for more information. John here is participating in distance learning. A relatively new method of education that utilizes the advantages and accessibility of internet with education. Here, John can have access to classes not offered elsewhere in his area as well as even complete high school on his own pace and without constraint.
Distance learning is a system where a student can participate in class. When there is no physical presence between the teacher and the pupil regardless of location or time. Since distance learning with internet is relatively new phenomenon. And not as much explored as other traditional classroom settings. It sparked some controversy over its effectively among the students. While distance learning has its strengths, it also has weakness over the traditional classroom.
Distance learning, while flexible, does have its own fallacies. People against students attending high school online would claim. That distance learning prevents much interactivity between the pupil and the teacher. Online schooling lacks personal and physical interaction between. The teacher and the students where there exists "considerable lack of dialogue in telecourses. When compared to face-to-face classes" (Sherry). The real-time interactivity is an important factor in education. With a study contrasting between the effect of education with video. With audio and real-time education showing.
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That while people educated in video only managed about "20 percent retention rate" (Sherry), people who were educated with real life interaction had "about 75 percent" (Sherry) retention rate, an astronomical difference between such methods. Those against distance learning would have a fair claim. That without a specific connector and a motivator in form of a teacher the student would not feel connected and that student would become "autonomous and isolated, procrastinates, and eventually drops out" (Sherry). A study following the relationship between procrastination and online learning supports such claim, which shows that "[normal] class had a mean procrastination measure of7.24 (SD = 7.38), and the online class had a mean of 6.30 (SD = 4.61)" (Elvers, 160). Statistically, the standard deviation of online class in procrastination was much smaller than those of normal class, showing more sign of such activity in online classes.
However with the disadvantages of distance learning, there are many positive effects of distance learning as well. There is a location advantages which allows students to access a class regardless of which location they are situated in as long as there is internet access. With this, students are able to excess classes that are not available at their school and allow students to take courses that are not offered in their current school.
This also allows opportunity for teachers with insufficient students to have enough students to have a class, with such case happening with school district in Westbrook, which had to cut its Chinese language program due to "only 10 interested students" but "was able to offer Chinese online through the Virtual High School Global Consortium" (Gabriel). It is also very affordable for the school to support online schooling program, with Memphis high school in particular, spends "only $164 for each student in an online course" (Gabriel), whereas public schools spend on average, $10,615 per year for each students to attend the school. It allows school to spend its budget elsewhere while saving tremendous amount of money on each individual students.
Online schools also have resulted better performances when compared to their kinds in public schools as well. In the 2009 study conducted by United States Department of Education on Chinese taking English classes, the study found that the students "reported higher levels of motivation to learn English than students in the comparison schools" (Green, 10).
The study also reported that higher percentage of students educated in online school responded that their motivation to learn English improved more than those who were educated in normal schools, with 51 percent of student responding positively in online course compared to 40 percent of students in normal schools. Online schools also have a better graduation rate, with online high school graduation rate being "86 percent" (Gabriel) of its student while national graduation is at 72 percent. This also offers alternative ways for students struggling to earn credit at their local high school another chance in the online class system.
Internet allows and offers wide communication between great distances also an access to wide variety of information. This technology should be taken advantage of and incorporated into the education system for the best benefit. While distance learning has its disadvantages, it also has great advantages as well.
Online schooling offers a wide variety of courses that may otherwise been unavailable at a student's school and also offer alternative ways for students to learn. However, online education does have its drawbacks such as lack of real interactivity between the student and the teacher. While online schooling does have its merits, I believe that limited online schooling while attending high school physically would be the best solution for this type of situation as it presents some type of flexibility as well as interaction between the pupil and the mentor.
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