I’ll admit it right from the start. I’m not a blogger. In fact, I never really even read blogs before entering this course. The reason being (and I’m putting this bluntly) is that, for the most part, blogs are usually opinionated fact-lacking publications. There I said it.
However, with a little searching for this final blog post, I found that there are a few exceptions in this sea of blogs. In particular, I was looking for a blog that pertained to technology in education, because as a Technology Education instructor, I’m always looking for new ways to implement technology into my courses (hence the reason I’m taking this course). Anyways, I found a great post on an educational blog site that peaked my interest, because it’s an issue that is currently at the forefront within our district – Cyber Schools. The blog is part of the Techlearning blog site, and you can find a this particular blog here.
Our district is currently suffering an exponentially growing rate of dropouts in favor of cyber school. To compound matters worse, our school must foot the bill for each one of these students so that they can have computer, internet access, materials, etc. To further compound the issue, many of these students that make the transition are students doing poorly in regular classroom settings. Once they enter cyber school, they usually only last a few weeks if that. In a nutshell, cyberschool is turning into a last resort option for already failing students.
Our school has been working on the development of an “in-house” alternative, called Vlinc. With this system, students still must meet all requirements outlined by our district, and the courses are administered by district faculty. There are no outside influences on this system. This is a fairly new process, and although students have started to make the transition, there’s still plenty of room for growth. As faculty members, we’re are being asked (if we wish to do so) to help run these new courses. Many teachers are unprepared to enter this new environment, and even I at times feel like I’m not sure I would handle it well. This course, along with sharing concepts and ideas with others in the same situation (i.e. this blog), I feel I can be more prepared to understand this new virtual learning environment.
I feel that we as faculty need to understand the positives and negatives of this new learning environment before we attempt to delve into it head first. This blog really provided me with some insight into what other states/districts are doing with cyber school. I liked this blog (and the whole blog site) because it provides ideas and insight to the issues revolving around technology within the classroom. The sharing of ideas and information is the first step for teachers to get a better understanding on virtual learning, and how it can be beneficial if used properly (which it currently is not within our district). Because in the end, we are much like our students in that we are never done learning.