Charter schools have been important players in the U.S. education system for years, and technology may be putting a new spin on this type of institution, according to The Times Herald of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The classroom computer may be the actual classroom now, as there are cyber charter schools being set up outside of the actual school buildings by the Spring-Ford Area School District, Phoenixville Area School District, Boyertown Area School District and Pottstown School District, according to the news source.
Boyertown Superintendent Dion Betts said there were two motivations for moving to a new system such as this: Recouping money lost when students go to other programs, and providing a better cyber program than other current cyber schools use. He said many charter school students across the state of Pennsylvania do not meet the mandated Adequate Yearly Progress standards, and he said, “We believe we can do much better for these students and provide a much better program.”
The assistant superintendent for the district told the Times Herald that many parents are seeing that cyber education may be the best financial and academic option for many students. Jamie Barringer, creative service consultant with the Virtual Learning Network, a company that helps expand online academies, told the news source that his company started in 2003 and works with 650 students and 11 full-time teachers. He said programs usually start out small and with some apprehension, but end up expanding beyond what many thought they would be.
“There’s a greater comfort level and there is word of mouth,” Barringer said of the system after classes start up.
ELN Insights said there are many advantages to mobile learning, including convenience and flexibility, relevance to the students and giving students a greater level of control over their environment. The website said this type of virtual classroom also fits with many different learning styles, giving students multiple different formats they can learn from, such as sound, video, pictures and more.
Other benefits of a virtual learning network include speedier fixes of mistakes, easily digestible learning for students who are already used to this format, heightened engagement of students and a means to introduce subjects and information to students who may not otherwise grasp the concepts.
Is this a learning experience that would interest you or would be good for your children, or do you think a more traditional approach is best? Do children need technology to learn these days? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.