Wednesday, March 16, 2016
I have been in virtual education for nine years. I have been both a virtual teacher and a virtual student. Virtual education is the “new” platform in education. It is being touted as a great alternative to the brick and mortar programs. And for some, it can be, but only if they have one key skill - organization.
In order to be successful in a virtual program, students need to be organized. Most middle school students are not capable to organize their time and space. Students need a schedule that the family can adhere to and mostly respect. Time needs to be designated for lessons, study, project, and breaks. Students need a space to call their own that is designated for learning that is not in a bedroom or a dining room table.
As a homeroom teacher for a virtual educational program, I on-board new students to our program very frequently. My first few questions I ask a new family are about their organization for both time and space. If a family has figured out a schedule for the student and a space for the student to work, then most of the time, the student will thrive in the virtual environment. These parents understand how education will be their primary focus for their student, and they have organized their time and space for this education. They have taken into consideration the importance of a schedule that includes breaks as well as work time.
However, when I hear from a new family that no time or space had been discussed or that the student will be doing it on his/her own, then the student is most likely doomed. Most of these parents lack the understanding of how much time they need to invest into organization because they have always relied on the brick and mortar programs to organize time and space. These parents never had to arrange a learning space or schedule in a lunch time. These parents don’t understand that virtual education is not an extended homework time. Virtual education is a replacement for the brick and mortar education. These parents need a lot of help with organization of time and space. Unfortunately, very few are able to commit to such a daunting task due to a variety of reasons.
In order to be successful in a virtual educational environment, the parent and the student need to be able to organize their time in such a way that there is adequate time for school and for other activities. The parent and the student need to be able to organize space, so that the student has a place of his/her own for supervised work. With a little work in organization, most people can be very successful in a virtual educational environment.
Auman, Maureen E. Step up to Writing. Longmont, CO: Sopris West, 2003. Print.