Many students are returning to school in the normal tradition – in brick and mortar buildings. A trend that is booming is supplementing traditional education with ‘distance education’ now referred to as virtual education by many.
According to John Flores, CEO of the nonprofit United States Distance Learning Association, “It’s who’s not doing it. You currently have millions of students in distance learning situations.”
In Collingswood, New Jersey, distance education began in 1996. Then it was a niche. Now everyone is doing it. It’s being accepted by more teachers, parents, students and the world at large.
As recently as 2003, 36% of students were reported to be enrolled in a distance learning program of some type. Currently a fourth of all local districts offer virtual classes. The High School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Philadelphia, Delran High School in Burlington County, New Jersey are two of these schools.
Since online classes offer more enrichment while helping to ease scheduling conflicts, lack of teachers or space, they are a good alternative for many growing school districts. They are particularly useful for homebound students.
Cyberschools are booming. These schools provide the entire education in an online environment. The students do not attend a physical building at all. Some of these schools are run by states while others are charter schools.
Since the world has become so computer conscious, I believe that cyberschools will become more and more utilized. Children are growing up in a telecomputing environment and they will feel ‘right at home’ doing their school work online.