As a teacher recently retired from InterHigh, I would like to disagree with Lisa about the lack of spontaneity. Like all schools, there is a scheme of work, but also like all schools this leaves plenty of room for the incidentals of life. Just because it is an internet school does not preclude anything outside of a fixed plan. There are also plenty of ways for students to join in and for teachers to applaud effort. For some students, not all I agree, for whom attendance at a school is inappropriate, it is an ideal solution. It is supportive of those with particular difficulties and allows those who due to circumstance, cannot attend daily, to have a sound education.
Want to combine the structure of a school curriculum and proper exam grades with the flexibility and freedom of home education? Virtual schools might be exactly what you’re looking for – and they could even be the future of education.
Right now they’re not quite given the same recognition as mainstream schools, but they’ve already taken off in America, and the idea is just starting to take hold in Britain. ‘So much time was wasted in school,’ says Paul Daniell, founder of InterHigh.
‘The children would have to move around from class to class and the first 10 minutes of every lesson would be taken up with the children getting their books and pens out and settling down. You would spend more time maintaining discipline than actually teaching.’
Launched in 2005, InterHigh offers students 10 hours of lessons a week with a qualified teacher; plus homework, lesson libraries and a virtual common room, all for the not-unreasonable price of £2,220 per year. When they graduate, they receive IGCSEs.
Our 13-year-old, Caitlin, is taking 10 IGCSES. InterHigh lets her proceed with her education at her own pace – if she were in mainstream school she would not be starting her GCSEs for another year. Furthermore, the flexibility of online learning means she won’t miss out when we’re touring Europe for two months next year – all she’ll need is a laptop and internet access.
For many parents whose children find attending school difficult whether through illness, special needs, bullying or simply those who require flexibility, the continued growth of online schools could be a world of help.
It is interesting to note that we have never had a pupil that has reported how sociable the school playground was. Indeed, for some children a bricks and mortar school hasnt given them any kind of sociable experience. I totally agree that online education isnt for everyone. The more alternatives that exist though the better the options available. InterHigh School is a real community like any other with all the benfits that belonging to a community can bring. This may be of interest to some http://www.interhigh.co.uk/interhighnewsdetail.asp?id=93
Absolutely NOT! A computer will never replace the spontaneity and incidental instruction that educators provide. A computer can never be a friend that you play ball with at recess. A computer can not clap and dance along to a song with others. Computers do have their place in education, but they will never be to replace our educational communities for online schooling!
Interesting read. Two questions spring to mind - one quite personal (so by all means ignore it!):
What about socialising, peer groups etc.? That would be my main concern with homeschooling/online?
Why did Caitlin/you decide to pace her faster than mainstream education (ie GCSEs a year early)? Do you feel she's also receiving a broader (or narrower) education via online than the national curriculum?
Really curious on this one as currently liking the school my daughter Mia goes to, but simultaneously v wary of schools in general.
Simon, that's not a personal question instead it is the biggest concern and disadvantage of online education. My take on online education is it should be used as an alternative to F2F education. If you can afford and have the access to a brick and mortar school do so by all means. Children would love to go to a real school and the interaction , social values it can teach are unparallaled . But for a large section of society these ar luxuries that they can not afford. For them there is only one option , that is internet education
__I think having the option of on line schooling is great because some children don't get on with learning at a bricks and mortar school
I am learning code academy, I still find being able to talk face to face about coding issues useful, and show someone a page or code if there is a problem with my code, sometimes a 2nd pair of eyes helps.
Sure you can do this using irc / pastebin / e-mail but face to face can be productive in other ways.
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