Schooling of the future?

Is online high schooling about to become the norm for the future?

Talking about education over the weekend – what a boring topic; you really ought to get a life, miss – we came to the conclusion that high schools as we know them today are on the way out.

Or are they?

One of the Bible colleges that had a campus in Perth, Australia, now has 98% of all its students studying online. Students can hold permanent either full- or part-time positions and study while earning their living. At the tertiary level this makes so much sense, especially in subject areas such as economics, psychology, arts and so on where there really is no hands-on learning necessary.

But what about high school?

I teach at an online high school where we see students excel without the social interaction considered so important over the last 150 years or so. These are diligent, independent learners who pace themselves well and live full lives with an extra-curricular focus on dancing, equestrian activities, swimming and even writing – whatever they love doing.

Online learning has afforded these young people the opportunity to study at a certain level despite illnesses and age differences. Some avoid the anxiety associated with previous experiences of bullying and peer pressure; others just “don’t like school”.

However, for many the lack of constant accountability leads to laziness and an inward spiralling mindset. We have found that it is essential that they have a parent as motivator and general checker-upper to keep them on track with their studies, to help them to “reach their potential”, especially in middle school.

So, is online high schooling about to become the norm for the future?

From a teacher’s perspective, there are some subject areas that require more intensive interaction with students. Think of science experiments, for example. For others, on-campus learning means there is equipment such as fine art materials. But, taking these sorts of things into consideration, wouldn’t two days a week be sufficient on campus? Tutorials for subjects such as Maths, History and English could form part of these two days.

Teachers would move into online assignments, feedback and assessment. So, learning would be more individualistic.

The question is: would this be a financially feasible option?

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