Kelly Ryan lives in Kentucky in the USA and starts her new school year in August. She doesn’t go back to just one school, but two. As well as ordinary high school, she goes to virtual high school. Kelly wants to study history of art, but her local high school doesn’t teach it. So she’s taking it on the internet.
Kentucky is one of two states in America at the moment that offer virtual high school classes to all their school students – the other is Florida. This is just the beginning. Virtual schools and universities are starting up all over the world. Some education experts think that in 20 years’ time, there’ll be no more real classrooms – only virtual ones.
So how does virtual school work? When Kelly gets home from regular school, she logs on to the internet on the family computer. On the home page of her course web site she reads any messages from her teacher and other students. On the ‘What’s new’ page the teacher explains what the next piece of work is and where to find out about the subject on the internet. Each student has a virtual course book. Kelly does her work here and only she and her teacher can look at it. She uses e-mail to talk to other students on the course (no more than 25) and her teacher. There is a text page where the teacher puts video clips, pieces of text to read and pictures to look at. Any extra materials, such as books, are sent through the post to Kelly’s home.
What does Kelly think? ‘I love it,’ she says. ‘I can log on when I want to. And I like internet discussions better than face-to-face discussions in the classroom. Everybody thinks more carefully before they answer questions – they don’t just say the first thing that comes into their head.’ But she wouldn’t want to go to virtual school full time. She wants to see her friends and teachers as well as talk to them.
Kelly’s virtual teacher likes it too. ‘I can concentrate on the teaching part of my job,’ he says. ‘I don’t have to worry about what’s happening at the back of the class.’ What would he miss if he taught on the internet full time? ‘When a student suddenly understands something for the first time, their face lights up. I would miss that. You can’t see that on a screen.’
Válaszolj a kérdésekre:
- Why does Kelly need to take an internet course?
- In which American states can you attend a virtual high school?
- What do experts predict about virtual schools?
- Where can Kelly find the new teaching materials?
- Who can study the virtual course book? (a, b)
- What is the maximum number of students in a virtual class?
- What are the advantages of the virtual school according to Kelly?
- Would Kelly agree with the idea of attending only a virtual school?
- Does the virtual teacher have to concentrate on discipline?
- What does the virtual school lack according to the teacher?