Recently, Virginia’s governor signed a bill mandating that all students take one virtual course before graduating from high school. In this week’s reading, we read about Virginia Tech’s creation of a Math Emporium, where students move through the course at their own speed and only ask questions when needed.
In about 250 words, address one or both of the following questions in your forum post:
- Do you think high school students could be successful in a virtual math course, similar to those offered at Virginia Tech?
- Do you feel that it is our duty to prepare the students for these type of courses in high school or do you feel that this generation of students are well-equipped for these courses already?
Peer Response 1
This is such an interesting topic and one I can speak to personally. For the last four years, I have been at a school that uses a completely online curriculum. It has been quite an experience and I have come to see the pros and cons of online education.
At Virginia Tech it is the entry level courses that are conducted virtually. The courses stress skill development and the completion of problems over and over to master the process. This is a great use of computers and adaptive curriculum that can generate problems for students to complete and make as many as the student needs to master the material.
The reason this would be and is a struggle at the high school level is because we are not only striving for the mastery of the skills, but we also want the students to be able to take the skills and apply them to problem solving situations. This is where a student working virtually will struggle and not succeed. For students to develop problem solving skills, I feel they need interaction and real-time discourse with others to be successful. This is definitely the issue we run into at my school. The vision was to operate much in the way the article described, but with the push for problem solving skills, this because nearly impossible.
One concern that need addressed is the idea of academic honesty. Having a policy in place is one thing, but how is it enforced. Are the computers locked so they can only access the curriculum website?
In high school, we should be helping students develop the skills to be successful at learning online. There will be many times they will need to use this outside high school, whether completing online college courses, or training modules in a future career. The computer is a great way to disseminate information. Many of the skills needed to be successful are not computer skills, but character skills and traits focusing on the motivation and drive to work hard and honestly.
Peer Response 2
In terms of grasping and applying the content presented, I do not think high school students could be successful in a virtual math course. Despite this generationâ€™s seeming attachment, and sometimes addiction, to technology, I donâ€™t believe they would use it to their best interest in this case. I personally think most high school students would do the bare minimum to pass the online course without retaining much of the information. When it comes to technology, they are often multitasking. Whether it be listening to music, watching videos, scrolling social media or playing games, I donâ€™t think their full attention would be on the course. I also believe students of this age would prioritize their face-to-face classes over those theyâ€™re taking online; even more so with the virtual class being math. This is, of course, a vast generalization and Iâ€™m sure there are high school students with the motivation to succeed in a course no matter its format. However, I donâ€™t think it would be a productive way to instruct high school students universally.
While I donâ€™t believe high school students would be successful in virtual math courses, thatâ€™s not to say I donâ€™t think they could be. As high school educators, I believe we prepare our students to take these types of courses by holding them accountable for their own learning. We can do so by encouraging critical thinking and a growth mindset. When students are learning virtually they must have the discipline to work through challenges in addition to knowing when and how to ask for assistance which we can also instill in them while they are with us.