Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hey, virtual school. Bite me.

So I found out tonight that the AP European History class I decided to take as an elective next year is going to be a combination of classroom and virtual teaching. They're calling it "blended learning."

That made me think of smoothies, which made me think of those smoothie places attached to gyms that make people think they're all cool and cosmo because they're at the gym drinking a smoothie, but really they're just dorks who burn off the calories on a thigh master then slurp them back up again in liquid form. This is kinda what I think about this blended learning idea. We think we're so cool because our school has "virtual learning labs" and video conferencing rooms, but in reality, what good does that really do for anything?

If I have to get up early to come to school every day and sit in a classroom in order to learn, I want a teacher in the room who loves what they do and wants us to love it too. That's why I want to be a teacher. I don't want to sit at a computer and IM Mr. Remote Teacher Dude about his online assignments while some "permanent substitute" sits in the room with us.

While our principal, our virtual teacher, and some lady from the virtual school-loving sector of the school district gushed about what an amazing opportunity this "blended learning" is, it reminded me of an article I wrote for the school paper at the end of sophomore year.

It was supposed to be about the only Chinese teacher leaving the school. When I interviewed the principal, all she could do was tell me how wonderful it is that our Chinese program was going virtual and would be taught by a teacher over video chat. All I could think about was my Chinese teacher, a wonderful woman who taught me so much more than just Chinese. The way she ran her class was awesome, and everything I learned from her I wasn't buying the principal's amazing virtual program, no matter how hard she tried to sell it.

I think classroom interaction is the most important part of school. This is how teachers change lives, not by IMs and video conferences, but by actual in-person interaction. I've had so many teachers change my life, and everything I remember loving about them, their passion for their subject, their way of making it interesting, their encouraging words...they didn't do it from their home office in Boynton Beach.

This virtual program is supposed to be the way of the future. Sure, in college, where students have numbers instead of names or faces, that's expected, but I don't think this virtual learning should infiltrate high school. They say it's the way of the future, but I think it's the way compensating for lack of money in the budget.



  1. I agree with everything you said.

    I'm all for more technology in the classroom, but I don't agree with the FLVS crap. That's worse than teacher who assign work and then sit at their desks eating Cheetos all day.

    If I wanted to do homeschool, I wouldn't have put myself through Suncoast.

    We should petition this.

  2. As usual, both of you are right. However, I'll admit that my virtual honors course is the easiest thing I've taken since middle school. i know this sounds hypocritical, but I don't like the fact that it's virtual. Too much technology in the classroom isn't a good thing. it's basically education dumbed down for our generation and future generations. Seriously, the greatest minds in scientific history didn't even have calculators when they did their work!