Critical innovation in education.
Progress is inevitable and sometimes it is difficult to reflect on its future impacts. Though, notwithstanding all its ulterior dangers and unexpected consequences progress and technological advances are moving onward, affecting all spheres of our life.
Online education or so called virtual schooling is a case in point. Now it is mainly impossible to predicate the future of this innovation, because the concept of online education is still emerging, related technology is constantly changing and there is no one single model of virtual school.
This alternative form of education became one of the most controversial and moot educational issues in the 21st century, which still raises heated debate and forms an apple of discord between scholars. Rapid and impetuous development of virtual schooling and its blended use of traditional content and technology has garnered much interest and raised many new questions.
Senator Steve Kelley, who has been working on this issue for several years, determines virtual schooling as a ?critical innovation in education?, which still needs serious consideration and examination. He underlines that online education is a work in progress, which is exceptional by a wide range of educational opportunities it offers to learners.
Although, ?the number of students attending virtual schools looks fairly small right now – with 40 accredited schools serving 85,500 students enrolled in the 2002-2003 school year – the numbers enrolled are expected to grow quickly to more than half a million students this academic year.?
The popularity of virtual education can be easily explained by the minimum requirements for students to participate in online course. Everything a ?virtual student? needs is access to a computer, the Internet, motivation and courage to succeed in nontraditional form of education
How can you benefit from studying online?
Learning is unscheduled. It means that you don?t have to attend classes on regular basis. You can choose to work and study at any time of the day you like. Though, a great responsibility for education falls on your shoulders and you are to be very self-disciplined and have a desire to succeed in your studying.
You learn to budget your time sensibly and push yourself towards your personal aims and deadlines.
Online education allows you to absorb up-to-date and quality information, obtain valuable and relevant knowledge and master practical skills which are in demand by employers.
You have a great opportunity to commute with people all over the world and establish new relations.
You can establish meaningful interaction with your tutors and other students via the Internet without leaving your home. You can contribute to course discussion and comment on the thoughts of others. This quality and extended discussions make up a valuable element of your studying.
There are scheduled online meeting with other students and teachers, which can consist of live chat or video-conferencing.
You have an access to a wealth of resources extremely easily, quickly and relatively cheap. Just imagine that you?ll be able to get any materials needed for your studying with a simple click of your mouse.
Your course materials include everything you may need in your studying from websites of libraries, associations, museums, agencies to databases and extensive number of media types ? photos, video and audio, that enhances quality and interest factor of your education.
You get convenience and flexibility. You are free from any limitations of time and location so that you can get instruction at any time from anywhere.
You can work independently, moving onward on your own pace and concentrate on the specific topics of your interest as you complete your assignments. You are encouraged to elaborate your own learning style and choose a form of course materials which suits you better.
You can quickly earn a degree without attending a physical university and also you have an excellent opportunity to spread your course out for a longer period of time.
There is an implicit assumption that virtual schools can do an equal or even better job than the conventional public schooling and in the course of time online education can replace public schooling. It is a challenging and exciting time in education, which will surely cause radical changes in traditional system of education.