Internet & Education: States Turning To Online Programs

When thinking of a high school classroom, one would expect to see rows of desks filled with students listening to a lecture from their teacher. Now, some states are changing that image and the environment in which kids learn. For students in Florida, a typical classroom might be at their kitchen table listening to that same lecture online or typing an essay that will be emailed to the teacher. In fact, thirty states let students take all of their courses online, and 250,000 students are enrolled in full-time virtual schools nationwide.

Besides students benefitting from flexible schedules and customized curricula to meet individual needs, schools are saving a significant amount by offering online programs, a necessity in an economy where education budgets are hard pressed. Taxpayers in the State of Georgia were spending nearly $7,650 a year to educate the average student. To educate the average student in the statewide online Georgia Cyber Academy, taxpayers are spending nearly 60 percent less, or about $3,200 per year.

Some educators, however, have expressed concern as to how the lack of face-to-face interaction with other students could affect development. To alleviate concerns,  several states have chosen to adopt hybrid programs that are a blend between online study and classroom interaction with teachers and peers.

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