Hidden virtual schooling
We have spent September collecting together the various kinds of virtual schools we have found, both in Europe and outside it. We have also from the partners begun to make visits to virtual schools when they are close to partner locations - to begin to prepare for the case studies in Work Package 3. Classification is a big topic but one where we have much experience. However one topic that is newer to us is that there seem to examples of virtual schools which do not want to admit that there are virtual schools who do not seem to regard themselves as virtual schools or do not even want to admit that they offer distance learning to some categories of students.
This is not uncommon in some universities and some colleges in some countries - but in schools, where there is more of a need for an aspect of supervising younger children, it is perhaps more surprising.
We would appreciate help from our readers to let us know about the following kinds of situations:
- schools where there is one day per week available for "home study", "sport", "citizenship", "work experience" or similar activities but where in fact some of the students may be studying online while at home
- schools which in the weeks before exams, seem to allow students revising for exams a lot of days at home for "home study"
- schools, allegedly some schools with 1:1 provision of laptops, where in fact student attendance is not monitored after they sign up in the morning, and students may not be in the school for example in the afternoon
- schools which are more like universities in that study is an acceptable activity in the library, thus not supervised directly by a teacher expert in the subject
We are not suggesting that any of this is wrong - in fact rather the opposite - but we are trying to understand better the gap in some cases between what institutions say they do and what they actually do.
We are also interested in those situations where younger children (below our upper age limit of 14) are studying at a virtual school (quite common in the US at virtual middle schools) or where the school claims to be offering distance study courses to "adult" or "mature" students, but where in fact some of these students are in the 18-21 age group.
Views and experiences welcome!