February 23rd, 2012

WATCH: Cyber Schools: Virtual Innovation?

More than 200,000 K-12 students are educated online in the United States today. Proponents of the system argue that it works for families — by providing flexible schedules, among other benefits — while also creating a student engagement that isn’t replicable in “the brick and mortar system.”

Detractors worry about how students are kept on-task. Are they really doing the work? How is that being enforced? Additionally, is removing students from the social atmosphere of K-12 education beneficial for their development?

And then, of course, there is the financial side of the issue. Every student who enrolls in a cyber school represents a financial hit to public education in that area, as you will learn in this piece. Some cyber school administrators are earning millions of dollars per year, but it’s not always clear where the extra money is going — is it going back into the school and the students (such as upgrading the technology), the broader community, or somewhere else?

John Tulenko traveled to Midland, PA — home of the PA Cyber Charter — to find out what’s going on in the world of K-12 online learning.

Download transcript (PDF)

This program is made possible by the following funders:
Grade Level Reading Fund of the Tides Foundation, The Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


DiscussionThe Benefits Of Online Learning

You know the pros and cons of going to school online, so which side do you come down on? Read and comment!

DiscussionInside The Life Of A Cyber School Student

Meet Courtney Dunn and Nate Kusich. Dunn is a current cyber school student, and Kusich is a former one — now back in ‘traditional’ schooling. Their experiences are vastly different, and will paint a picture of the pros and cons of the model. Watch and comment!

DiscussionInside The Life Of A Cyber School Teacher

You are probably familiar with the traditional model of being a teacher — standing in front of students and imparting knowledge. But what happens when your pupils are online, and you can’t (for legal reasons) actually see what they’re doing? How do you create engagement and interaction, and foster discipline? Watch and comment!

More of our videos | Our YouTube Channel | Our Podcasts | iTunes |

Donate | Join our e-mail list | Debate the issues | Facebook | Twitter | Google+

   Print    Email    comments (5)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...



Hello! If the tradional schools did a better job with the kids they would not be in cyber school in the first place. They have driven kids away and now whine about it.

Interesting take, Lyndsay. Why do you think that?

i go to a cyber school and i would like to say that you have to look at what the student is getting into when in a public school. you have drugs, bullies, and a lot more so don’t bag on one thing without looking into it fully

Lucas — check out this video we posted on that topic:

I’m thinking of cyber school to get away from bullying. This past year for my kids has been a nightmare and the school did nothing. Public schools need to get a handling on the behavioral/social aspect they think home school kids are missing out of if they want to “win them back”

Comment Policy
Names are displayed with all comments, but email addresses remain private. Keep it brief, civil and on topic. Please note that Learning Matters reserves the right to edit comments for brevity and delete inappropriate or malicious comments. Please read the comment guidelines for more information.


Facebook Twitter Google Plus Youtube
Join Our Mailing List