Department of Education

Virtual Classrooms for Public Schools

I suggest you provide virtual classrooms for public school children. Currently, commercial entities such as 'Sylvan' provide a service to school children to help them achieve grade level. This service is provided in a virtual format, as well as, in a classroom settings. The virtual format includes computerized instruction, teleconferencing and electronic writing tablets. Students call into to a virtual teacher who gives them instruction on-line and then monitors the child's responses. The student receives one-on-one as well as classroom type services. Currently, colleges all over the country provide virtual college campuses right from your own computer. This virtual public school suggestion is to utilize the internet and home computers to provide virtual classrooms for elementary and secondary school education. Initially, this could be provided to students who live in rural areas or are unable to attend school due to disabilities, but eventually could be used for the public school system in general. Virtual classrooms would provide cost savings for districts, which cannot afford, or do not have access to facilities to house students. A teacher could teach several students on-line simultaneously with current conferencing techniques, and with electronic writing tablets the teacher can see if the student has grasped the information. This would also help to provide virtual 'classroom' students who are hospitalized or disabled. Due to increasing costs and lack of facilities, colleges use a great number of ;on-line' classrooms, which are extremely successful. This idea is not a new one, however, if utilized for the public school system, virtual classrooms for public elementary and secondary schools would save on transportation costs for buses and cars to take students to and from school. This would help the environment and save money on fuel costs. It would also save on investment costs for classrooms and schools, as well as energy costs for heating, lights and power. Additionally, it would save on books - especially if books were downloaded directly off the computer. This idea would also help students become proficient at utilizing the Internet and computers, something that is absolutely essential in this day and age. I believe due to increasing costs for energy, transportation, books and classrooms facilities, we will eventually have to move to more virtual classrooms for the public school system.

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Idea No. 7524