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Cyber Schooling in Education - Opposing Viewpoints - Literature review Example

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This paper "Cyber Schooling in Education - Opposing Viewpoints" examines the increasingly expanding world of cyber schooling or education through home-based computers versus the traditional classroom setting. There is little doubt that cyber schooling does have advantages and uses…
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Cyber Schooling in Education - Opposing Viewpoints
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All students in cyber schooling should be provided with a good learning environment along with the best tools available in order to get a quality education and be successful in life.
The first area where cyber education poses difficulties is with isolation with restricted face-to-face peer interactions. A study by Lee & Chan (2007) found negative effects of distance learning at universities, as distance learners had a significantly higher rate of dropping out. The article mentions that a lack of belonging to a community through social ties is a distinct disadvantage. In addition, the inability to interact face-to-face with students can hinder motivation and enthusiasm (Lee & Chan, 2007). Social isolation can also be a problem if the student wastes time by pursuing material that is not of relevant importance to the instructor. Such proper direction could be clarified better in face-to-face interaction (Lee & Chan, 2007).

Additionally, non-verbal cues to learning are not available with cyber schooling. This includes the teacher’s ability to pick up on subtle signals of student interest, student understanding, or student confusion. The subtle ways that face-to-face interaction can reveal emotions related to learning are more present in the traditional classroom (Lee & Chan, 2007).
The second way that cyber schooling is at a perceived disadvantage is through uncertainty in the quality of cyber education. Rosendale (2009) points out how problems result from cyber schooling programs that have either low-quality assurance or no quality assurance guidelines in place. Also, there is disagreement on what learning quality entails (Rosendale, 2009). The article goes on to show that test scores show how cyber school students are lagging behind traditional schools in test results (Rosendale, 2009). An example is with the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) test results. They found “of the 11 cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania, only 3 are meeting or exceeding the “No Child Left Behind” standards’” (Rosendale, 2009).

A third disadvantage is with difficulties arising ineffective communication over the internet. Horspool & Young (2010) indicated that some coursework is not suited to cyberlearning. The authors point to an introductory music class as one example. Anonymous surveys of students who had completed a music class in both face-to-face classes along with cyber classes found that significantly more students in the face to face setting selected that they “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they could successfully read music; write music notation; and play chords to accompany a melody in comparison to the cyber group setting (Horspool & Young, 2010). As we can see by this example, performance or lab-based classwork may be better suited to the traditional setting.

Wilczenski & Coomey (2006) elaborate on communication skills. The authors found that reading text online to be different and more emotionally based than normal face-to-face interactions where conversations are more natural and easily interpreted than by reading words typed by other students or teachers. (Wilczenski & Coomey, 2006). One example the authors found was with online counseling. Potential for misunderstanding is potentially greater than with face to face counseling. In addition, logistics in teacher to student communication need to be examined. Potential problem areas lie in the online timing of questions by students; typing speed of students; coordinating multiple discussion questions in a short time span; and coordinating discussions in a smooth manner (Wilczenski & Coomey, 2006). Students may feel hindered as well by having their conversations recorded. Finally, the article brings out that the interpersonal nature of communicating online may provoke inappropriate behaviors by some students that would not occur in traditional settings (Wilczenski & Coomey, 2006).

There are much excitement and popularity regarding cyber schooling. Some schools have gone to blended coursework, which may solve many issues, as long as the focus does not go exclusively to cyber schooling. In the meantime, Boards of Education should be reminded of the disadvantages of cyber schooling over the traditional type of education. The disadvantages examined in this paper of isolation with lack of face-to-face interaction; uncertainty in the quality of cyber education; and difficulties in effective communication over the internet need to be kept in mind. Ideally, in my opinion, the traditional environment of the educational setting cannot be replaced completely with cyber schooling. Read More
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