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What Is a Virtual School?
Home Reference & Education Education
By: Nicole Madison Email Article
Word Count: 431 Digg it | it | Google it | StumbleUpon it


Virtual school, also referred to as cyber school, is an educational alternative that allows students to learn primarily or entirely online. Students can find online courses for any grade level and are usually supervised by certified teachers. These schools can operate entirely online or combine Internet education technology with textbook readings, independent study time, online and traditional exams, workbooks, and hands-on learning projects to create a comprehensive educational experience.

How Does Virtual Schooling Work?

The method of teaching and distribution of assignments depends on the particular virtual school, but most schools follow a typical structure. A teacher typically assigns online lessons that a student can download and complete, and the student is required to submit his work based on a deadline. Some schools also use technology to hold class discussions that further aid the studentís academic experience. Students often take exams online, though some schools arrange for students to take exams at another location, with a proctor to oversee the testing. While self-motivation can help students succeed in a virtual school, it is typically recommended that a student have someone at home to provide support and guidance.

Who Can Benefit From a Virtual School Program?

Virtual school can prove optimal for anyone interested in using technology to learn from home. Virtual school can be beneficial for families who do not want to place their children in traditional schools, and prefer home education, but choose not to teach their children themselves. It can also prove optimal for students who have special needs or simply learn well independently. In addition, cyber schooling is an option for students who want to learn without the social and behavioral distractions common in traditional classrooms.

What Is the Typical Level of Parent Involvement?

The amount of parent involvement depends on the virtual school. With some programs, a parentís primary responsibility is encouraging the student to log on and complete his work as expected. Other programs, however, allow parents to take a more prominent role in deciding what and how their children will learn.

How Much Does It Cost?

As with traditional educational options, virtual schooling can be free or require tuition payments. Some cyber schools operate as part of a public school system and provide free education for students in their service areas. Others operate as private schools that do require payment. Families often decide which types of virtual school programs interest them most and then decide whether to pursue a no-cost or tuition-based option.

Learn more about virtual schooling and its benefits on the Oxford Virtual Academy blog. Your child can receive a quality, customized education online.

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