IMAGINE: What if your child could go to school through their cell phone?

Aug 7, 2017

What comes to mind when someone says the word “school”?

You probably think of a bus or a building filled with children learning, an actual place where students go to learn. It is a common concept, one that our society has developed over hundreds of years as we have worked to figure out the most effective way to educate our children for a bright future.

But is the concept of “school” really tied to a physical place? Should it be tied to a brick-and-mortar location which we collectively have to pay for and figure out how to get our children to?

In a world filled with technology and interconnected everything, what if we reimagined what a school is? What if we reimagined a world where students could excel in school anywhere they were, at any time of the day, simply by going to class on their phone?

“Change is very hard in education,” says Dr. Michael Brown, Director of the Missouri Online Summer Institute, a virtual summer school available to every student in Missouri. “The teachers’ unions and the school boards and everybody have a hard time changing because they know what school was like when they went to school.”

But today’s students have grown up with a phone in their hand and with constant access to the astounding amount of information found on the internet.

“This is what the kids of today are growing up with,” Dr. Brown said, holding up a smart phone. “They can get all of their schooling right here. That is what we are moving towards.”

Virtual education will not work for every student because it requires a certain degree of dedication and self-discipline, but for those students who do find learning virtually to a be good fit for their learning styles, the new concept of a virtual school offers a wide variety of benefits:

  • Virtual schools allow students to learn at their own pace, advancing through subject matter as quickly or a slowly as their competency over the subject matter allows.
  • Virtual education can provide students in rural or urban areas access to more unique and higher level courses than those offered through their home districts.
  • Digital learning provides parents and teachers immediate, real-time data on how well a student is understanding the subject matter, allowing for quick interventions when a student is struggling.
  • Learning through a digital platform prepares students for online classes in college and the increasingly Internet-based business world.