Virtual learning now!

As the author concludes, although there appears to be Physics offered in many high schools, this inequity of a physics course requirement may be due to the varying state requirements for both high school graduation and college requirements. What is shocking is the lack of the educational background of the physics teachers. Perhaps this may be due to the relatively small number of students enrolled in the course at the high school level.


The author also noted that teachers may not be adequately trained in areas such as technology. It was evident that although teachers wanted more training in the use of technology they were not given this training. However what must be addressed is the infrastructure needed for use of technology. This did not seem to be evident in all of the schools that were polled.


What is disconcerting is the lack of technology being used in the classroom and also lack of distance learning. Many of the schools that do have physics usually have only one class of physics. The number of students participating is very small, sometimes less than 16. Perhaps what are needed to accommodate the small number of students in this environment of budgetary constraints are online courses for k-12. The University of Missouri is working on providing students with such courses.


Not only online classes are needed at the high school level but also there is a need for more technology in the classroom, including computer generated simulations. Such interactive simulations are presently being used by the University of Colorado. Under their PhET program, simulations in many areas of science are available online for students to experience.


The possibilities of providing virtual learning opportunities should be available for all to use, particularly during this time of budgetary challenges. This type of virtual learning also provides courses when the number of students at a school site is relatively small. If access to these courses is to be made available now, the time to provide teaching techniques that will engage students should also be employed. Use of technology can both provide opportunities for students to take classes previously not available and also provide in science classrooms, interactive simulations for deeper understanding of concepts.