Wednesday, September 30, 2009
A Healthy Jealousy - Quick Reflection on Virtual High School
I actually don't know if there is such a thing as a healthy jealousy. But I could not help but to recognize and name the feeling as such as we met today as a region to look at Virtual High School, a not-for-profit global organization that makes available some of the most interesting full and half year high school level courses you could imagine. Students talking about taking pre-veterinary medicine classes on their way to Cornell; other students nurturing personal interests in entrepreneurship; and still others taking rich literature offers driven by their personal love for writing. The fact that these courses are online offers obvious challenges and opportunities: the students who shared their tacit experiences with us via videoconference spoke of the discipline both needed and developed in order to thrive in such an environment. They verified the rigor of the coursework and spoke very highly of the content and the opportunity to collaborate with other students across the planet. I can't help but to think of how their experiences were enriched (in ways most likely not measurable)by exposure to different strengths and virtues presented by students from different cultures and nationalities. Made me feel somewhat provincial, thinking back to my own high school experience where doing "group work" was about as global as it got. Hence the jealousy: what I wouldn't give to enroll in high school again and live as a pre-collegiate learner in the 21st Century - not simply learning 20th century content with modern tools, but developing an understanding and a knowledgebase that is unique to these times we all share.