Over 7,000 students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools are enrolled in virtual classrooms, or e-learning labs. Core subjects are taken on computers, and instead of a teacher, there is a “facilitator” in the room who makes sure the students are actually doing their work. The facilitator also gives tech help.
The e-learning labs were put into place last August because of Florida’s Class Size Reduction Amendment. Passed in 2002, the amendment limits high school classes to 25 students for core subjects, like English or Math. Since the amendment only applies to classrooms, schools in Florida lumped their students into e-learning labs.
Some of the students had the choice of whether they wanted to take a class in an e-learning lab, but most of them were registered automatically. The new labs shocked some of the students, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. When was the last time a kid wrote a research paper by hand, poring over books in the library?
As for teachers who fear that they will be replaced with supercomputers who have a database of all human knowledge and can even play on Jeopardy, they don’t have to worry – students can contact instructors online if they don’t understand a concept.