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Virtual Classrooms

Stories about the technology associated with learning in a virtual space, as opposed to a physical classroom. Stories involve video conference software and online educational programs that are becoming increasingly common in both K-12 school districts and institutions of higher education.

Hoping to stem the tide of declining enrollment and rising tuition, universities have partnered with VictoryXR and Meta to use AR/VR technology to create “digital twin” campuses and make online classes more immersive.
The ed tech company, which has created its own VR headsets, announced a learning platform for K-12 that can be accessed by any device and brings students into a virtual environment for lessons and field trips.
A study by the Pennsylvania Charter Performance Center found enrollment in online charter schools surged 59 percent in the 2020-21 school year. Boyertown School District estimated this exodus added $5.4 million to its costs.
A pivot to online tools over the past two years helped an Irving, Calif.-based company that allows entrepreneurs to build and sell educational content to increase its annual revenue by 250 percent.
The New York City Department of Education's "A School Without Walls" program includes a hybrid option which blends in-person and remote learning, and a virtual option with daily synchronous lessons in STEM or humanities.
Given the possibility of a looming enrollment "cliff," along with state funding declines, workforce needs and student expectations, the Iowa Board of Regents last week issued a report suggesting more online options.
Several metrics of student well-being failed to improve over the 2020-21 school year, from chronic absenteeism to graduation rate to behavioral incidents, feelings of safety and relationships with teachers.
Research by Human Rights Watch found that many ed-tech platforms have built-in mechanisms to track children’s online behavior for the benefit of advertisers or others, and legal oversight is very limited.
A report by the Center for Democracy & Technology says disabled students, who may need longer bathroom breaks, screen readers or dictation software, are more often flagged as suspicious by remote proctoring AI systems.
The editorial board of the Dallas Morning News cites a recent study from Harvard's Center for Education Policy Research that found that Black, Hispanic and high-poverty students fared worst during remote learning.