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Hot Topic PresentationTechnology in the Classroom: Virtual Classrooms

Jennifer Bowman
Arizona State University

SED 464 Middle School Curr/Org

Ms. Amy Bartlett
November 20, 2015


Technology in the classroom is not just limited to Smart Boards and tablets, many
schools and school districts are offering an alternative means for attending school and
curriculum delivery, known as the virtual classroom. As our culture becomes further
integrated with technology, virtual classroom are the next logical step in growing our
educational systems. Virtual classroom are becoming widely used as a supplement,
addition to, or even a replacement for, the traditional classroom setting.
The purpose of a virtual classroom is for educators to use technology to create a
collaborative, efficient, and effective learning environment that is flexible for all learners.
This virtual environment is designed to enhance the learning experience and allow
students to hone communication, critical thinking, application, and self-regulation
behaviors while learning necessary content. According to an academic paper entitled
The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Virtual Classroom and the Role of the
Teacher, the use of technology in education can surpass the physical boundaries of the
classroom and provide students the opportunity to experience significant learning
opportunities in an exciting and stimulating way (Posey, Burgess, Eason, Jones, 2010).
This idea reinforces the concept that the virtual classroom has almost limitless
possibilities for delivering project based learning activities and inquiry-based lessons that
individualizes student learning. Furthermore, the virtual classroom is a platform that
places the teacher in a guided mentoring role that offers support that directly correlates
with measurable outcomes.
There are some basic components that all virtual classrooms seem to offer
ubiquitously. These shared similarities allow students to grow and develop knowledge
within the online setting, and maximize the technologies presented so they may become


applicable to them for other real-world experiences. In the web article Characteristics of
a Virtual Classroom, these common components are listed as, flexible learning with
audio and visuals, non-restrictive accessibility, affordability, and synchronous learning
(Ferriman, 2013). Ferriman writes that flexible learning gives students the ability to
review and re-review information on their terms, as needed. Students can watch or listen
to content materials in video or audio formats upon initial introduction, then go back and
review the information as needed to embed knowledge for their own understanding. This
component goes hand in hand with non-restrictive accessibility, since students only need
personal technology and an Internet connection to participate in the virtual classroom.
Moreover, virtual classrooms are affordable for students and schools alike, since there is
minimal expense. Once virtual classrooms are established, the cost to maintain, conduct,
and participate in the virtual environment is negligible compared to a traditional
classroom. Lastly, synchronous learning happens since all students are able to take part
in learning at the same time, with access to more tools and better convenience
(Ferriman, 2013). These components are not only shared commonalities, but give
students and educators distinct advantages over using a traditional or physical educational
Lastly, there are many pros and cons for both teaching and learning in a virtual
classroom. However, it seems that the pros outnumber, or at least counter, the cons. In
journal article entitled, Is Online Teaching Right for You...? the author indicates that,
research is showing that virtual classrooms are equally if not more effective than
traditional classroom environments (Adams, 2009). Adams cites some of the pros as,
smaller class sizes better for teacher/student interaction, less discipline problems enables


more instructional time, a measureable record of student activity necessary for

assessments, more time for in-depth peer to peer interactions and discussions, and that
virtual classrooms encourage diversity for a wide spectrum of learners since students can
participate in the virtual classroom from almost anywhere and at anytime (2009). This
wide range of benefits helps educators meet almost all the ISTE Standards for both
teachers and students and implements technology in a way that would simply not be
possible in a traditional classroom. Adams list of cons includes, the demanding nature of
a virtual classroom on teachers, challenges with monitoring students progress, additional
training and professional development is needed to adapt to the technology involved in
facilitating a virtual classroom (2009). These cons seem to be easily worked around or
managed by educators that are willing to be flexible and innovative.
Overall, virtual classroom offer many advantages over a traditional classroom. As
our society continues to progress in technological advancements, it is important that our
educational system offers alternative methods of learning. Students need hands-on
experience with technology so they may experience academic growth and development in
a practical way. Virtual classrooms form to students needs and fosters educational
opportunities for all learners through applied technology.


Adams, C. (2009). Is Teaching Online Right For You? As more of your peers enter the
virtual classroom, we take a look at the pros and cons. Instructor (New York, N.Y.
:1990), 118(6), 41-41. Retrieved November 20,2015, from|A200593032/
Byrne, R. (2011, February 11). Free Technology for Teachers: Seven Free Platforms for
Teaching Online Courses. Retrieved November 18, 2015, from
Ferriman, J. (2013, December 12). Characteristics of a Virtual Classroom. Retrieved
November 18, 2015, from
Posey, G., Burgess, T., Eason, M., & Jones, Y. (2010). The Advantages and
Disadvantages of the Virtual Classroom and the Role of the Teacher. Retrieved
November 18, 2015, from
Academic Paper-Published
THE LEARNING eXPLOSION: The Virtual Classroom Defined. (2010,
December 29). Retrieved November 18, 2015, from