A case study of the role of virtual learning experiences in a rural Alabama high school

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University of Alabama Libraries

To meet the demands of the digital age, students must develop 21st century skills during their secondary school years. Virtual and online courses can play a significant role in training students to be proficient in 21st century skills and preparing them to enter the workforce or higher education after high school. This qualitative case study explored students’ perceptions of a virtual learning experience and their perceptions of 21st century skills. The study was conducted at a rural high school in the southeastern United States. Thirty-two students were observed engaging in a virtual learning experience in a computer lab. Focus group interviews with 24 of the students were conducted in order to gain deeper insights into students’ perceptions of virtual education experiences and 21st century skills. Connectivist and 21st Century Skills themes were observed and discussed throughout the observation and interview processes. Analysis of the data revealed several themes regarding virtual experiences. The themes were pacing and efficiency; flexibility; the Edgenuity LMS; relationships with teachers; and 21st century skills themes such as communication, collaboration, and electronic tools.

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Education, Educational technology