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Saying 'hello' goes virtual
Posted Oct. 27, 2006

Laura Bucio
News Editor

Virtual classes have become the latest trend among high school students, who no longer have to touch a pig to dissect it in biology class; they can just see it being dissected for them on the computer monitor. Some teachers and parents are now concerned that students are not getting enough hands on experience especially in science classes. Schools like Florida Virtual High; a school where thousands of students take online courses have become popular in the last few years. While some parents are concerned with the lack of hands on experience, others don’t think it’s that important.

Some parents even opt for home schooling, saying that online classes are better than any public school. Parents are not only depriving their kids of the hands on experience, they are depriving them of developing their social skills and living the life of a normal teenager. Think of what is going to happen when this person who has never been inside a classroom wants to attend a university? Sitting next to another person, and having a professor in front of them will be so alien that it will take them a lot to adjust and adjusting to university life is already a challenging enough. Why not give your children a better chance of being successful?

They need to get out and build relationships, know what it’s like to learn to get to know someone, share opinions and talk to people who are having the same challenges they are. These are important skills vital to functioning in our society. Especially now when there are so many new technologies that just make it easy for us to isolate ourselves from society. If we wanted to, we could sit in our living room all day every day and be able to survive. Sure, we might not take it so far, but as it is we still find a way to live in our own personal worlds. There is no way we are going to say “hello” to someone we bump into because we are probably too busy talking to someone on our cell phones.

Who needs people, right? Wrong. We do need people, we’re social beings. Unfortunately, we seem to be loosing contact with people. “It's the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In Los Angeles, nobody touches you. We're always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something.” I don’t know of a time when the opening line of the movie “Crash” was so true. Nowadays, we have to send a “friend request” before being able to talk to someone. What ever happened to the old fashioned hello? I’m not going to sit here and say that I am completely free of guilt, because I’m not. I do talk on my cell phone as I walk, and yes, I also have a myspace account. My “friends” are people I have known for years. I know better than to talk to random people I have never seen before in my life; but many children don’t. And yet, these same children are the ones that create entire friendships based on their “about me” section.

But this syndrome starts early, with kids who rather than attending regular schools go to Virtual High Schools, and are home schooled. They know nothing but the security and protection of their homes. They don’t grow, and their parents don’t realize that this is harming them more than it helps them. We don’t need to “crash” to have that human touch, its much easier than that; just say “hello.”

Laura Bucio, a senior journalism major, is news editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at lbucio@ulv.edu.