Update (Wednesday morning): Here is the recording of the full Florida Matters discussion.
UCF Physics Teacher-in-Residence Adam LaMee argued during WUSF’s show Florida Matters on Tuesday evening that online high school science courses aren’t as effective as in-person courses with qualified teachers.
And none of the show’s three other guests – all virtual school advocates and one of whom was Florida Virtual School CEO Jodi Marshall – argued with him about that.
Tuesday’s episode of Florida Matters explored virtual high school education in Florida and the statewide graduation requirement of taking at least one virtual course.
Adam pointed out that an extensive body of research shows that interactions between students are “critical” and that hands-on physical lab experiences improve student learning.
The one point in the show when Adam sparked a disagreement was when he said that the momentum for virtual schooling among policy-makers was “primarily motivated by budgets.”
The other panelists responded that students learn digital skills in virtual courses that are important in preparing for college and employment. One panelist pointed out that the State University System has a goal of 40% of its undergraduate credit hours being from online courses.
Adam countered by arguing that all of the digital skills students might learn by taking virtual courses are learned in many physical classrooms already.
Adam taught in Leon County’s Lincoln and Rickards High Schools for years, moving to Orlando to join the UCF Physics Department in 2015. Adam is also President of the Florida Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers.