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By Nancy Gardner
Within the computer laboratory classroom, educators have discovered that the computer can be used as an interactive tool for educating students in many study disciplines. For many years, computers have been primarily utilized by schools as a fancy typewriter. However, the use of virtual science labs is changing the very nature of student involvement in their own learning process.

Most any educational curriculum can be taught in this way, although the focus has been placed largely on science courses that many schools do not regard as priority. The computer lab requires the student to participate in their own education in a thought-provoking way that keeps them interested. Many students are lost because the old technique of note-taking and regurgitation of facts does not work for many people.

The variation in learning styles is a true phenomena, and often it is the young boys who fail to do well in the standard model. Note-taking and memorization are skills that girls often have well-honed, and these skills allows them to make good grades. It is being discovered that grades do not necessarily reflect what a student has retained in a class, and many students with low scores actually understand the material but are not able to regurgitate facts as well.

With young men being a more active gender, it is not unusual for young men to be the ones who need this hands-on style learning. While it is never recommended to ignore grades completely, teachers have learned over the years that good grades do not equate to success. The students who were taught to read through memorization words growing into functionally illiterate adults is one example.

For many parents, the struggle to find proper education for their children, especially boys, leads them to home schooling. This allows the student to have full access to guidance from the educator, or parent, whenever they need it. It also allows them to pursue learning in their own style and often at their own pace rather than being expected to fit into a one-size-fits-all learning model.

Homeschooling has allowed many failing students to continue with their education without the issues so prevalent in public schools. Many students are being salvaged in this way, notoriously scoring higher on SAT and ACT exams. Some of these kids would never have the chance at higher education due to monetary constraints combined with a learned disgust at school in general.

Students who really put themselves into this material may even be invited to a college laboratory to explore additional studies on the topics that are most interesting to them, experiencing a true white-coat environment. This is a great opportunity that has always been available to homeschoolers. It really takes the student out of the book learning and into application of what they know.

All the programs which are available to school systems can be made available to parents who homeschool their children. This is important both for those students falling behind, as well as any student who is forced to take time away from school due to illness or injury. These courses help parents have a scholastic outline in some of the most difficult classes to teach from home.

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Virtual Science Labs As A Teaching Aid

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