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High schoolers want a permanent virtual learning option

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Virtual classes may have posed difficulty for many amid COVID-19, but a recent survey of 16- to 18-year-olds in the U.S. and U.K. shows that one in three students say their ideal post-pandemic learning environment includes some kind of virtual learning component.

The survey, conducted by the nonprofit Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) in March, gathered responses from 1,060 11th and 12th grade students from across the U.S. and sixth form students in England and Wales to determine their views regarding virtual learning. The students queried are participants in this year’s MathWorks Math Modeling (M3) Challenge, an annual internet-based, intensive math modeling contest organized by SIAM.

“While the majority of students said they prefer 100 percent in-class learning, surprisingly, one third said they would choose either full-time or part-time online education when things return to normal after the pandemic,” said Michelle Montgomery, M3 Challenge program director at SIAM.

According to the survey, 67 percent of students–the vast majority whose education transitioned online to some degree amid the pandemic–prefer learning completely in-person, while 29 percent favor a hybrid arrangement with up to half of their time in a virtual learning environment. Four percent say they would be happy learning virtually full time or for a majority of their time.

Laura Ascione
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