Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Virtual vs. Face to Face

VirtualIn Is Face to Face Better than Virtual? from On an e-Journey with Generation Y, murcha asks,

“What do you think? If money, effort, cost, availability were of no consequence, and the presenter was highly engaging, would you choose face to face or virtual linkups? Why is one preferable over the other? How successful have your video linkups been? What makes them successful, what makes for unsuccessful connections?”

I believe that if money, effort, cost, and availability were no object, I would choose face to face linkups for my classroom.

Keep in mind that I love all my virtual linkups as well as face to face meetups but I believe that virtually linkups are just 2 dimensional where face to face is 3 dimensional. The more “real” it can be for my students, the more meaningful it will be for them.

Years ago, my class read the novel Four Perfect Pebbles by Marion Blumenthal Lazan. Through various connections, I was able to share expenses with 2 other schools and invite the author to come to our schools. I didn’t just have my whole class there to meet her, but I invited the whole school and even the community. It was amazing how exciting this whole event was! Students from other classes who I knew had some behavior issues were even well behaved! There was something about seeing this author in person that made her story more real. When she talked about differences in people and how all people had value, this message really resonated with my students. By being able to go up to her and even hug her, was a moment that many of my students would never forget. Even years later, I see former students who talk about this.

Now, this author was elderly and probably could have visited my class virtually but I don’t believe it would have been as meaningful. She would have been able to interact with the students and answer questions but there is something special and personal about seeing someone face to face. I don’t believe that I would have been able to engage the whole school or even the community in such a positive way as seeing the author in real life.

As I mentioned, I love meeting my online friends virtually. I feel connected with them and enjoy our friendships. But I love when I have a chance to meet them in person. I feel a deeper connection with them.

Yet, due to the economy, money, effort, cost, and availability are issues in real life. Having the opportunity to connect with others virtually is the next best thing. I would highly recommend it. Being able to interact with people around the world brings a new dimension to learning in the classroom. If face to face meetings are not possible, by all means, look for ways to connect virtually.

What do you think? How would you answer the question? Please share.

Image: 'Flat Classroom Skype'
Found on

No comments: