New Hanover County schools are using more and more technology in their curriculum that is allowing students to learn miles away from their teachers. Sean Black teaches business classes to students at New Hanover High School, but he also teaches dozens more students he has never seen before. It all happens on the Internet through the North Carolina virtual public school. The online program allows students to earn credits by taking classes outside traditional school. Black said, "With distance learning, it's important not to focus on the distance and focus on the learning part, and North Carolina public schools offers us a lot of technology that allows us to stay in fairly constant communication with our students." Even though teachers are not seeing their students face to face, they go over material either through phone conversations or class chat rooms. While he does not see his 30 online students, Black says he never loses touch with them. Black states, "I'm really in contact with them and communicate with them probably more than I do with my face to face students here on campus." The North Carolina Virtual Public School is designed to give students a flexible learning schedule with 24/7 access to the classroom. Somer Stahl, an English teacher at New Hanover High, has found a way to balance her lessons in and out of the classroom. After a full day at school, she goes home to teach for two more hours online to students all over the state. Stahl said, "I really enjoy it. I think that this is where are schools are going. We are going to see more and more technology as years progress."
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