Modern education has to take on various roles and contingencies over the last decade – both for good and worse. Public school systems are competing with private and now charter schools for student enrollment and virtual or online learning schools. A question many parents and educators struggle with – how do we grow and develop children and young adults' academic needs through the use of technology?

The question may be simple; however, the answer is far complicated. Technology provides help in various ways a human being cannot, including instant gratification of Google searches, video education, synchronous education game formats, distant learning from different ends of the country, and so on.

Virtual education has seen a growing demand in the last decade. Many institutions worldwide are implementing online classes as academic needs are switching from traditional to non-traditional. Professional development in virtual settings is rapidly increasing along with education budgets to support these technological mammoths' databases and software programs.

However, is one ‘one-size-fits-all' model adequate for all learning styles? Despite the rapid growth of online education, many challenges and dispositions exist with the design and delivery to students on all academia levels. Software engineers and lack of developmental acquisitions for user-friendly formatting to students with exceptional learning styles differ from the norm.

This paper addresses the question of virtual learning opportunities missed in online programs' software development compared to their physical alternatives in ‘brink and mortar' or face-to-face instruction. The three research questions behind this study were as follows: Are there areas and functions of virtual education that need to be fixed within the public-school setting platforms? If, so what? Are the platforms/software's used ‘one size fits all' or individually programmed to grade level, age of user(s), and/or academic needs (Gifted/IEP, mental/physical disabilities, learning disabilities, language)? Areas of recommendation to positively change missing or unsuccessful platforms to accommodate research questions one and two. Observations, documents and records, and open-ended structured interviews were the data collection methods used in this study to understand virtual education in midst of a pandemic.

The researcher is interested know how children are significantly challenged – internet connectivity, socioeconomic and support systems of both social and emotional needs, gifted children were equally compared to their non-gifted peers in the wake of a global pandemic. Schools districts overlooked many areas causing significant concern for both teachers and parents of student academic needs. To justify a ‘one-size-fits-all' approach given lack of planning, cannot justify a substitute for education, through resource limitations and declining success tools to students who need it most. Teachers were split in seeing the progressive advances in fully virtual education which were favorited by younger, tech-savvy educators, compared to their older colleagues who preferred traditional methods of paper and {pen}cils. Public and Charter Schools have the option to continue fully virtual, hybrid education and traditional methods of education based on students adaptation, chronological age, maturity, including teachers opting in for lower class size, ability to work from home and providing more resources to students who are significantly handicapped based on socioeconomic, disabilities, and/or parents reliance as first/active responders.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

McCafferty, James


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Nicholson School of Communication and Media



Degree Program

Communication and Conflict



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date