Virtual vs. Brick and Mortar Schools: Examining the Impact of School Type on Out-Of-School Time Activities

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Sweeney, Thomas Patrick
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Middle Tennessee State University
Changing education philosophies and technological advancement have altered the way in which educational content can be delivered to students. Numerous alternate school models are gaining in popularity, with internet based, virtual, institutions at the forefront. Although the 20-year anniversary for the virtual format is rapidly approaching, little information exists as to how the shift from a traditional brick and mortar environment to a virtual one impacts the out-of-school time activities of the students. The purpose of this study is to determine how the type of school a high student attends impacts their out-of-school time recreation and physical activities and those factors, which hinder their participation. One hundred and fifteen high school age students attending brick and mortar and virtual institutions completed a survey regarding their recreation participation, physical activity participation, sedentary behavior, and leisure constraints. The results indicate that the type of school did impact all of these variables suggesting that those students who attend virtual institutions are more likely to participate in recreation activities, more likely to be physically active, and more likely to be sedentary when compared to brick and mortar school students. Further, some virtual school students were found more likely to be constrained in their leisure participation; although those feelings declined the longer a student attended school virtually. While these results were interesting, future studies must be completed with a larger, more diverse, sample to determine the generalizability of the results and confirm the findings.
Brick and Mortar school, Leisure Constraints, Physical Activity, Recreation, Virtual school