Distance learning is not distant teacher.
Teenagers already use messengers like MSN and ICQ. The difference is that HackerTeen classes have a teacher on the other end teaching Internet Entrepreneurship, Computer Security and Hacker Ethics.
Distance learning creates a virtual community, unlike traditional teaching, where there is real interaction between teachers and students, as well as among students themselves. Parents and family members are our important allies in this new form of teaching.
The physical absence of a teacher is replaced with reading material, lectures in chat and video classes that together provide all the functions of a classroom teacher: guidance, motivation, creating interest, explaining, provoking, reviewing, questioning, discussing alternatives, praising the student's progress, providing appropriate reinforcement, and so forth.
See the HackerTeen teaching methodology, considered unique in the world by the Harvard Business School.
However, HackerTeen's objective is not to compete with regular schools, but rather to complement them, by also monitoring the student's progress in school.
If you want to learn more about distance learning and NetClass-HackerTeen's virtual classroom-download the "HackerTeen Teaching Guide" (in portuguese, PDF) document and read Chapter 3.