How is Education Going to Change with the New Push Towards Distance Learning?
Distance learning will expand the learning environment. Classroom teachers are hindered by time. The average amount of direct instruction in schools today is five and a half hours. Distance learning allows for revising the configuration of our current education system to provide more learning beyond the traditional classrooms of today. Flexibility is the name of the game.
We can not replace schools as the hub for learning, but distance learning can and should ‘supplement’ the classroom, keeping in mind that not everything can be learned via the computer. There will always be the necessity for onsite classroom experiences.
Teachers can reach out on a face-to-face basis with the use of computer conferencing to both students and parents. This is often hampered in the classroom by the curriculum time constraints and too many students per classroom.
I speak now from the eyes of a Reading Specialist and online reading tutor. With the constraints of the classroom, a child that needs tutoring, can now be serviced through video conferencing. Most students who struggle with reading need one-on-one, face-to-face tutoring. The child’s classroom teacher just does not have the time during the school day to address this need. Video conferencing is great for helping the teacher provide more services to a child.
Distance learning can engage parents more in their child’s learning experience. Parent involvement is key to any child’s learning success. Many parents who work are unable to make it to school for a parent-teacher conference. Video conferencing can help. Maybe your child could use some homework help. There are many retired educators, such as me, who have valuable experience that we can relay using distance learning.
BUT, THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM MUST BE ADDRESSED FIRST! ALL children need access to computers and internet services for distance learning. This is where we are behind in this 21st century. Until this key issue is resolved, there will always be disparity in education which is unacceptable. The question facing all school districts is ‘how can this inequity be resolved’? How can this need be funded? The Federal Government? State government? Local government? Corporations? Community? All of the above?
Change does not happen overnight. It will take creativity and commitment now, to solve this problem for the future. Lastly, let me just interject from my past experience. I attended a top named University. The enrollment was monstrous. To accommodate this, classes were divided into sections. Lecture classes held up to 150 students at a time. The lesson was provided via closed circuit TVs, placed around the lecture hall. This was done three days a week. For the other two days of the week, the class was divided into smaller group sizes who met with a teacher in a small classroom or lab in a campus building. A face-to-face and one-on-one environment. ALL students were serviced and had access to the Professor’s lecture as well as small group interaction for more in-depth exploration of topics. Of course, the ultimate responsibility was on the students to take good notes during lectures and come prepared to the smaller group classes with any concerns or questions. Another benefit of this configuration was it allowed the Professor to offer more office hours for students to meet directly with them.
Q: How can we reconfigure our K-12 learning environment to meet the needs of the students of the 21st Century and beyond?
A: Distance learning.
KLAC ENTERPRISES, LLC/Buckaroo Buckeye™/Nuts About Reading™