The question posed is that in the title of our blog, is education moving online. As we've said before, no. The reason why is that there isn't a replacement for teachers able to give real time, one to one feedback, redirection, or instruction. The computer still isn't able to match/exceed the capabilities of the human brain, so with that as a reality (for now), there isn't an online replacement for "brick and mortar campuses."
We try this already in Dallas ISD and elsewhere, and it has a function; however, it isn't fair to our kids to make this the alternative. I know kids that are in the reconnect program for multiple periods a day. They feel marginalized, unmotivated, and end up copying from each other/the internet in order to pass and escape their isolation. The problem is that interaction with teachers and peers is a big part of the school experience that helps our students grow academically AND socially.
The article and the proponents of these new online campuses have a fairly persuasive argument to this question of accountability in that the STARR tests determine whether or not the method is effective or not. I agree with that and have no problem with these as choice options if they prove effective at communicating the material to the kids; however, my personal opinion is that this method is incomplete and makes two assumptions I think are harmful about education:
1. It says that the most important thing about going to school is learning just enough to pass a test.
2. It shows that we've lost faith in the vast majority of our teachers if a legitimate alternative is letting scores of students learn from a program, live stream, or prerecorded videos of a single instructor.
3. We're underestimating the value of personal connection and interaction as it relates to the formation of the whole child.
Yes, these should exist. Online education makes a great deal of sense for people that are restricted for some reason from attending traditional model schools. What I think should start taking off are schools based on a collegiate model where there are graduation requirements but you can opt to take courses in whichever order and at whichever time of day suits you best. Ideally this would be on site with an instructor but with multiple sections happening throughout the day well into the night. Food for thought I suppose. I would've done that in high school.
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Original Dallas Morning News Article - Corbett Smith
When Ed Tech Goes Wrong - A Dallas Teacher Perspective
Can Technology replace Dallas Teachers?
Using technology without purpose in Dallas Schools
Dallas ISD News and Politics Rundown - May Week 1