Monday, October 20, 2014

Move to Online options. But why?

The online course option is obviously an extremely popular choice for many students and adult learners. For a lot of them, it means the ability to take a course or not, which is a category I would fall into myself. The online option should not be limited to just college students or adult learners looking for more education. I think we should be providing an online option for k-12 students as well. Classes could move to a more hybrid format because obviously high school and middle school students aren't going to stay home and take all online classes, but we could be providing them with online options to do as supplement or extended exploring. So why the online format? A few reasons to chew on like a slim jim. 

  • Discussions no longer end with the bell. If you are having a lively or even heated debate/discussion and you want it to continue, too bad because the bell rang. Move the discussion to the discussion board, it can rage all night. 
  • Students set the pace and schedule. If the material is out there, the student can work at their own pace at their own time. They can get to it when it works for them, instead of trying to jam something into a time window that just isn't open. This requires a bit of responsibility on the learner, but that is a good thing. There are so many diverse learning abilities and styles that an instructor only led course is going to hold back the full potential. 
  • Students can showcase their work to their classmates (and the world!) They can share, discuss, analyze and critique (respectfully, of course.) This increases pride and ownership of the work. For me, if I know only my professor is going to read something or view something, I won't work as hard as if I know my whole class will be viewing it. 
  • It's a method focused on the Learner's style. Let's face it, there are so many styles of learning. We are not all in a one room school house, k-12, listening to Miss Beadle drone on and on about Pa and the history of his suspenders. Our world is different! So quite trying to put everyone in the same box. We have visual, verbal, analytical, experimental, hands-on, media-centered, morning people, evening people, sprinters, plodders, extroverts and introverts. 
Providing a hybrid format to you k-12 classroom is a tough task. A time consuming one. Perhaps sprinkle in a little bit at a time. But I think something worth looking into. 

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