Monday, July 26, 2010

Online High School

Who doesn't want to join this school?

I would like to think of myself as a advocate for increased integration of technology in schools and someone who is not "old school" in anyway whatsoever. However, here lately I'm starting to feel like that push for technology in education that so many of us are calling for are starting to be addressed in the wrong manner.

Recently I was contacted by a nice young named Victor who worked for a company called UDEMY. Victor asked me to answer a few questions regarding technology and education, and last one he asked was one that kinda lit a fire in me...the question was:

As a teacher, do you think it is possible to one day have all-online classroom in the future?

A fairly harmless question at face value, but it was compounded with countless advertisements I have heard in the past few months that promote attending high school online. This got me thinking, is using technology in this manner really an making valuable use of technology? I can see the purpose of online courses and degrees for adults, but do we really need to move high school to the internet?

Call me old fashioned, but there is something special about the human component that comes with junior high and high school. While I do advocate the integration of technology into education, I don't think that making a high school diploma available online encompasses what school is all about. The way I see it technology should be used as a tool to help engage students in a lesson. In my ideal classroom, I would use heavy components of technology with my students that would require them to use technology outside of the classroom to connect with what we are doing in class. However, I still believe the the relationships that are built in a physical classroom are too valuable to leave behind and cannot be replaced by any form of technology....but, that's just this old timer talking (Class of 2003!)

Joe McClung
Fayetteville, AR USA


Wm Chamberlain said...

Your post makes me think about the shared experiences our students have at school. Will a poor student have the same learning opportunities as a middle class or wealthy student just because they all take the same online courses? What about the social interaction? I think online courses could lead to a new kind of segregation.

jkmcclung said...

We have discussions in my grad classes about school going online, and it really makes me feel uneasy. In today's world of "earn a degree online" it almost seems like an easy way out, and I think that the curriculum that goes with the school is only the half of what you learn. If everything were to go online, what happens to our social skills and how we interact with people? I don't think you get the same quality of education when it is all done via the internet, the social portion is too important.

Wm Chamberlain said...

I agree, and to add to the social interaction I think we need to teach a sense of community, both global and local. We are already too self-centered as a culture and I don't think isolation is the answer. It sure didn't work for the country after the Civil War...

John Hadley Strange said...

Your question is fascinating. But I don't see much difference with high school and college or classes for adults. Can any of them be only online? I am faced with that issue now! It seems to me that collaboration is essential to current education. How can we accomplish that in online courses. Until we solve that problem, I find that we need personal interaction. Even though all instruction is online for EDM310, the labs are critically important and bring people together.

Aaron Griffin said...

I feel that high school online would definetely be a major change in society.This concept would require a large amount of motivation from students. I feel that if students struggle with paying attention and participating in school now it would be harder to concentrate for sure with online classes.Also, for many students, the social aspect of school would be limited if online classes were available.