Tuesday, May 1, 2012

CEDO 550 - Week 2: Pondering Points - 3 Models of Education

F2F - Blended - On-line K-12 Education

I wasn't sure where to start while making this comparison so I started in the middle which gave me some things to think about. I'm beginning to think more and more that Blended Learning in one form or another is going to become huge in the not too distant future. F2F schools are increasingly using technology as well as content and activities available on the Internet from either dedicated vendors or self-made curriculum. I just have a feeling about this.

Another thing I was thinking about was social interactions and more specifically, bullying. I searched for anything I could find about bullying happening or beginning in a K-12 virtual environment but I couldn't find anything yet. I know cyber-bullying is rampant in unmoderated social venues and between people who know each other in the physical world. I just wonder about the kinds of cliques that are formed in virtual K-12 schools where the physical relationship aspect is non-existent (until/unless programs and activities are formed for students). Are there nerd, jock, Barbie, doper, "most likely to go to Ivy League" and freak groups in virtual schools as well? I don't know. I suspect it is much harder because students have limited contact only with students in their classes. They don't know about or interact with the "rest of the school" so they don't get a chance to either cling to or be repulsed by other students, forming opinions and participating in group behavior as happens in, on and around brick and mortar.

Blended models don't provide my perceived "bully free" sanctuary because there is physical contact. In order to be a bully, you need to exert threats of some kind of physical nature. In an on-line only school, distance as well as privacy severely limit physical threat. In addition, student interaction may be easier to monitor, being able to flag and deal with potential incidents.

My comparison was created using Conceptboard, a nice collaborative space. Teachers need an account but students can join in as guests, no account needed.
Open this in a new window. Log in as a guest (or your real name). Add to it if you want (I can't lock it unless I have a paid account). If you add to it, use the comment tool with an arrow pointing to a specific area.


  1. Definitely had a narrow focus when I was thinking about my own comparison...never thought about bullying. That is quite an interestng question to think about, though. I agree that in a purely digital environment, the groupthink that causes some kids to participate in bullyingm ight not exist. But will it be harder for these students to learn how to form connections and working relationships with a variety of different people if they haven't done that in a face-to-face environment?

  2. In many ways for students bullying online could be much worse than in a classroom, as psychological impacts tend to stay with us longer. When a student comes home with a bloody nose and a bruise it can be obvious for a parent. Online this could come in the form of identity hacking or even comments that are taken the wrong way. Kids will always have dangers around them, and we have to embrace that fact and educate them rather than trying to make them completely safe though.

    The cultural norms of online education are definitely different than a physical classroom, although I would be curious to see what students think when asked to compare the two (or three).

  3. Ahhh...the well-prepared teacher. I think a teacher needs to be well-prepared in both venues but I believe it has a greater impact on online teaching. A regular classroom teacher can still stumble through an unprepared lesson by ad libbing and thinking on the fly. It may not be effective, but they could get by. In an online environment there is absolutely no way that a teacher will find success going into a class session unprepared.

    1. Laurence, I think you are assuming ad-libbing online would be harder because you (nor I) have the (extended) experience of teaching online. Ad-libbing comes easier after you have a few years under your belt. I'm guessing the same would hold true for an online teacher who knows the content and the tools. Find a relevant link, pull out your toolbox and create a discussion or activity about it. Post the link and ... Bingo! All done in 5 minutes or less while you are lecturing and the students didn't even know you were doing it. Sure, not a best practice and not recommended but do-able.