Taking a look at online learning, on the surface, it seems as though just about all the best practices for face-to-face teaching and learning are the same. What this course highlighted for me was taking a look at how the medium and delivery are different and that different methods and strategies for core principals are needed. As always with the use of any technology, familiarity with the features and limits of specific tools is necessary for effective presentation and use. As I found out during my demo teaching with Collaborate, I was not able to screen share my OpenOffice documents. Had I had a chance to work with Collaborate beforehand I would have known. Luckily, I had a plan B in the wings and was able to show a video demonstration I had prepared of what I wanted to do with the screenshare live. Screensharing over the Internet itself seems to be a bottleneck and probably needs a couple of years for the technology & hardware to catch up.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be an online teacher in a a K-12 school but If I ever get a position as Instructional Technologist/Technology Integration Specialist, I definitely want to conduct some of my teacher training/tutoring online.
Something tells me that full on K-12 online learning will hit a big bubble in the years to come. And then after the studies start getting published we’ll realize that something is wrong. Maybe because nobody did a total radical overhaul of how K-12 online learning should be and what is needed to fill in the gaps to give students everything they need and should have. Will there be the infrastructure in the community for additional/alternative socialization, hands-on and physical activities. Yes, there are these kinds of things already, but often, many are for paying clients. Those who can’t afford will be left out once again. Free education online! Ok! $200 for 3 months of pottery class? Maybe we can afford it next year honey. Also, with the added numbers of online students, will the community infrastructure be able to handle the potential extras? Sorry, soccer league is already full and we can’t find any more coaches. What’s career day like for an online sophomore? Is there a counselor to advise about studying abroad/student exchange junior year? There are potentially lots of little things that happen in traditional schools that I think will be overlooked in the first big round of K-12 online education. Personally, I think that some kind of blended model will be one that works out best as opposed to 100% online.