Hello Michelle, do you remember me from our first class at Walden? We were among just a few that shared the Educational Technology major. I am curious why ed tech is on such a slow and gradual diffusion rate in K-12? 1) Could it be costs? Up until the last few years, K-12 multimillion dollar schools have been emerging all over the country. No expense was spared when it came to Olympic size swimming pools, huge sports areas or stadiums, and all the other extra amenities in new buildings. Why was technology held back? Many schools had a computer lab, that was never available to the general population. Others had a teacher computer in the class, but that was all. Students were expected to do their technology projects at home, but many did not have the internet and software to support their needs at home. 2) Could it be lack of training for the teachers and students? I taught in a digital high school for five years in California. The 8 computers in every classroom was a disaster on many levels and we ended up taking them off the tables and setting them up in a corner for special projects. Students were playing games when teacher was not looking and in a classroom of 35 students, supervision was impossible unless the teacher stood at the back of the room and could view all 8 screens.3) Could it be what this course seems to be emphasizing – the focus on the student learner and not just throwing technology at the student?4) Could it be K-12 has had so many different short-lived “programs” that it has burned out and was not willing to implement technology without serious research on effectiveness? Or maybe technology was seen as too long term for a “program” and so was not even considered?5) What about DE and DL at K-12? Are students not trusted to be able to monitor their own learning, collaboration with other students, and function in this environment? I think the success at the college level with DE and DE hybrids is starting to get K-12 attention, especially in the higher grades. I support a home school population of over 3,000 students in our district and we are in dire need of effective DE tools and strategies for these students.
Michele, Are you an early education teacher? I teach 2nd grade and was struck by something in the text that you also cited this week. While the authors this week presented very useful information about distance education, as an elementary teacher, the most important thing they shared with us was that "despite the fact that distance education is growing rapidly in training and in higher education, these authors indicated that the traditional classroom setting will not be replaced with distance education." As many educators know, the young students strive for and thrive with positive personal student-teacher interactions. I also discovered new information to me this week on the Palloff and Pratt blog on Insturctional Design Open Studio, "Four issues were identified as recurring ones in building learning communities virtually." They were (1) “virtual versus human contact, connectedness, and coalescence; (2) shared responsibility, rules, roles, norms, and participation; (3) psychological and spiritual issues; and (4) vulnerability, privacy, and ethics” (1999, p. 33)." How do you feel about these? Do you agree/disagree? Would you add any additional issues? I look forward to blogging with you more throughout this class! Lauren DartReference: Palloff, R.M. & Pratt, K. (1999). Building learning communities in cyberspace. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers
Hi Michelle,I finally figured out how to maneuver around in the blogs. This is my first experience and I hope to improve on the usage of blogging. Distance learning is great for people who cannot otherwise find time to attend a particular university. It is also great for people who have a particular university that they would like to attend but could not relocate to. What is attractive about distance learning is that it allows you to earn a degree from all over the world. It also allows you to collaborate and communicate information with people from anywhere in the world. On the downside of a distance learning program, you do not have face-to-face contact with your faculty and peers. I have spoken with colleagues, and some people would rather go to class where they feel questions are more encouraged, where you meet fellow students and can set up study groups. I think questions are highly encouraged in our distance learning program. I like the fact that we can talk (write) to each other at our convenience and read the feedback at our convenience. I agree with Lauren about the elementary school students need the nurturing of a face-to-face relationship with their both their teacher and other students. May be where "hybrid" learning could apply?Joy Winterhalder