eLearning - Really Our Future Focus?

How easy is it to start an online learning program in your District? In my previous district, my team and I had to work hard to sell the idea. What made the difference wasn't the top level support, but the fact that we just went ahead and rolled out eLearning opportunities for students and staff.

Our course management system of choice was Moodle. The reasons were simple:

  1. Moodle was free, open source and had a healthy global support community.
  2. Moodle was relatively easy to show teachers how to use it and it was easy to enhance Moodle.
  3. I didn't have to ask for approval from higher-ups to get eLearning going.
Of course, it was that last point that ensured wide-spread adoption would happen as a grassroots effort without official support.  People in curriculum just never quite understood the value of eLearning when high stakes testing revealed that face to face teaching wasn't working as well.

If eLearning is meant to replace failing face to face teaching efforts, we need to rethink the value of eLearning. And, if eLearning continues to be offered as the way to fix schools--cutting teachers out of the equation--we need to ask why we've given up the people in classrooms. 

Degraded, denigrated, if not our teachers in classrooms, who are we supposed to rely on to build these eLearning courses?
Forty-three percent of parents with school-aged children have taken online classes. And when they go through online classes for work or their own education, they increasingly want an online learning experience for their students, said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow. That's why 48 percent of them want more online classes at their high schools..."The demand for online classes from students and parents continues to grow every year," Evans said, "and from an administrator standpoint, they can't ignore that -- or they should not be ignoring that increasing demand." (Source: Hispanic Business)
Demand for online classes grows every year...really? I'm a bit suspicious of the motives of this article. The demand for quality teaching and learning is present NOW...how they happen, who pays for it...well, who stands to gain financially?





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Comments

Dan McGuire said…
One of the problems is the false dichotomy of F2F vs Online. This is not an either or issue. If they knew how to use it, why would any teacher not want to use Moodle. Moodle enhances F2F; Moodle adds very valuable options for any classroom, well, except the classrooms that aren't concerned with some level of literacy or media.

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