Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Geography of Learning: A Hybrid Model?

Ever since March 16th I've been slowed down significantly with an ankle injury that I recently learned was a non-displaced fracture to the tibia. Though I only have taken off 4 days of work due to the injury, I'm still in cast and walking with a cane, and feel my teaching has suffered by a degree. As I've looked for solutions to personal mobility and energy issues (pushing myself around on the wheeled desk chair is one), I've begun contemplating distance learning.

For a range of reasons, students and teachers, enabled by technology, have taken up distance (e-)learning as an alternative or supplement to traditional classroom learning. I myself have done some webinars and online courses, that, everything considered, have provided a moderately decent education. I would never replace in-person education entirely, however, my recent injury leaves me wondering what possibilities for e-learning might fit into the traditional K-12 public education system. Even and especially as a hybrid model, I can imagine a system that reduces cost and increases flexibility by taking a given percentage of traditional classtime (say, one day a week) and delivers this instruction electronically and remotely. Implementing the system would raise many questions and probably a good number of protests, but I can't help but think that inevitably our society will demand it.

Better to be proactive than reactive. Sometimes putting your feet up (to reduce swelling or otherwise) can be a perfect occasion to confront a problem that otherwise seems to rest on too distant a horizon.

You've heard it here: let's see some experimental programs in public, K-12 schools that incorporate remote e-learning into the standard curriculum. What do you think?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Teacher websites

In the digital/information age, it increasingly makes sense that EVERYTHING has its own website. In my estimation, good teaching and learning will make efficacious use of the internet.

I recently launched a website for my own history classes. You can find it at Please check it out and examine it's different capabilities and short-comings. What does it do well? What do you think could be improved? How can this website be used a tool for learning with my students in the classroom?