DEATH OF THE CLASSROOM. THE NEW WAVE OF ONLINE EDUCATION
1. DEATH OF THE CLASSROOM. THE NEW WAVE OF ONLINE EDUCATION
Picture a society where learning can happen at any time, in any place and can be completed without ever going to class. This could be the new wave of education and the Internet technology now exists to support such a system.
The virtual classroom is here. If you are interested in English, or Civil Engineering, then head to the university and click yourself a degree. Well maybe it's not that easy, but you would be on the right track. The flexibility of studying at your own pace, and the money you save with online courses are two of the main attractions.
The Web is a powerful educational tool. Yet some feel that virtual classrooms will isolate students from each other, which will result in problems developing interpersonal relationships and that these skills are much more important than computer skills. Should teachers teach kids how to behave in society, how to respect others and how to co-operate or should kids have already learned this from their parents? No one is saying that social skills aren't important, however, virtual classrooms are far about more than just computer skills. Some strongly believe that education can be taught via the Web and social skills can be gained from joining sports teams, summer camps, or just hanging out! Others argue that this virtual classroom may place pressure on students: to become computer literate or be left behind in life. Is this undue pressure or reality? Maybe being left behind in life is a little dramatic, but the reality is that the computer age is here. Whether you want to pay for your new jeans with your debit card, or check to see if the library has the book you want, you're going to need some computer skills.
The development of flexible, inquiring minds has rarely been the main concern in the design of educational systems. After all, if you have over thirty inquiring minds and only one teacher, flexibility could be a problem. It seems that developing students' proper social behaviour has always exceeded the concern to develop students' creativity. Computer technology can make individualized attention a real possibility.
At the Institute for the Learning Sciences, systems are being developed to allow people to try out things in simulated worlds. This technology will allow for the individual creative growth in students.
The Web will provide amazing opportunities for the education of our society. Anyone with a phone line and a computer has access to unlimited amounts of knowledge and programs designed to help them learn and understand. The teachers and parents involved with these programs will be given the job of making sure that students lead well-balanced lives that combine Web based education and positive social interaction with their friends and neighbours. Imagine your recreation room has now become your classroom, and your parents seem to be doing as much homework as you are! So, be prepared as the virtual classroom may find its way to a computer screen near you!