Back To School

It is hard to believe that it is time to be back at school, not in the role of an educator, but back as a student.  I can honestly say that I am rather pleased to be pack playing ‘student’ again, and am most excited about a couple of my classes. 

Tonight’s class was really inspiring.  Prior to this year, I never imagined myself taking part in an online classroom, watching my teacher talk on my computer screen and click the ‘raise hand’ button when I have a question.  Even though I am able to walk attend the university whenever I need to (I currently live across the street) I couldn’t help but think of the world of opportunities this door will open for those who can not attend class every day like I can.  All that is needed is an internet connection and a computer.  As I think about this try and put myself in a person who lives on an isolated First Nations Reserve in northern Saskatchewan’s shoes.  How happy I would be if I was given the opportunity to take an online class when reservation only has a one way skinny gravel road leading to Patuanak.  This opportunity is amazing.

But I can’t help but wonder, will this be education’s future?  In 2050, will all classes be online and viewed via webcam?  What will this mean for myself as an educator?  Will there always be schools to attend with teachers who write on white boards and have students hand in assignments written with pencils?  I would love to hear any thoughts…

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4 responses to “Back To School

  1. Great post, Sarah 🙂

    It is quite incredible to think about the many doors that technology has opened it education. We now have the ability to connect with students in so many ways. Yet, despite all of these opportunities, we’re still missing the equity.

    Not everybody has an equal opportunity to take advantage of the ability to connect in such meaningful ways. Wouldn’t it be great if we could one day rule out some of the barriers (location just being one of the many) to accessing these emerging technologies?

    As for your question about what education will look like in 2050, I often wonder the same thing about what our classrooms might look like in 2015 🙂 Those of us that have seen what’s coming know that technology carries with it the potential to completely overhaul our education system.

    Personally, I hope that technology doesn’t ever completely eliminate the need for pencils, novels and white boards in our classrooms. It’ll be interesting to find out what role these ancient ‘technologies’ play in the classrooms of tomorrow…

    Good luck with your course, and be sure to make the walk across the street occasionally. Don’t be too quick to completely eliminate the f2f component of the course while that’s still an option 🙂

  2. No, education will always need the personal touch. I suspect that the amount of time spent in school will decrease. Probably meet face to face for a few hours then use a pln to communicate the rest of the day or week.

  3. It is nice to be reminded of the excitement we all shared when taking our first online class.

    The limitless possibilities are so exciting and sometime daunting.

    Good luck as a new student again.

  4. I was in the Yucatan region in Mexico in the spring. We visited a village that still was largely traditional Mayan culture. The school there was a large open room with a satalite dish, with instructions coming directly from Mexico city. No teacher present. The program in Mexico might be a good place to look at distance learning for younger kids in isolated areas.
    With technology like skype, interaction is also possible. I imagine education will evolve greatly in the next 20 years.

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