I may see it.
I may be alive for this moment!
I dreamed it, but never thought I would see it.
For the last three years anyone who has (sadly) been privy to my rants on education, knows that I believe the future of learning is BLENDED learning. For years I have been pushing this agenda. Originally leaving Avenues to do this…but had to retreat. I felt the market was just not educated enough (pun intended) and making changes in an institution that is steeped in tradition…NOT EASY.
I felt I was too “early” so I walked away from the big dream of fixing the educational system to focus on supplementing the broken system in the Gap year space. An unregulated market with a place to grow.
But maybe my dream to fix education is back… as the tides are a-changing.
I may live to see the information aged revolution in schooling!! I MAY!
You will all soon (if not already) see the benefits of online learning (as well as the huge drawbacks which I will get to later). I’ve already spoken to some kids learning distantly who have said they “prefer” this school. Sure…it has only been a few days (novelty high), but when pressed as to why their reasons are legit. Online schooling allows students to move at their own pace (yes…they can go faster!). It allows a student to “rewind” even. In class you can miss an instruction, and your teacher has moved on, so you spend the rest of the period lost. With online classes, you can own your learning and guide it.
Online learning also offers quality control and access for students to the BEST teachers no matter who they are (no kids with parents on the board special treatment here!). No longer will be the days where you are upset that you got the “bad math teacher.” Classes are tested, piloted, edited and constantly fine-tuned. Online can allow 1:1 instruction. Students can get differentiated work. Differentiation is the HARDEST part of teaching and the part we are failing at most in the classrooms. We end up teaching the middle.
COST! Pushing some education online will bring down costs significantly. I don’t know about you, but I’m paying 60K per kid (yes that is NYC private schools). This is NOT sustainable nor acceptable.
FLEXIBILITY! The world is not the same. The instutituion of school still resembles the reality of people living in one place, one community. That is just not the case for more and more families. Being able to travel and not disrupt your child’s education will be a necessity.
But let’s be clear…online full time is NOT an answer nor appropriate. Families need child care, children need socialization, and meta-skills (like empathy) plays a larger role than ever in the future. They need soccer teams, they need a culture to belong to. School is more than a place of learning, it is a home. It is a community.
That is where BLENDED learning comes in!
It is a school system that leverages technology to support learners. It uses technology for hard skills (that are often best taught over a computer) and frees up the educators to be project-based facilitators who focus on the APPLICATION of skills through real-world projects. It also frees up faculty for mentorship. Schools need to realize that the kids of today need more emotional support than ever.
Children under my model would be blended.
And after this experience…I think many of you would be more open to online education. I need an opening as you will lead this change. Parents always blame educators for the lack of innovation in schools, but you underestimate how hard YOU make it.
Trust me…I know.
Parents talk about wanting change. Talk about wanting a school that embraces the information technology age and is preparing their student for the reality of tomorrow, but it’s all talk. Parents are mere humans and creatures of habit. For example, when I put my foot down and ended cursive instruction (with the exception of students with graphomotor difficulties), parents flooded my office demanding cursive! And unlike other markets, every student has a parent who is a product of the market itself and have their own beliefs of what quality education looks like. “When I was at school. We had spelling tests every week! I demand spelling tests!” And even if you show them the results of this model in education being a huge fail…they still want them. They want “rigor.” They want pens to paper.
But I have a feeling, you will be changed from this. You will have a new perspective of what the future may be.
You probably are already thinking about what your future of work will be like. And after this experience your work life may change forever. For one, you finally got that wish. The “Tuesday meeting” that you always thought was a waste of time, is now an email. This virus is a true test of the future of work and what productivity looks like. Will we go back to the norm?
I doubt it.
I see opportunity to learn and change from this experience in so many ways.
And I’m guessing there will be opportunities in education.
Now I have to find that business plan…its somewhere!