Observations and Questions #2
Once having evaluated the ubiquity of devices and access, it is most important for school leadership to evaluate the issue of synchronicity, as this has far reaching implications for subsequent issues.
Simply put, the synchronicity has to do with the time that things happen. But time is the single resource we squander, thinking that we have unlimited time.
Synchronous education means “in the classroom” education. A-synchronous education means “anytime-anywhere.” And, of course, there can be a blend between synchronous and a-synchronous education.
The initial promise of “distance” or “digital” education was that a-synchronous learning could in fact happen “anytime-anyplace.”
But that’s a decision with profound implications.
I must question the decision to move online while retaining synchronicity. That would mean that the school system wants the “schedule” of the school to be duplicated in an on-line fashion. Students in classes for six hours a day, maintaining the normal routine of groups of students and a teacher - engaged in the same practices and procedures as the traditional school program. Perhaps they use a collaborative tool, but essentially, it’s the daily schedule on a computer.
What if there are scant resources - multiple students in a family needing to share the same devices or network?
What if there are competing demands - students in a different environment with parent and sibling alternative demands? Or, the simple competition between behaviors learned at home and those learned at school?
What is the impact of scant or competing resources and demands? Is the learning environment compromised, and how seriously compromised?
Are the standard assessment practices, a test, then compromised?
Clearly the decision to move education on-line in either a synchronous or a-synchronous environment has repercussions.
An essential question to ponder - What are the consequences and responsibilities involved in moving to a-synchronous education?