Observations and Questions #4
Fork in the Road
At some point, schools and school districts are going to make a decision - or some kind of decision.
That decision may have consequences.
That decision essentially means either “moving school on-line” or “creating an on-line school.” There is a world of difference.
Moving School On-Line - If a school reaches this decision, and it’s perfectly understandable why a school might make that decision, school will remain the same, but will be delivered differently. The schedule remains the same; classes meet at pre-determined times; students use technology to receive direct instruction; and success is really determined by some calculation on the Carnegie Unit.
In one regard, this approach is expedient and gets the school and students through the current crisis. It means that students are engaged in an almost passive learning situation. They are receiving traditional and direct instruction as in a regular classroom, do homework, and take tests.
Creating an On-Line School - In the short haul, this is more work. It requires more thinking and planning. It requires some important discussions about instruction and assessment. It almost invalidates the concept of the Carnegie Unit as it must rely on changes in instructional interaction and assessment. To be successful, it must make learning and interaction authentic and real.
Schools and school districts must make the decision that fits both their immediate and long term needs. If the decision is to “get through this,” then opting for “moving a school on-line” is worth it.
If the decision is to “improve this,” then opting for “Creating an On-Line School” means some change in philosophy and practice. It means some work and re-design, but the benefits are a bulwark against future uncertainties.
An essential question to ponder - What are the hallmarks of an effective On-Line School?”