Online learning offers K-12 schools the potential to support 21st century learning and is an emerging technology that could shape the future of our educational system. Course Management Systems, such as Moodle or RCampus give students of all abilities the chance to supplement and improve their education while taking courses online. However, the implementation of online schools does have some weaknesses and faces some opposition.
There are many arguments that I would anticipate from my colleagues who resist online learning. An argument that I would face at my school district would be the lack of technological resources and training. According to Gillard & Bailey (2007), “the level of support that educators receive as they are adopting and implementing new skills and knowledge significantly impacts the success rate”. Given the proper training online education could thrive in a rural setting, like Reedsville. “Teachers need support specific to the technology they are planning to implement, and they need it when they are preparing to use the technology with their students” (Gillard & Bailey, 2007). The Reedsville School District would benefit by giving students more class choices, via online courses created by technologically trained teachers.
Another way my colleagues would be to question the effectiveness of online education. Lemke and Coughlin explain that technology is changing the way people learn in the 21st century; with the unlimited amount of information on the internet, how people learn is vastly changing as well (2009). A poll of registered voters found that 80% said that public education is not working (Young, Birtolo, & McElman). Traditional education needs to change because our students are changing and the skills they need to succeed in the future are changing too.
Although there are many reasons why schools do not use online classes, they are missing many benefits. Teachers given the proper training can create online courses that supplements current educational programs. The ability to develop 21st century skills, accommodate different learning abilities, and collaborate with students worldwide makes online learning a small part of where education is now and gives a huge clue of where it is heading into the future.
Gillard, S., & Bailey, D. (2007). Technology in the classroom: Overcoming obstacles, reaping rewards. The International Journal of Learning, 14(1), 87–93.
Young, J., Birtolo, P., & McElman, R. (2009). Virtual success: Transforming education through online learning. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(5), 12–17. Retrieved from the Education Research Complete database.
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