Monday, September 8, 2008

Can E-Learning Strategies Help Us in Face to Face Classrooms? (part 2)

From lecturer to facilitator
Online learning changes the role of a teacher. If the online class is designed properly, the teacher becomes a guide on the side instead of a sage on the stage. We know already that this is how a face to face classroom should be too, but lecturing still seems all too prevalent. Again, in a face to face classroom, we can have the best of both worlds. There are times when the best way to convey a piece of content is with a short lecture, but it doesn't have to be the main teaching strategy. Ironically, by looking at the design of online courses, we can gain many ideas for how to make the face to face classroom more interactive.

Do what you can't do without the technology
I listened to a NECC 2008 session by David Thornburg posted as a podcast by Wesley Fryer at Moving at the Speed of Creativity this week. When teachers are first given technology to use, they tend to use it to do things they normally do without the technology like word processing. We need to do more as teachers. We need to use technology to do things that we could not do if we didn't have it. Droste and Droste say that each year at Virtual High School "6,000 students have gotten to know other students and teachers from around the globe, exchanging knowledge, ideas, and perspectives in ways that can't happen in a traditional classroom," (p. 57). A teacher in Ohio said that online learning should "not only supplement, but transcend their normal high school experience," (p. 62). Our challenge as face to face classroom teachers is to use technology to do things with students that we could not do otherwise. We need to transcend their normal classroom experience and give them much more. But, we also must remember that learning is about learning, not about technology. "The technology will face into the background as a catalyst to a learning revolution," (Maeroff, p. 70). Technology is "nothing more than the world's fastest school buses," (Droste and Droste, p. 59).
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