Monday, November 14, 2011

Online learning and NCLB rigidity are on a collision course.

A long time ago, the only source of knowledge in a classroom or one room school house was the teacher. The model hasn't changed; the teacher is still an "essential" element in funneling a world of knowledge into empty heads.

Except that there is now the internet, and the world of knowledge is a mouse click away (all but public records anyway).

The vast majority of kids without legitimate learning disabilities, don't need teachers. They need data, explanation, and someone to keep them from acting like children (or worse) when they're supposed to be learning.

It is a statistical certainty that there are children who function best in cemetery seating; five rows of six kids doing exactly the same thing, at exactly the same time and at exactly the same speed. In a system where the goal is to meet individual needs, the need to learn communally would be recognized.

If we allow children to learn at their own speed; if we allow children to learn as fast and as much as they want, will we expect them to still learn in the same direction at the same time? Why?

At some point, school has to mean something to employers. A high school diploma has to mean that the bearer has certain skills that employers need. That point, is the only point where students need to be at the same place at the same time with the same bare minimum.

How they get to that place can really follow any path, can it not?

Individual educational paths are diametric opposite to the requirements of standards based testing. The most fundamental premise of standards based testing is that students have to be in the same place at the same time.

The premise is fundamentally wrong. It flies in the face of everything we know about children. It tests only ability to herd kittens without ever questioning whether herding kittens should be a goal at all, much less the primary one.

The goal is to create independent lifelong learners.
The objective is to create them as soon as is possible.

eLearning is not the future of education, it is the now.

NCLB standards based assessment is anathema, now.

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