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Richard Bennett

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Is private online teaching worth it? Should we change useful traditional methods of teaching into suspicious new ones?

I have been trying to understand more in this subject last time and discovered a range of ways to get education or just some knowledge online. I must know the most famous of them: khanacademy.org , http://coursera.org/ , http://wibit.net/ , http://tutorsclass.com/

The question is: do advantages of these platforms cover their disadvantages? Should we really start teaching online instead of classrooms?

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  • Feb 11 2014: Hi Dear Richard.I think teaching online does have it's advantages as well as teaching in the classrooms does the same.

    Teaching online for people who are convenient to learn whenever they are free.But teaching in the classroom lacks it's advantage.

    Teaching in the classroom can be more emotional ,easily for teachers to have interaction with learners.the interaction is more than knowledge or skills learning.it would bring behavior affect...it means behavior model,that's why we require teachers in high quality of consciouness.I do think so far the internet tech can't be instead of reality of teaching,except someday when internet tech develop,can help people touching face to face in real:)
  • Feb 9 2014: You are making a major assumption that the traditional methods are still being used correctly or misused. I agree some online course which are just video of a bad lecture is nothing. I have had many teachers and professors who refused to allow any questions during class.

    I think we need a combination of interactions and base information supplied by reading, video, etc. I have passed courses and not attended classes except to take the exams because the lectures were a waste of time.

    Here is an interesting thought - because of the gender bias, one of the few professions women could work in was teaching. So many of the best female minds went into teaching. As more professions opened up, less of the brightest females went into teaching and more into the professions that were opening up.

    This does bring out an interesting question - can we tutor one on one using tech?
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    Feb 6 2014: Richard, my opinion is as follows:
    First, classrooms must be preferred, if possible. But online classes, permit to teach and to learn in places / moments very convenient for teacher and / or learners.
    I've learned by mean of these two systems, and although I personally appreciate the 'live' learning (classrooms), I must to say that e-learning has given to me access to matters that otherwise would be impossible to learn.
    Why not leave that both methods complement each other? In my opinion, the coexistence always means and brings enrichment, perfection.
    • Feb 13 2014: Hi Dear Sean,I think for children,Learning in classrooms is better than online.For children learning from internet can be a subsidiary for their learning.

      For adults,it depends individual completely,it is convenient and good for adults to go on further learning via internet.They can choose individually.
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        Feb 14 2014: Hi Edulover: I totally agree with you. As I wrote, learning in classrooms must be the preferred system. Nothing can replace it successfully. But online clases has very interesting advantages when direct learning isn't possible or it's incomplete. And we musn't forget the possibility of extending education to many people, with very different life systems and at a low relative cost.
        Anyway, let's do our best for promoting any initiative that allows to extend an education of quality, to the largest number of people possible.
        To me, education is as important as oxygen, for life.
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    Feb 5 2014: This talk posted last week addresses your question: http://www.ted.com/talks/anant_agarwal_why_massively_open_online_courses_still_matter.html
  • Feb 25 2014: Negative, our youth and young adults are losing real social skills due to the tech-age, let me ask you this being a student and not very interested in online classes. Should an on line class be cheaper than a actual class where you occupy space? should an online instructor get paid less for doing online classes or not get paid at all. Social interaction is the true key to education.
  • Feb 25 2014: The county I live in has an unacceptable high school drop out rate. The prescribed medication to moderate student behavior is out of control. Classroom disorder is a considerable problem. Overall academic achievement is below what it should be in light of the public expense spent per child. These problems are fairly universal according to general appraisals from what I understand. Don't look into this, it will depress you.

    In elementary school, I would change the role of the teachers and act to diffuse the natural physically energetic nature of most, especially younger, students

    Federal achievement exams are reasonable and a needed means of measuring student progress. This aspect of education seems essential in evaluating the educational system and defining important goals.

    Teachers (with exceptions, music, coaches, etc.) would not provide lessons as they do now. Their key roles would be to introduce and outline the class offered, announce approved online lessons offered for the class, take role and start each class period with a short orientation/inspirational talk and test and continually council the enrolled class students individually and in groups. Teachers would rotate class to class to the extent possible.

    Students would be encouraged to stand while taking online lessons with the ability to sit on a swinging bar stool as an option.

    Teachers would also seek to recognize and promote good deportment of individual students. Teaching is a special calling - see this TED TALK: Tyler DeWitt: Hey science teachers -- make it fun.

    Teachers and principles need to work together and experiment on altered methods and incentives to improve the effectiveness of student learning by making it more fun and rewarding. I realize these comments constitute anti-union rambling and like anything complicated there is no magic solution to fix everything, but does mandatory education need to be so damn feudal?
  • Feb 16 2014: I think that online courses will clean up a lot of the crap that we currently keep and graduate from universities. If online courses were taken before somebody could take a course in the university, and good test systems were developed (similar to the SAT for example) we would see more of the very important self-learners coming up and less of the crappy ones who could not care less but think that paying a tuition makes them worth having a title.
  • Feb 16 2014: I am a student pursuing a degree online through Arizona State University. In fact, this post itself is part of one of my projects this week. Online education has been hugely beneficial for me. It has allowed me to learn at a pace that I am comfortable with, while keeping me on track with deadlines. I love being able to pause videos and lectures to allow time for reflection or side research. My professors give prompt responses to emails when I have a question or concern. The online platform has given me opportunities to learn in ways that I never experienced in a classroom.

    I think that online education is the way of the future. Especially with the growing presence of websites like http://www.coursera.org offering free classes. This provides an opportunity for education to many people around the world that would have never received it any other way.
  • Feb 16 2014: How could it possibly be worse than selling them into the corporate slave mill like we do now?
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    Feb 11 2014: The problem that in inherent in this question is the false understanding that we receive an education through teaching, when in fact, we are all learners. We need to reemphasize the importance of self directed learning.

    THREE EMERGING PEDAGOGICAL TRENDS

    Underlying these developments are some common factors or trends:

    1. A move to opening up learning, making it more accessible and flexible. The classroom is no longer the unique centre of learning, based on information delivery through a lecture.

    2. An increased sharing of power between the professor and the learner. This is manifest as a changing professorial role, towards more support and negotiation over content and methods, and a focus on developing and supporting learner autonomy. On the student side, this can mean an emphasis on learners supporting each other through new social media, peer assessment, discussion groups, even online study groups but with guidance, support and feedback from content experts.

    3. An increased use of technology not only to deliver teaching, but also to support and assist students and to provide new forms of student assessment.

    It is important to emphasize that these are emerging pedagogical trends. More experimentation, evaluation, and research are needed to identify those that will have lasting value and a permanent effect on the system.

    http://www.contactnorth.ca/trends-directions/evolving-pedagogy-0/new-pedagogy-emergingand-online-learning-key-contributing#
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    Feb 11 2014: We have enrolled our high school sophomore son in an online public school this year (k12.com). The experience is massively positive. He saves several hours a day on buses and breaks and can focus on learning. Public schools have been closed last few days in Oregon due to snow. Not K12.com. They are open, of course. I don't have to drive my son anywhere. Flu does not spread over the Internet. Not to mention that bullying, drugs, and theft are non-existent.

    But, most importantly, he finished the last semester with all "A"s and one "B". In brick-and-mortar school, his GPA was 2.45 with one or 2 "F"s each semester. It's not due to lower standards. It's due to superior organization. In b&m school, I had no idea what the homework was until I received a report card with an "F". And then, I could not reach any teacher for comments - I did not have their phone numbers, and they did not respond to emails. In K12.com, all assignments and grades are online, available almost real time. All teachers have cell phones issued by the school and must respond to student's or parent's call within 48 hours. I receive a copy of every email sent to my son by teachers and his emails. There are live online lessons with teachers every day. There is communication with peers through online discussions. The school sends science lab equipment home to students by FedEx - microscope, chemicals, etc. There are social outings, etc., etc.

    Many kids attending the school live in areas where the closest b&m school is miles away, with little resources available. The beauty is that students and teachers can be located anywhere. My son can work anywhere, any time. Logistically, it's so much easier to manage - no buses with schedules, drivers, routes; no buildings to maintain.

    I can go on and on, but I can say that this was the best education decision for my son we made in years. I, personally, think, online education is the future.
    • Feb 13 2014: Hi Dear Arkady,glad to know your son got execellent from internet learning:).It is the most important for colleges or univerisities to learn from internet,I strongly support them to learn from interent more instead of listening to professors in univeristy classrooms.But for some really very excel professors lectures,get the chance to learn from them face to face is never a bad thing.
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        Feb 13 2014: "Face-to-face" refers to the method of interaction. It can be done online as well.
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    Feb 6 2014: I have some experience of online learning - at university, all lectures were filmed and put up on the intranet for students to view. The theory was they were used to revise but in reality it meant people never went to the lectures. The face-to-face interaction offers a much more stimulating way of learning, as well as an opportunity to participate and ask questions. Of course, if it was a skype-type private lesson, things might be different. I personally find computers very distracting devices - I'm often flicking between tabs on the internet and skim reading one thing whilst listening to a podcast. I think it's an uneffective way of learning.

    In terms of younger children, I think it runs the risk of children becoming computer-dependent in terms of spelling and handwriting and of course, a lack of human interaction. The benefits? It's possible we might be able to achieve something more interactive but personally, I think you could easily do this in a classroom too.
    • Feb 13 2014: Hi Dear Graihagh,I couldn't agree with you more.Infact it is convenient for us to learn from internet.But because of large information and lots of distracting things online to disturb you to focus on learning.So Learning from internett it requires people to know how to learn independently,how to manage our learning well...high qulity of perseverance...motivation...keep thinking...

      I have learned English from internet by myself for more than ten years...my motivation comes from my teaching job,because I think being a teacher,I would like my students to fond of studying as well as I should do the same thing to guide them.