TED Conversations

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: 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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