online classrooms for elementary school
We should probably stop calling them cyber schools (ugh. mid-90s Internet language!), but online web-based education is apparently increasingly prevalent at the primary education level. This example is a huge public State of Pennsylvania charter school: entirely online. The story predictably fawns over the technology ("raise your hand using a BUTTON!"), and asks some good questions about effectiveness statistics. But I'm more interested in the how the channel is the pedagogy, that is, how the method of non-linear chat rooms, multi-threaded content, and interactive sandboxes will affect kids later on. In five years, measure these kids against kids who are using lecture-discussion and hardcover science textbooks with desks in rows. Of course, you'd have to use a educational exam that tests ability to sort, filter, analyze and multitask: not sure this exists yet.
By the way, do you notice the key "non-digital" artifact present in this system,?
Watch Cyber Schools Gain Popularity, but Quality Questions Persist on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.
The whole question: How do kids who will live in a sea of information learn to make sense of their world? Since so many of our teachers and curriculum are still from the world of the digital immigrant: we really don't know yet how good people can be in this environment.
Oh, the "non-digital" factor is the idea of "LIVE" video for the lectures starting at a certain time. This sense of "watch-it-now-or-you'll-miss-it" time is still a holdover from the Broadcast Media age.