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View Diary: A partial response to Bill Gates' op ed about teachers (247 comments)

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  •  e-learning is good for self-starters (0+ / 0-)

    it is not so useful for kids who are struggling or who are not already digging into the material.

    It is also simply a fact that most schools don't have access to enough technology to make it practical for a large number of students. Computer networks of size require their own full time IT staff to maintain even when your users are carefully selected adults. When you have teens that are perhaps not always benign in their intentions, it's more challenging.

    Buying the computers is an issue, maintaining the computers is an issue, and even in the most mundane needs - computers require a significant ongoing maintenance budget.

    There are schools that can't keep their classrooms supplied with pencils and paper because of money. Now imagine you need to replace $100 laptop batteries every other year for each student.

    E-learning is not really a money saver. What it does do is provide opportunities to deliver more individualized lessons. But, to truly take advantage of those capabilities probably requires more cost and more people than we have now.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 07:13:07 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Depends on the District. (0+ / 0-)
      It is also simply a fact that most schools don't have access to enough technology to make it practical for a large number of students. Computer networks of size require their own full time IT staff to maintain even when your users are carefully selected adults.

      But I know the district my girls go to school in already has a capable IT staff and substantial computer assets in the classrooms.

      You don't have to double the size of the IT staff if you double the # of computers in the classes, either.

      The administration has done virtually nothing designed to reward its partisans. - Kos 8/31/10

      by Rick Aucoin on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 10:48:21 PM PST

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    •  This has been my experience (0+ / 0-)

      I do an online course:  I was an early adopter, by choice.  I'm always willing to try something new.  My students give online courses mixed reviews.  What it does NOT do is save money.  It only really works, for real learning, if there is a real person on the other end who is able to help.  That takes time, often more time than in person instruction.  Institutions also (again, first hand experience) do not want to put the money and time into course design, and re-design, which is what you have to do in order not to have a hunk of junk.

      It can be enriching.  It can provide access to off-campus learners, and I am a big fan of it for working parents especially.  But it is not a magic cost-saving bullet.

      •  For us, a rural district (0+ / 0-)

        it gives our kids, especially the gifted kids, access to classes - including college credit classes through the local community college - that we don't have the resources to offer as standalone courses. We can't run a class with 2 kids who want to learn Mandarin, but we could access an online course and provide support to kids who will put in the time to work it out. (We are getting bandwidth this year through e-rate, so we would be able to handle high quality video feeds, for example.) And similarly, we can give access to advanced mathematics with the support of our math instructor for when they hit a wall.

        But for kids who don't work independently, it is no advantage unless it is short modules with progress being monitored by the in-person teacher.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 11:43:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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