January 18, 2011

Classrooms with no teachers? Of course not.

These aren't "classrooms." These are "e-learning labs." If they were "classrooms," they'd be covered by Florida’s Class Size Reduction Amendment.

You know what would be a good subject to teach in an e-learning lab? How to Evade Legal Requirements.

28 comments:

knox said...

How do you learn calculus from a computer? That would have been a nightmare for me in high school.

Trooper York said...

I told you we should replace all teachers with robots.

MadisonMan said...

Were I a parent, I'd be pissed not to have been notified that this was happening.

School Districts need to know that they cannot change things willy-nilly without letting parents in on the coming changes. Things like they do at West High here -- making changes RIGHT NOW (to meet a printing deadline!!!!) -- totally bogus!

Alas, that means ceding some control, and Superintendents are nothing if they're not control freaks.

Luke Lea said...

Class size reduction is an over-rated solution in any case. Better to have web cams in the class rooms to police student misbehavior, weed out incompetent teachers.

edutcher said...

Well, anything that rids the schools of union teachers can't be all bad...

Seriously, I've taken a couple of classes like this, albeit with a mentor available for help if needed, and it's not a bad way to go. I can see problems in the early primary grades or with slow learners, but, other than that, it's a good way to stretch resources.

Luke Lea said...

Class size reduction is an over-rated solution in any case. Better to have web cams in the class rooms to police student misbehavior, weed out incompetent teachers.

Reduced class size is like Ritalin. Something to help union teachers get out of doing their job.

Pogo said...

If you can't make the teacher's union cut costs, they'll cut teachers.


And the teachers will fight any reduction in their unsustainable pension/benefit programs tooth and nail. So the only answers are(1) No teachers or (2) vouchers for private schools.

They only have themselves to blame.

Pastafarian said...

My family moved when I was in high school, and the new school only had one geometry class and one chemistry class, at the same time. So I had to choose one, and take the other solo.

I studied geometry on my own, taking tests during study halls.

This wasn't a handicap; it was a huge help. I learned that subject better than any other in high school.

I wonder how necessary teachers are. I wonder if they could be replaced by "facilitators" in many classes and situations. Given the quality of high school teachers coming out of departments of education these days, I'd say that having no teacher might be better than having a bad teacher.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Given the low quality of education that students are getting now, how could it be any worse?

I've taken E-learning classes as preparation for taking certification tests for my licenses with as many as 60 participants.

Using the Web, voice lecturing from the instructor, email and the ability to ask questions during the on-line class via typing in your question or in some cases via voice, it is very efficient.

You DO have to be motivated and prepared. Read the material before the online class so that you are ready to understand what the instructor is saying. If you aren't motivated and prepared, it doesn't matter WHAT type of teaching environment you provide when the student is determined to fail and bring others down with him/her.

The technology that we have now can provide a better learning experience in many types of classes.

Why not?

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I can understand parents wanting to have had notice, but it sounds like a great idea, at least used in moderation. Students definitely can use the opportunity to learn discipline and self-motivation, and many might find that they understand the material much better when it doesn't go through the teacher's filter.

Try it, see how it works, improve from there. We could use a lot more of that in education.

- Lyssa

bgates said...

Sugata Mitra has some very interesting experiments into this kind of thing.

How do you learn calculus from a computer?

You read text and/or watch video of a lecture with worked examples, then you try to solve related problems on your own, then the computer lets you know if you got any wrong, and by this point probably identifies the nature of your mistakes. If you get stuck, you search for "indefinite integrals" or whatever; do that a few times and you identify sites that present the material in a way that makes sense to you, so future searches become easier.

Kirk Parker said...

After 19 years in the classroom, my wife is now teaching high school math online. It seems to work pretty good for the students who are motivated, and not so well for the ones that one to blow off their studies. I'm not particularly sure how this is any different than the situation in brick-and-mortar classrooms...

John Burgess said...

Rather than 'evade', how about 'avoid'? Less skullduggery involved.

After all, the WV tells us to be discreet: skyspeco

deborah said...

Like this, knox. Watch the vid at the top, then scroll down and see what this one guy teaches.

lol your dog is adorable.

Tertium Quid said...

Learning generally takes place within a community, whether as small as a homeschool or large as Columbine HS.

Until we recognize this truth, we will remain disappointed in our sociological experiments that have nothing to do with the human experience of learning.

traditionalguy said...

They should call this new way to educate the young the Wikipaedia Method. Imparting the language of the subject through repeated application is a part of learning. Then the students can hire a moonlighting teacher to better organize their approach. Only seeing and hearing another real live person speak about what you have just learned some things about fixes the usefulness of that education attempt into a student.

campy said...

Wouldn't "How to Parse Words and Exploit Loopholes" be a more civil, positive course title?

Suburbanbanshee said...

No, we'll call this educational method "Wikipaedeia".

BTW, I like Knox's avatar pic. :)

peter hoh said...

Laying the foundations for the Wikipedia School of Law. Hey, all you gotta do is pass that high stakes test at the end, right?

edutcher said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I've taken E-learning classes as preparation for taking certification tests for my licenses with as many as 60 participants.

Using the Web, voice lecturing from the instructor, email and the ability to ask questions during the on-line class via typing in your question or in some cases via voice, it is very efficient.

You DO have to be motivated and prepared. Read the material before the online class so that you are ready to understand what the instructor is saying. If you aren't motivated and prepared, it doesn't matter WHAT type of teaching environment you provide when the student is determined to fail and bring others down with him/her.


We've been in the same boat, DBQ, and you're right about the preparation and motivation. This places a great deal of responsibility on the student (perhaps a good thing for our young barbarians) to get the job done, but, when completed, I think it may give an extra boost in real self-esteem.

MadisonMan said...

Students definitely can use the opportunity to learn discipline and self-motivation,

As noted above, yes, you do need a good amount of this. It's the kind of thing you want to know about the class before you sign up.

The class I teach is all on-line, and it's definitely not for all students. Some need to be led to the water to drink it, so to speak, some can find their way quite capably on their own. If you're in the needs-to-be-led category, stay away.

R.L. Hunter said...

"You know what would be a good subject to teach in an e-learning lab? How to Evade Legal Requirements. "

Isn't there an app for that?

MarkW said...

Good--provided, of course, the students and parents were notified in advance. I wish a teacherless option was available a few years ago when, in HS, my son took a couple of distance-learning courses. The 'courseware' was really excellent, and it could have been a great independent study experience. But (presumably because of contract requirements) there was an instructor assigned to simulate the classroom experience, imposing pointless deadlines and extra assignments, which made the experience almost as annoying as a regular classroom.

Calypso Facto said...

I agree e-learning isn't for everyone, but the online coursework I've done was some of the best eduction I've encountered. Much more difficult than the in-class equivalents I took.

We have the opposite of this Florida issue here in Wisconsin, as I understand it, with the number of kids ALLOWED to virtual school restricted by the Department of Public Instruction.

Trooper York said...

Preferable the Fembots!

Just sayn'

Trooper York said...

Uaing robots like that is one way to get boys to pay attention in school.

It's gonna happen, I promise you.

knox said...

Deborah, I guess I can see how video (done right) could work.

I so vividly remember having teachers who would work out problems on the chalkboard... versus ones who would just slap something on the overhead projector (the '80s version of PowerPoint!). I learned so much better watching the teachers work it out as they went.

and... my dog is adorable, I won't deny it! She tears around with my 3- and 5-year old and is unfailingly gentle and sweet. I am going to update my avatar, as that is a somewhat old photo.

deborah said...

Yes, overhead projectors are quite depressing, especially when the tranparencies are too light.

I remember the first time I took Algebra in 9th grade. I was mesmerized watching the teacher solve the problems. They struck me like puzzles.

Also, if you go to the Open Course sites at MIT, UC Berkeley, etc., you can watch taped lectures; math, philosophy, etc.

Looking forward to the new avatar :)

Freeman Hunt said...

If they're using K12, it's probably better than half the classrooms with teachers.