Virtually here

Virtual learning is the future — the very near future — but there are troubling signs it “may not transform American education, but instead replicate many of its worst features,” writes Bill Tucker on Education Sector.

Even the annual “Keeping Pace with K–12 Online Learning” report, sponsored by a number of leading online learning organizations, cautions that “purchasing practices are outpacing available measures of quality.”

Virtual learning models are evolving to include “sophisticated gaming, adaptive assessment, and a variety of social networking platforms,” Tucker writes. We need to be “open to new formats, methods, and providers — including public, nonprofit, and private.”

But new isn’t always better. And traditional districts and businesses may resist innovation and “lack incentives to adopt new and potentially more productive and effective options.”

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  1. Diana Senechal says:

    Indeed, new isn’t always better. One of the things that concerns me about virtual learning is the potential for great tackiness (which accompanies a certain dumbing down). Little cartoons telling kids they’re doing great; little “Like” icons; “content-based” Twitter; lots and lots of multiple-choice questions; etc. There are some wonderful resources online and wonderful things that can be done online. But I am not sure that the commercial efforts will be toward excellence.

  2. I think though that you can be sure that government efforts won’t be towards excellence.

    There’s certainly been ample time and far more ample funding to ensure that the pursuit of excellence should’ve produced some results. The vitality of alternatives to the conventional, district-based approach to public education argues against any convincing evidence, or any evidence at all, that government solution’s have resulted in a pursuit of excellence let alone the achievement of excellence.


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