As the quarantine continues on for many states, Illinois for example, and the school year is coming to a halt for most earlier than expected, there is currently a demand by a few governors that we continue to change the face of education for everyone.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently stated he is unsure why school buildings still exist and all of us should take this opportunity to reimagine education forever. Cuomo is talking about a radical idea of closing down schools and instead of having students use technology to take classes through video conferencing and email from anywhere in the world. It appears that Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the richest person on the planet, and Cuomo would like to work together to use tech to further what education could be from here on out.
“The old model of everybody goes and sits in the classroom, and the teacher is in front of that classroom and teaches that class, and you do that all across the city, all across the state, all these buildings, all these physical classrooms — why, with all the technology you have?” Cuomo wondered.
He Is Not Alone
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker recently also stated that schools should look into more e-learning from here on out as well. Even when the quarantine is lifted, Pritzker said we should look into changing how schools operate and students learn.
Not All Are So Willing to Jump Back into E-Learning
Both parents and teachers have realized during this crisis that e-learning can be difficult to manage. It involves open communication with teachers, parents, and students as they all work together to ensure that proper learning is happening on every level. Unfortunately, for many educators, it has been like pulling teeth to get many families to buy into e-learning.
Plus, income disparity has widened the divide as well. Many families can’t afford to have a parent at home assisting their kids with e-learning or even have the tech available to complete their classes.
Broaden Tech Knowledge
One obstacle in the way is that there are thousands of educators that do not feel comfortable with their tech ability. They fear they lack the knowledge to approach a new learning style using technology.
They may have good reason to wonder if they have what it takes. Some teachers have been in their classroom well before the internet was a common thing. If you have a staff that could use a technology cram session, iAchieve can help with our solid professional development workshops.
Education in the United States Has Been Almost Impossible to Change for Centuries
While there are those that certainly agree with a need to change how education is brought to the students, there are also numerous people that would not like to see it change so dramatically.
Education in America has not wandered much from the one-room schoolhouse from centuries ago. The only difference is that more staff has been added right along with more rooms. In addition, the government has become more involved and brought right along with them the notion that all students must take standardized exams early and often.
New York State United Teachers’ President Andy Pallotta had his own ideas about how education can change, and it does not involve using more technology according to his statement. “If we want to reimagine education, let’s start with addressing the need for social workers, mental health counselors, school nurses, enriching arts courses, advanced courses, and smaller class sizes in school districts across the state. Let’s secure the federal funding and new state revenues through taxes on the ultrawealthy that can go toward addressing these needs. And let’s recognize educators as the experts they are by including them in these discussions about improving our public education system for every student.”
What Does the Future Hold?
While expecting older students, perhaps in junior high and high school, to manage the challenges of e-learning should be acceptable, it could be very difficult for the younger kids.
It may be impossible for quite some time to rely on e-learning for primary and middle school students. Toddlers are managing to learn technology early on through phones and tablets, but we may be still some time before they can manage their classes sitting in their homes at the kitchen table.
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