NCTE’s Inbox flagged this one for me.  And here’s another subject in the changing landscape of school in the 21st century that I’m ambivalent about.

I fear what will be lost in a push for online classrooms, I’ll admit it. 

But other educators urged caution, noting that teacher-student interaction is irreplaceable.

Yet, I also think the possibilities are exciting, both for the students taking these classes and the prospect of my teaching one of the courses.  The technology is certainly giving us the freedom to move in this direction.  As long as the rigor of the curriculum is not lost to the gadgetry.  Ah, the recurring dilemma of School 2.0.

The quote that resonated the most with me came from Ken Ellwein, executive director of the Lutheran high school in Orange County:

“To keep technology away from kids while they’re going to school, when
they have it in every other part of their lives — it just doesn’t make
sense.”

It’s a searching statement, to be sure.  What do we as individual educators do in our own curriculum?  Are we doing our best to hold to the way we’ve always done things and keep these new-fangled Web 2.0 tools out of the way?  Do we limit lab time?  Put so many blocks on our system that they can’t get to anything of meaning or use any of the tools?

Yes, once again, there needs to be a balance. (I should add that I feel blessed to work in a district that seems to be constantly trying to find that balance.)  So, we block MySpace.  Is there a lot of educational value being lost blocking that? No, not when there are much, much better tools out there for networking in an academically meaningful way.

But what about IM and chat? What do we do when we know that students could be using these, with our direction, to have meaningful conversation about a collaborative project with other students (or experts) half way around the world?

And the questions just keep coming…