I felt defensive about the author’s views on this. He begins with a list of student- generated attributes of online learning (work around busy schedule, courses more challenging, etc.). And then proposes that online learning is “old wine in a new bottle that’s being motivated more by economics and convenience than good or better design” and then he wonders, “what those online students have learned more or better than the ones who took the course in a classroom.I have problems with his statements. First, calling instructional method and content “old wine” is an insult. What we as instructors provide to our students has been crafted with care with the student’s success in mind. It does not have to culminate in their being ambassadors to the world. The success in completing course requirements can in itself be such a reward for a student that she or he can then open up to more learning and independent thinking and these requirements do (because we care and are effective teachers ) offer many ways for students to demonstrate their “intelligences”. Who is he criticizing in this blog? No one I know.
Richardson describes the last 10 years in education in the US as unchanging. He writes that “With a very few well documented exceptions, it’s a planned, linear, for the most part standardized process, one that allows everyone to recognize what being “educated” means at the end of the day.” I take exception to this. He is making a big generalization that discounts the creativity and progressive teaching/learning happening in, yes, public school classrooms! He suggests that this inferior method is “…narrative most of us share, at least those of us who didn’t drop out or choose homeschooling as our option. “ This implies to me that somehow these options are preferred! Homeschooling has both positive, negative, and neutral effects on students as most of us know.
I think comparing what Finns are planning for the future of education with the US trajectory could be a stretch. Richardson asks, “Why aren’t more of us here in the States not seeing these trends and their impact on education more clearly?” I think it is directly related to unwillingness for the “education people” in the US to admit we can learn something from other countries and a feeling of general financial insecurity. In times like this, a fear of change can prevail.