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Online Learning Changing the Game for Teachers and Students
posted by: Alix | October 26, 2010, 04:29 PM   

The internet has revolutionized everything in our lives, from paying bills to shopping. Education is now well on its way to being revolutionized by the internet with online learning programs being adopted in school systems across the country. This technology is enabling teachers and students alike to tailor their day based on these new and innovative tools.

In one Connecticut middle school, students are learning Mandarin Chinese live from an instructor based in Beijing. Using software called myChinese 360, students log in to an internet site that live-streams their instructor. Once logged on, students can participate, ask questions and follow along with the lesson as if they were in the room with their teacher. They even press a button to "virtually" raise their hands.

"We probably couldn't have done this all that well two or three years ago, but the technology has become so advanced that we can basically communicate anywhere in the world with multiple numbers of people that allows us to talk just like over a phone line.... Perfectly synchronized, no echo and no delay," said myChinese 360 Sr. Vice President Steve Niederman during an interview.

The technology is similar to Skype video chat, only that it can be used simultaneously with multiple users. The software started with 25 school children and is now up to 500. The company anticipates 4,000 participants by the end of next year.

In a different school district in Columbus, Ohio, teachers and students are participating in a far less exotic but practical online learning system. Due to harsh Ohio winters, students miss out on instructional days. This year with the supervision of the Ohio Department of Education, one school district will replace inclement weather days with online instruction by area teachers.

Department officials claim this system could spell the end to snow days and lost instruction time. Mississinawa Superintendent Lisa Wendel explained that this system will prepare students for college where online learning is prevalent.

"Virtual is the new frontier in education," said Assistant Principal Olkowski from the Connecticut school. Certainly technology is changing the game for students and teachers who can teach around a more flexible schedule.

What do you think of these two ideas? Is this the future of education?
Comment below.

Comments (1)Add Comment
RSP/SDC Lang Arts, SS teacher, 7th grade
written by Jeanie Zimmer, Fontana California, October 26, 2010

I believe technology is forth coming, and a way of today's society. Many students engage in learning easier with on-line learning, yet I also believe it really takes away the personal touch of the classroom. I personally wouldn't do well with on-line learning, as I am not disciplined enough to sit down and be in class, and I enjoy the live interaction too much at the University campus. I do however, believe that some of our future leaders who are computer savvy can and will do well with on-line learning.

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