Saturday, October 10, 2009

Distance education

One of my professional interests, albeit a peripheral one, is distance education. I have been fascinated with the concept since I was a child, reading about Australian schools held over the radio.

Now, I am helping to build a classroom designed to make use of distance tech, video-conferencing and the like (helping the US to catch up to Australia, Canada, the UK, Germany, and much of the rest of the world). But today, I realised just how important words are to teaching at a distance: a friend made bread, based on a recipe I'd sent, and with me emailing advice occasionally. Apparently the bread turned out well, which is a good thing -- and means that at some level the lesson worked --- but there were clearly lots of problems.
And so I am reconsidering my ideas about distance ed: to take into account the small lessons I learned today. This is, of course, not very different from other lessons I learn on a daily basis, but it was quite striking to hear, at 5 or so, that the bread was expected to be a disaster, and then at 9 to hear that it had been quite edible.

So I'm left considering the question: "how do you encourage enthusiasm and a sense of possibility online?"

Yours, a-learning,

No comments: