Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Does anyone think this is a good idea?

15 Chicago schools could see longer days
Pilot program would add 90 minutes of online education using nonteachers


In an effort to extend what is one of the nation's shortest school days, Chicago Public Schools plans to add 90 minutes to the schedules of 15 elementary schools using online courses and nonteachers, sources said.

By employing nonteachers at a minimal cost to oversee the students, the district can save money and get around the teachers' contract...

The program's cost is expected to exceed $10 million, the majority of which will be spent on capital improvements like technological infrastructure, wiring and broadband, a source said...
I need to see more about this, but it doesn't pass the "on-the-face-of-it" test. For those of us concerned about quality in online education, this doesn't sound like it's an effort to improve student learning, just something to extend the "seat time" mentality of judging learning.

I hope there's more to it than it appears with this article. The journalist adds a nice sentence at the end of the article which is basically accurate:
While there is limited research regarding the effectiveness of online schools, what is out there is largely positive. In some cases, research has shown that online learning can be better than face-to-face instruction.
but I'm not sure how it applies to the program in Chicago.



Matt Wicks said...

Ray -- I agree that we need more information to know if this is a good or bad idea. For example, if the students are interacting with an online teacher and the non-teaching staff is providing the supervision and structure for these students, then it could be an excellent idea. On the other hand, it could be pretty much self-study stuff with little instruction going on and the non-teaching staff are little more than babysitters. Unfortunately, the article is so short on specifics it is hard to kinow where on the spectrum of possibilities this program falls.

Matthew Wicks

monika hardy said...

the online piece is a great idea. we should all be doing that already. our vision is contact with an expert tutor per the kid's passion.

i don't think we should be adding seat time. in some/most cases.. we should be taking it away.

we need to gracefully, respectively, yet boldly question all the assumptions we have about how things should be done.

Jason Fried's Rework is a great place to start.