I noticed US News had a recent special edition focusing on several aspects of online education ( mainly collegiate degrees ). I thought I’d repost and tweak this rant. I anticipate that one of the next big things will be the application of grid computing to drug and treatment studies on aggregated deidentified medical data made available by the nationwide healthcare information network as well as RHIOs and other health cooperatives that host electronic medical records or personal health records. The management strata of US businesses ( need I emphasize Tennessee specifically? ) need to deal with the reality of the distributed, digital enterprise as the backbone of the global corporation now ( as opposed to future ), especially for rural economic development. The lackluster rates of adoption of the telework model ( homesourcing ) as opposed to the geolocking offshoring|outsourcing model indicates that if management isn’t introduced to the virtual corporation concept in school they are not likely to "imagine" their way into this worldview on their own.
Distance Education Solves The Uncompensated k – 12 Teacher Problem
In the age of instant communications, people keep trying to fight the "lack of teachers" fight in geographic terms. We don’t need to physically bring quality teachers to every school, rather the content of their lessons. Instead of pursuing the winless battle of recruiting quality teachers everywhere for inadequate compensation, we need to build out pervasive broadband and concentrate on getting every kid computing skills. The geographically limited approach ( GEOLOCKING ) is why the Edison School’s model still struggles — no matter how well-managed the remainder of the education infrasturcture equation — it does not differentiate between the messenger and the medium, and doesn’t acknowledge the untenable approach of recruiting quality teachers everywhere for inadequate compensation.
First we should create vouchers that authorize parents to determine where their child’s money goes. Eligible to receive these funds would be any teacher in the nation, or on the planet, who is willing to offer a curriculum, and provide distance instruction. This distance and diversity approach helps home-schoolers, private schoolers and public schoolers. The laptop for every child movement heralds the only approach that introduces true competition into the educational system.
In public schools, monies can then be better spent on local aides who would help the kids with the homework rather than delivering the lesson. Peer tutoring via instant messaging and wikis can also be encouraged as a collaborative tool rather than framing the activity as "cheating." Real businesses use Jabber and SMS everyday and CMS is one of the growing areas of business knowledge management.</ed.note>