Posts Tagged rscon10

Reflection on Online Education and the Reform Symposium

I’ve been teaching online for six years and have worked for multiple schools and programs around the country teaching Social Studies and Social Media courses along with training teachers how to teach online.  It’s a very interesting field largely because it feels like such an experiment on a daily basis.  Even though I am immersed in this segment of education, when I chat with people in my personal learning network I usually feel a little bit on the outskirts discussing this topic.  I’ve found a few online educators who teach outside of my schools, but its very few and makes up less than 10% of my network.

When I found out about the 2010 Reform Symposium, I contacted one of the organizers, Kelly Tenkely, about speaking on the topic of online education.  I have presented on social media in the classroom and personal learning networks amongst other topics over the last 4 years, but I have yet to speak about online education as a major player in the future of education.  I was really excited when my proposal was accepted.

The guiding question for research on my presentation was  “Will Online Learning Change Everything?”

The simple answer is yes….and no.  It is growing very rapidly but there are many roadblocks to its continual expansion.  By expansion I mean, its ability to offer students a viable option instead of attending “traditional” public schools.  It’s major impact in the field right now is in supplemental courses like credit recovery, electives and Advanced Placement options for students, but to really change the education system as a whole it would have to grow as a replacement to full-time four walled schools and that’s where the major social and political roadblocks limit its ability to reform.

It was exciting to present about this topic to mostly educators who were not in the field.  They asked some amazing questions and sounded genuinely surprised at how quickly online education had spread throughout the U.S. in the last few years.  It reminded me of when I presented in early 2007 about Web 2.0 tools and people were very interested but leery about their potential back then.  I only hope that in 3 years from now, online education will be as accepted among many educators as social media is now, even though both have a tremendous way to go to be accepted in the mainstream education system.

Reform Symposium

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The 2010 Reform Symposium E-Conference

I am really excited to be involved with the Reform Symposium. The focus of the conference this year is innovation in education, and I will be presenting about online education in a session called Will Online Learning Change Everything? My session is on Saturday, July 31st at 9:30 PST. Here is the presentation description:

This session will examine the meteoric rise of online and hybrid schools and what it means for education.  We will talk about student learning, noticeable differences in teaching strategies, corporate influence, and the future effects on traditional classrooms.

I’m excited to be presenting and truly honored to be in a great group of educators participating in the conference. I interact with many of these people in my personal learning network and have had the pleasure of meeting some of them face to face over the last three years. They have great things to say about education, and it will be worth stopping by for a listen.

I encourage all of you to sign up if you have the time and stop by and see what people have to say about innovation in the classroom and education reform. You might find something that changes your entire view of education or just something that will make a single lesson a little bit better for your students. either way, there is a good chance you walk away a better teacher. I know I will, and can’t wait for some of these presentations. Best of all, it’s free!

Stop by The Reform Symposium website to sign up and look around.

Thanks to The Nerdy Teacher for letting me cross-post some of his blog about this same topic. #rscon10

The Reform Symposium

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