Monday, September 28, 2009

A Chance to Transform

President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are discussing the need to change the school calendar in an effort to increase the number of instructional hours for students in the U.S.
Earlier this year the president stated, "The challenges of the new century demand more time in the classroom." More time in the classroom or more time learning?

While I agree there is a need to examine ways to make certain our students will be competitive in a global economy, I wonder if sending students to school more or for longer hours is missing an opportunity to really transform the ways we offer education and learning.

This issue has many elements to it, not the least of which would be funding, but for argument's sake I'd like to focus just on the issue of time spent in the physical school vs. time spent learning.

What if we expected more learning outside of schools rather than more time in schools? What if instead of trying reform we made an effort to transform schools. Instead of more of what we are doing, what if we looked at something instead of?

Currently NCVPS offers students in North Carolina the chance to take courses and earn credit online. April Patterson is currently the contact for our district. What would happen if instead of requiring more time in the physical school building, we could provide opportunities to take more learning online and look for ways to provide Internet access to all homes in the U.S. It seems to me this might be a better way of preparing students for the future, while focusing on the digital divide in our country. 

I know that there are probably many issues I haven't anticipated, but I wonder if this isn't an opportunity to transform the model of the classroom and take a look at how learning could and should take place in a digital age.

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