Is online training technology keeping up?

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Online courses are exploding across the country at every level of education, and teacher training is no exception“, so says Sarah Butrymowicz of The Hechinger Report.  Sarah just wrote a fascinating piece about the online teacher training industry that was picked up by TIME Magazine.  It’s titled Can the burgeoning world of online teacher training improve public education?, and it raises a lot of great questions.

One issue that few seem to want to talk about is the state of online technology – it’s far from perfect.  It’s one thing to log in and watch a teacher live in a streaming video, there’s not much difference between that and watching a movie.  But when it comes to engaging in significant interaction, like any typical classroom might experiene, the current state of online technology doesn’t always measure up.  Intermittent interruptions in a connection, chat room echoing, and other distractions can destroy an otherwise positive learning experience.  

In the early days of online training, the typical student was tech-savvy, and struggling with such communication issues was part of the learning experience.  It’s quite the opposite in non-technical courses – such as teacher training, for example.

Sarah’s observations are informative and interesting – see her article for more.

– Steve

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