Comments about ‘Clayton M. Christensen: Online learning for student-centered innovation’

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Published: Tuesday, March 8 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

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Screwdriver
Casa Grande, AZ

My daughter is going to Jr. High online with K12 dot you know. It's ok but the teachers have 100 or more students and in the end I've had to hire a tutor to suppliment her learning in math.

The online lessons are good but there is no substitute for a good teacher. Paying $30 a week per subject for a tutor isn't for everyone.

She'll be going to public high school because I think she'll be better prepared for college and she's going crazy without other kids to talk to - something to consider.

open minded
Lehi, UT

Online learning is nothing more than glorified bookwork that so many parents complain about from teachers. My kids teachers help them think beyond the text by asking probing questions based on my kids responses. Let's not forget that the social skills learned in school can never be replaced elsewhere- just look at most home schooled kids and their lack of social skills.

In My Humble Opinion
South Jordan, UT

open minded | 7:26 a.m. March 8, 2011
Lehi, UT

Let's not forget that the social skills learned in school can never be replaced elsewhere- just look at most home schooled kids and their lack of social skills.

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Yes, let us not forget the benefit of social skills learned by Mickey Costanzo and Kody Cree Patten at West Wendover High.

Yes, interacting with other students can be good, and I stress "can", but anyone with a background in statistics can understand that the traditional learning model is designed to accommodate the average/majority which falls within one standard deviation of the bell curve. The brighter and slower than average are poorly served, and as Clayton described, who is bright, average or slow can vary by subject.

His citing "blended learning" as a step in the right direction is exactly that -- a step in the right direction. Blended learning can be implemented by the schools, by the parent and by the student. We plan to do so at our house, and hope the school system does as well. Your child's progress benefits society as does mine.

S.Andrew Zaelit
Salt Lake City, UT

The infusion of technology into the classroom is a critical and necessary step in educating our students. While many may be wary of online education this mode of learning has a valuable place at the K thru 12 levels. Many universities around the country use elements of online learning in their own course modules. There are aspects of learning that online education fails to deliver such as social skills but proactive parents can remedy those deficiencies. The major criticism of online learning seems to be that it is a cop out for the true rigors of traditionally delivered coursework, as if the physical classroom is the only true way to gain knowledge. This outdated attitude is perpetuated not so much by ignorance as arrogance and fear. Students are diverse and learn at different rates. If a student is being held back because 30 other individuals are not at the same level then that should be unacceptable to all of us. We must embrace all aspects of education and think outside the preprogrammed box in order to survive the 21st Century. The world of learning is changing and our schools must change with it.

Charles History
Tooele, UT

Look at the numbers, (what a great money making idea, grab a few ignorant groups and we will make millions).

Students that believe that it is easier then school find out that it is more difficult, (no help and all the book work that you can deal with).

Check out their graduation rate and how many children prosper.

But it is going to make a few people real rich, (at the expense of the tax payers and the youth of this state).

ktg
SLC, Utah

There are so many benefits to "idependent learning". So many students are wasting time and money in classes they could easily complete in a shorter time than the traditional semester time frame. All students learn at different paces, so why are we cramming them all in the same style mold. Students that are advanced learners are held back while those that learn at a slower pace are left behind. The solution lies somewhere between a traditional classroom and a complete independent study model. The insturctor works as a facilitator and students move through at their own speed, with a teacher available for help and tutoring. The current UCAT model works in this manner.

Nethseaar
Carlisle, PA

@ open minded

Bookwork indeed, and that's more the problem with our present system, I think.
But for homeschoolers lacking social skills, I don't see why it needs to be that way. Conceivably, homeschoolers in a community could meet together for certain aspects of their education, taking advantage of parents' skills. Projects and activities such as team sports, musical groups, discussion groups and theatrical performances could ensure excellent social development, to say nothing of religious and youth groups.

I am all for education being largely privatized, though I maintain that it may be beneficial to maintain a public system. That way there can be true competition and development in the area. Faulty, ineffective methods will necessarily die, while the successful will promote itself -- and if you don't want to pay for an education, you can group together as a community and/or do it yourself. If the public system is to remain, it must take on some form of competition as well; perhaps private organizations can take on publicly funded students? But that would have to be carefully controlled; based on need, not want.

Demosthenes
Rexburg, ID

Just like classroom instruction, online learning can be done well or poorly. But because it is a new and evolving tool, very few are qualified to set up effective online learning. My fear is that there will be a rush to create online courses for creation's sake, and they will be done poorly.

Kitenoa
Salt Lake City, UT

The "one shoe fits all" approach to student learning is one of the major institutionalized problems perpetuated in public education today. Extensive individual failures in learning (the basic language and math skills) have been the results, especially with students who don't fit THE mold. Just look at our inner city schools with their diverse population and variable student learning needs. Low achievement scores.

What a breath of fresh air it is, to recommend other disruptive approaches challenging the status quo, to further improve customized student learning. In my view, these technological tools, teaching options, and blended learning strategies, can compliment the traditional one teacher per class room learning environment.

jp3
Salt Lake City, UT

Where is the data that proves online learning is effective? Without the hard numbers, this is just one man's opinion--and I'd say an irresponsible opinion without any kind of empirical foundation.

Mary E Petty
Sandy, UT

Because of the unwillingness of the legally-accredited university/college community to provide the post-secondary degree programs for 21st Century careers,like Professional Genealogy Research Services, including Forensic Genealogy, student innovation is driving innovation. As these old schools have experienced their cheese being moved by disrupting colleges, they have held tight to their prejudiced old views of what students want in a vocation, even as it is professionalizing. They have been unwilling to innovate.

In Professional Genealogy Research Services we have had to do this for ourselves, innovate as the demand for forensic genealogy and Certified Family Trees© are called for by consumers and practitioners. We have had to venture out and create our own post-secondary degree programs and work for higher-ed formal accreditation; which slows the process of acceptance by the professional genealogy community. Hence most professional genealogists are in name-only and have no post-secondary degree in the field of genealogy. And consumers suffer.

An online master's degree program at Heritage Genealogical College is in development for Forensic Genealogy. I am currently a student in that degree program and my thesis highlights this professionalization movement: Forensic Genealogy/Professional Genealogy Vision 2020.

Go West
Kearns, UT

Amen to Clayton's article. Virtual school is not for everyone, just like sitting in a distracting classroom isn't for everyone.

We belong to a virtual charter school. And since joining the school, our children are more confident and sociable. When they went to local neighborhood school, their socialization was profanity, vulgarity, bullies, and fair-weather friends. Our children play with friends often, there are also lots of social activities and play groups with other kids who have online school at home. They are so much nicer and polite. Yep a bunch of weirdos to be sure.

Online charter schools cost much less to operate than conventional public schools. If more people who are looking for superior curriculum and are willing and able to would sign up for virtual schools, it may solve the education budget crises. It would lower classroom sizes. Ah, but the UEA wouldn't make as much money and would lose some power.

Anyway, the main thing is my kids are blossoming in the joy of learning. And they are learning things I never learned in public school.

Luria Learning
Portland, OR

I attended college at a small private college and attended graduate school at an online university called WGU (based in Utah.) I believe that I learned more online. My instructors gave me much more feedback on all of my assignments, I learned at my own rate, and was able to have as much or as little help as I needed.

Online learning is not for everyone, and it is important that students learn social skills etc. It does, though, allow for much more personalization than happens in a classroom with 30 students that all need to move through the curriculum at the same pace.

I currently teach 5th grade in a public school. I also teach online graduate classes to teacher that need to renew their credential at Luria Learning. There is a place for both traditional schools and on-line schools.

Sacha at Luria Learning

P.Humilis
Holladay, UT

I am disappointed in your logic and perception as many that have succeeded in one area can apply the same criteria straight to another. I am shocked an academician would do this. Call me back once you move Harvard Business School to an all on-line school or even if you move half of your Graduate studies courses to on-line. Yes you went to high school in Utah, decades ago, and have taught Sunday school(probably not but as a leader in the church you still feel entitled and superior) so you are an expert in this field so keep spewing ideas that have not a lot of forthought behind them or experience (or have you taken an on-line class?). Costs are what drive thoughts like yours not individualized teaching otherwise you really would be pushing first and foremost for reduced class sizes for the largest classes in the country. Do me a favor and have the church go to on-line learning it would save us a ton of money (tithes) that could be spent more effectively. You want old school here it is your ideas are poppy cock.

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