Distance Learning: Two sides to the coin
Dr. Michael Simonson states “technologies, instructional media and communication technologies are used to link the resources between the teacher and learning” (Laureate Education, n.d.). This statement by Dr. Simonson is the critical part in why I think distance learning is always changing and going to continue to change. Advancements in technology will continue this change as we see web interfaces grow and multimedia gain momentum. Today, I checked the weather, made a Skype call to my dad in Arizona and my boys and I watched Wreck it Ralph for the hundredth time all from our smart TV. This is an example of something that was not possible or proficient five years ago. Imagine what the next five years hold.
My personal definition of distance learning prior to starting this class was exactly what I have been doing for the last year here at Walden. Participating in discussions, writing assignments, and posting information on my blog sums up my definition of distance learning. However, after week one, this mindset has changed a bit. I really understood the distance-learning portion but did not put much thought into the distance-teaching portion. Pretty pathetic that this thought process before this course comes from a teacher and I didn’t think about the distance teaching part. Dr. Simonson spoke about two heads of a coin (distance learning & distance teaching) all connected through technology. (Laureate Education, n.d.) This is a great way to define distance education, and it is one that I will refer to each week as I proceed with this course.
I also did not put much merit in what we do at Springfield High with distance learning. One of my classmates mentioned that some of the things we do are more along the lines of self taught lessons. (Which I agree) However, there are several teachers that are incorporating videos of the lessons being taught onto our servers for students at home to view and keep up with the course load while out of school. Now that I see the impact this can make on a student, I will try to incorporate this more into my online lessons.
I see distance learning continuing to grow as technology advances and bandwidth becomes more available in all households. I also see contacting instructors and student introductions through online video as not just an option but also a requirement as we see this technology become more apparent in TV’s, smartphones and even game systems. I think this would add a new dimension of getting to know the instructor and our classmates. It would also help me put a face to the name as we continue this journey during the next seven weeks.
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.) Distance Education: The Next Generation. [Video Podcast]. Retrieved from: https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_4775279_1%26url%3D