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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Is Online Learning the Future: Revisited

I just discovered that on the FE News Blog, where I found an article last month entitled "Is Online Learning The Future?," one of the other journalist posted a response to the original piece entitled "Is Online Learning The Future? A Response" (to view my entry on the original article see "Is Online Learning the Future?").

Anyway, the author of the the blog entry responds "Here at the New Curiosity Shop we respond with a resounding 'yes'." Apparently, The New Curiosity Shop is a venture in online learning between the author of the blog entry and another individual.

In their philosophy to online learning, they believe that "the main power of the Internet as a fantastic medium for people to talk to each other, forgetting that education is a communication process" and that "in time online learning will take its rightful place amongst the choices available to learners of all levels and ages, and that people will be aware that it *is* a real option, with benefits all its own."

I find it interesting that in time online learning will be a legitimate choice available to all learners. Part of that statement is probably true, the available to all learners portion. However, I think that online learning is already a legitimate choice within the education system. The number of state-sponsored virtual schools and the growth of cyber charter schools seems to indicate that policy makers and parents looking for alternatives to the public education system already see if as not only a legitmate alternative, but a preferred alternative for a variety of reasons (in the case of the policy makers, probably due to the more cost effective opportunities that it can provide, whereas the parents look for an alternative to public schools probably prefer the less of regulation on how their child should be taught - i.e., they want to be able to educate their children in an environment that is homogeneous in terms of religion, race, and social class - if we want to call a spade a spade).

I don't know, maybe this is a difference between K-12 online learning or virtual schooling opportuities that are available in North America compared to those that are available in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. Maybe someone out there from one of these European destinations (or with more knowledge about the K-12 online learning landscape in Europe than I) could respond and give us some insight...

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