The Wall Street Journal today reported on some interesting experimentation in the fourth grade at PS 100 in the Bronx. For two hours of every school day, students are engaged in instruction via laptops thus creating a kind of “blended learning” that could easily transform the way children are taught in our public schools. The idea is that some of the computer programs and classroom technology allow children to learn at their own pace giving the teacher the opportunity to offer more individualized instruction to more students through the course of the day. The Department of Education is lending a lot of financial support to the implementation of such experiments across the country in its drive toward the 21st Century Classroom ideal.
I am a stalwart believer in the future of online education and I have seen close hand the benefits of such a blended approach. To every individual who comments that we need to get "back to the basics" and reign in these lazy attention span deficient video game addicts in our public schools I say this: there is no greater display of common sense than that which puts the needs of the students first. I applaud the DOE for supporting such an experiment which has yielded some interesting data thus far.If applied correctly, programs like this will show success nationwide. With online study among our K-12 up over 50% in the past year and a clear and coherent plan to integrate technology rather than throwing it wildly at teachers unprepared to work with it, we just might be on the right course toward guiding children in their learning and engaging all of them in the manner most effective for their individual needs.