I couldn’t have said it better myself.
The New York Times has a terrific piece today with the title of this post, written by a professor at the University of Virginia.
Sure, there are times when it is useful to take a course online.
But there is a downside.
The best learning is what happens when minds rub together, exchanging ideas; when a teacher can gauge what her students understand and can respond to their reactions. The best learning happens when there is a community of learners, thinking together.
I know, I know, this is really old-fashioned. And I’ll plead guilty to having old-fashioned values.
But there is something having the eye-to-eye contact, the face-to-face contact that is really better for purposes of teaching and learning than sitting alone in front of a computer.
I am not saying this to put down technology. I understand how wonderful it is to see visualizations, dramatizations, to see famous people giving famous speeches instead of reading them, to see events rather than reading about them. All of that can be incorporated into lessons.
My gripe is with the very concept that you can learn just as much sitting alone as you can in a group with a live teacher. It may work with adults (although the author of this article doesn’t think so). But it strikes me as developmentally inappropriate for children.