The always valuable Glenn Reynolds alerts readers to an important story in the Wall Street Journal: “My Teacher is an App.” It turns out that technology is transforming the American educational experience far faster than most of us knew. From the Journal:
In a radical rethinking of what it means to go to school, states and districts nationwide are launching online public schools that let students from kindergarten to 12th grade take some—or all—of their classes from their bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. Other states and districts are bringing students into brick-and-mortar schools for instruction that is largely computer-based and self-directed.
The story continues:
Nationwide, an estimated 250,000 students are enrolled in full-time virtual schools, up 40% in the last three years, according to Evergreen Education Group, a consulting firm that works with online schools. More than two million pupils take at least one class online, according to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, a trade group.
A quarter of a million kids in virtual schools? The head spins. Back in the days when I struggled and slogged through miles of snowy, wolf-infested woods to reach the savage, cane-wielding martinets of Pundit Prep in darkest Surrey, the concept of virtual school was unimaginable.One suspects that not all these experiments are brilliantly successful, but then neither are all of our traditional programs and schools. The recession and the budget crunch are driving faster change in education, medicine, government and law: the branches of American life most in need of revolutionary productivity change and quality enhancement. All of these fields will be radically different in thirty years from what we now know; ‘bewildering’ is the pace of change we need, and if this story is any indication, ‘bewildering’ is the pace of change we are beginning to get.