International distance educator Smadar Goldstein has been teaching students in the U.S. and elsewhere online for more than 10 years, from her company headquarters in Israel. The connected world is finally melting down the traditional education mold, she says â€“ so what should school be instead? She offers some of her ideas in this PLP Voices post.
When an online teacher encounters eighth graders who don’t know much about online technologies, she has two choices: sneak out of the virtual room – or set about discovering what they ARE good at. Welcome to appreciative inquiry.
Online educator Smadar Goldstein introduces us to Ilana, the “fabulous” kindergarten teacher who taught each of her four children — and describes four ways she’s incorporated Ilana’s teaching methods into her own distance learning practice.
Another major a-ha for me as an online teacher is the dynamic and potential for group involvement. When I describe what I do to people who are, shall we say, “not connected to the world of web culture,” they are amazed. “You mean the kids can see you and hear you? Don’t they get bored?” Well, if all they did was listen to me teach, then yes, they would get bored. Wouldn’t you? Which is why I make sure that my classes do not involve lecturing.
During my time as an online educator, I’ve used a variety of video conferencing platforms. I have taught students in public schools, Catholic schools and Jewish Day Schools and complementary schools. The technology is powerful, but there is something that catches my eye each time I run a session: it’s the human reaction to these technology-supported events. I think there is a need, in todayâ€™s wired world, to connect to another person far away, living a different, yet somehow similar life.