Hollywood, FL -- February 21, 2011 -- Public Schools, Private Schools, and Charter Schools take notice...extinction is near! More appropriately, the cyber digital computer age technology of education is quickly evolving to change the way one will learn and get an education. This changing landscape has already taken seed and spreading like wildfire throughout schools. Its' growth with new blooming advancements in technologies is being cultivated to healthy, blossomed fruition. What was not possible just a few years ago is the reality of today. Instantaneous real time interactive audio/visual streaming video, the Internet, the Smart Board, the Promethean Board, the Kindle, the I-Pad, I-Phone, I-Pod, Twitter, Facebook and Skype, are just a few examples, that when utilized strategically together, will forever change the course of teacher/student relations, and effective, productive education.
The next generation of children's tree of knowledge will not be, nor dependent upon a fixed root system of a physical, permanent standing school to attend. As the telegraph is to satellite transmissions, so will be the schoolhouse to cyber, reciprocally interactive schools without walls. Persistent, eroding, detrimental factors from within the present school system, along with powerfully changing factors and events affecting schools from without, will climax to implode traditional education as we know it. The American school system itself, with a great number of states having close to a 50% high school drop out rate for decades, is testament to ongoing, unresolved failure. Therefore, the high current national average cost per student education of close to a whopping $10,000 justifiably is unsustainable, and will have to go down precipitously. Bureaucratic vested interests have long kept this heavy, bloated balloon afloat, but that bubble is primed to burst. It has long needed to be overhauled and revamped with new ways and solutions to properly educate to meet the needs of an ever changing 21st century society, relevant to produce productive citizens. Many institutions that are underutilized, problematic, ineffective, and inefficient, have folded. Needed, radical change is on the imminent horizon.
As the one room school house is history, physically standing schools, are becoming outdated and antiquated. Just a couple of decades ago, libraries were filled with thousands and thousands of books and students spending countless hours, weeks - even months, researching a project, or to create a simple term paper. Today, one spends a few seconds to Google that same information, copy, paste, and print it out - and it can be done at home, in one's pajamas! Books, newspapers, magazines, journals, records, and cameras, are quickly being replaced by Internet based products with less expensive, and better results. Stalwart publishing giants and sellers of books like Borders are becoming dinosaurs - filing for bankruptcy. Many schools and colleges have already closed down, while others struggle for survival, progressively losing student populations, offering alternative courses on line; not having to be physically present. Yes! Change is a coming fast.
As states grapple with huge, looming, unprecedented deficits needing to be addressed, cuts in costly education is on the chopping block. Educators are worried to lose what was once a guaranteed cloak of strong armored entitlements and security. Wisconsin is at the ground level forefront with seeming public support, seeking to dismantle the old ways of doing business. Collective bargaining, preserving decade's old agreements of teacher tenure, pensions, wages, and health benefits are at stake. The rippling repercussions are sure to be the turning point for more radical changes, yet to surface. Other states are likely to follow suit. Unions and those with vested interests to survive are susceptibly worried and unified in a life and death battle to maintain the status quo. At loggerheads with them, include the many financially hard pressed citizens, republican, libertarian, and tea party groups that want drastic change. However, if the educational system is completely overhauled, revamped, and updated having schools without walls using digital, cyber age technology, the battle to negotiate resolutions and pay former entitlement agreements would be moot issues.
The costs of hiring an army of teachers, supervisors, running buildings, paying pensions, health benefits, books and supplies, will be a thing of the past! Students will only need a computer with Internet access because one master teacher can be far away, conducting lessons to large numbers of students or groups anywhere - anyplace. Class size wouldn't matter because differentiated instruction and instantaneous computer corrected feedback with positive reinforcements could be automated to assist the instructor. Since cyber technology can be portable and comparatively inexpensive, neither the teacher nor the students have to even be in the same place, town, state, or country. School buses will be junked, eliminating related traffic commutes and costs to come and go to a physically standing school. The thousands of duplicated institutionalized buildings, decentralized district offices, chancellors, superintendents, supervisory administrators, secretaries, school personnel, school supplies, upkeep and maintenance, will no longer be needed. Billions and billions of dollars will be saved as a more effective, efficient, and relevant educationally interactive cyber computer age takes hold. Is this science fiction or far fetched? I think not!
Computer Internet access and real time communications through social media technologies like Facebook and Twitter have already caused a major revolution in change, toppling Egypt's long time dictator in just a couple of weeks. Interactive cyber access is having an immediate domino effect on similar countries that for countless years have had autocratic regimes of repressive dictators. The digital cyber age technology genie is out of the bag and cannot be stopped! Nothing, including the way we learn, will be the same anymore.
The traditional, free standing school, with its' teachers, personnel, respective classes, and classrooms will not be needed in the near future. Class management, class size, disruptive student behavior, and absenteeism, will be issues - long gone. The place of learning will not matter much. Children will be comprehensively taught simultaneously on ability level from town to town, state to state - even country to country with the finest, seasoned, experienced teachers leading the way. With minimal direct physical supervision, and guidance, having appropriate level educational content, motivation, curricula, assessments, and Internet access, the student can learn virtually anywhere. It will not matter if you are rich, poor, or in between. The best possible education will be available equally to all, and will be taught by a small number of select, creme de le creme of proven educators. There just wouldn't be the need for an antiquated army of teachers, buildings, and related personnel anymore.
The implications of this technology in America and the worldwide ramifications of revamping of educational systems will be nothing less than colossal in scope. Developed and underdeveloped countries alike, whether big or small, will have equal access to the best possible education, costing little more than a computer with Internet access. The birth of schools without walls using cyber digital age technology in education is imminent. What was once traditional school social and physical activities and relations such as sports, dances, and theater acting, would be redirected locally within one's own environment or community. Home schooling will take on a new meaning. Unprecedented interactions with fellow classmates from neighborhood to neighborhood, state to state, or from country to country, can encourage next generations of children to grow, learn, respect, understand, love, tolerate, and share with one another in harmonic unity.
(Richard Errera is an experienced, respected teacher in Florida and welcomes all feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org)