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Education Opinion

Little House on the Digital Prairie

By LeaderTalk Contributor — October 27, 2009 1 min read

If you are not familiar with the show “Little House on the Prairie,” it is about a family in Minnesota that is trying to make a life in the 1870’s and 1880’s. One particular setting on the show is the one-room schoolhouse where one teacher presented different course material to the students who ranged in age from kindergarten through grade twelve.

Fast forward to the current time and place. Cloud computing is now the age in which we are living. The Internet is a transporter of information, and, therefore, it can be argued that is has become the one-room schoolhouse of this generation. Similar to the traditional one-room schoolhouse, the Internet is a “classroom” where ample information can be presented and different ages are represented.

This, however, does not mean that the Internet should replace the roles and responsibilities of the teacher. Instead, it should become a resource that teachers allow their students to access within the classroom, and, as easily as they could if they were doing schoolwork at home. Can any one of us say that we do not turn to the Internet when we need help answering a question or trying to solve a problem? As adults, we have the flexibility and freedom to use the tools that help us learn, while students are, often times, forced to practice more conventional approaches while confined inside the four walls of a classroom.

Consider the fact that educators are constantly being reminded to differentiate their instruction-- to make modifications and accommodations so that the playing field is leveled for the variety of learners within one classroom. The Internet can serve as a tool that allows students to explore what they need to learn, at a pace and level that suits them as individuals.

It is no secret that education is going through a transformation because of technology. It is likely that within twenty years, because of the Internet and cloud computing, that we will go back to the one room schoolhouse. We will start to see more “guides on the side” where the guides will steer the learning of the students and ask questions to prod thinking. This is an exciting time, and it is only going to get better as technology continues to improve and more individualized instruction becomes commonplace inside and outside the classroom.
James Yap and Teresa Ivey

The opinions expressed in LeaderTalk are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.