I thought it would be interesting to get a closer look at a program which seems to be one of the furthest in style to what I currently have experienced. eCADEMY is an ‘online driver’ model of blended learning. I think it is difficult to contemplate what this would look like in my current school since it is a completely different - almost opposite - model, however it may be interesting for those students who have individual passions or interests, where an additional 'online driven' course - almost as an After School Activity - could complement their work within the school...
For better or worse, eCADEMY’s main claim to fame is that it is a money saver. It requires less space, less facilities, less teachers. eCADEMY has changed the way teachers are paid and when they work. As it is made up of predominantly online courses, traditional holiday ‘restrictions’ no longer need to be enforced. Teachers get paid per student per semester and can work all year round and administer multiple courses. A point of note is that all teachers are required to have a district recognised online teaching certification.
Students begin each of their courses face to face but then are able to do the rest of the course online, providing they maintain a sufficient grade. eCADEMY also cites parent relations to be of paramount importance and as disciplining has decreased with the move from the traditional face to face environment, parents and teachers are able to focus more on the successes of the students in their communication.
The physical ‘brick and mortar’ school is open longer each day (from 8am-10pm) to allow for flexibility but as students choose when and indeed if they need to physically go to school, the facilities are of a much smaller scale (and therefore cheaper to maintain) than other schools with a similar population. Teachers are on location at all times if students want more face to face interaction.
This model seems to be flexible but rigorous and even though it is predominantly an ‘online’ course, the face to face interactions are still there. As Salman Khan (2012) points out, “You need the human to do the mentorship. You need the human to understand the emotions of the child. You need the human being to really guide the student through rich, deep, open ended projects.”
However, my one major concern of all of these blended learning models is that what is lacking is the human interaction, not only with the teacher, but primarily with peers. In a world where personal interactions are rare, what does reducing the possibilities of peer to peer interactions, problem solving, compromise, communication, conflict resolution etc do to the youth of today? Although educated and certified, will these students have the skills to be successful in society? What are your thoughts on this?
2. Online vs. face to face Venn Diagram
3. Collaborative Presentation of Web2.0 Tools
4. Designing an online discussion
5. Establishing an Accessible Social Presence
6. Designing a comprehensive Assessment Plan
7. Online Course Syllabus
8. Reflection: iNACOL Standards for Quality Online Teaching
Hello, I am Tony Potts, the Director of Digital Learning, PK-12 ICT Coordinator, ICT teacher and technology integration specialist at GEMS World Academy, Dubai. Please feel free to ask me ANY questions...