Those of us who have integrated our work lives into our homes successfully understand the way working can feel when it is integrated into our living. It goes way beyond just being able to work in our jammies, and listen to the music we want and fix ourselves tea. These little freedoms we have in controlling our work environments add up, and eventually we are left with a sense that our work hours integrate into our lives seamlessly. There is no longer a division between work and life: we structure our own lives. Research shows that this makes a difference. That folks who find a way to do this are healthier, and happier.
If you work from home and have ulcers, you know this freedom to be a double edged sword when it comes to work. Many of us were not raised to structure our own days - which posses a problem. Especially in a time when research says the future is pointing towards a workforce of contract workers and telecommuters. Preparing young folks for a productive future is a moving target, and that target is headed for a living room near you.
It's time for us to change the way we look at learning.
- Imagine the experience of being a student in a physical classroom where learning does not stop when you leave the building. Where the class syllabus, assignments and class discussions are accessible online and accessible to and with other social networking tools that the students and instructors are already accustomed to using and enjoy interacting with.
- Imagine the blurring of the line between school as a location or an environment, where learning is ambient and integrated and living.
- Imagine what it would be like if students, instructors, parents, mentors, coaches, school administrators and community members comprised natural teams around a young person's learning goals, and were connected and engaged with one another towards that end.
- Imagine having a students program progress reports, testing results and requirements, and transcripts accessible to a students learning team online.
- Imagine participating as a member of a learning team where communications and comments posted around a students learning and progress come to your inbox automatically, with a link to the discussion to respond.
- Imagine being a instructor with the freedom to express your passion through the design of your learning environment.
- Imagine being able to create discussion groups, post learning resources and links, and design projects in an online learning environment that you can easily customize and change to suit your teaching style and methods.
- Imagine a working environment where the information you need is compiled for you, accessible online, and on a framework that is simple to use and meets your needs exactly.
- Imagine being a instructor with access to a wider network of support and resources specifically designed and developed for the learning environment and framework that you are working inside of available at your fingertips for working with a wider network of administrators, incubators, instructors and stakeholders.
- Imagine the sharing information across divisions and organizational functions in a way that is consistent throughout the system, and in a format that meets your needs and the needs others have of you.
- Imagine living in a place where learning is happening all around you.
This integrated vision for eduction all becomes possible with the internet. Not only can schools host their matriculation and administrative databases online, these databases can also integrate with a handful of tools that enable virtual classroom environments, direct communication pathways between different members of a students learning team, bridges with other education sites and social networking tools, and distributed (viral) information input that reduce a schools need to perform rote administrative tasks over and over again.
Among the tools currently available, a handful of them are free and/or open source - making these solutions affordable as well.
To find out more about current education projects, and get involved, or if you have any questions, please contact me for more information.