Today the Washington Post has an article that quotes Larry Cuban quite a bit. His main point is that most school in 2020 will still be in classrooms like it is now. Oh sure, there will be more technology but overall things will stay the same.
I don’t have a fraction of the credibility or experience of Larry Cuban. However, I do have an opinion and I have to disagree a bit.
The key quote is this:
The error that online champions make decade after decade (recall that distance learning goes back to the 1960s) is that they forget that schools have multiple responsibilities beyond literacy. Both parents and voters want schools to socialize students into community values, prepare them for civic responsibilities, and yes, get them ready for college and career. Online courses from for-profit companies and non-profit agencies cannot hack those duties and responsibilities.
I agree that those tasks are now being fulfilled to a certain extent by schools. What Larry is missing is the tendency of the Internet to disaggregate things. You can take any of those tasks and do them in a different way. For example, for socializing into community values, there are many community activities that happen outside of school. Even going to soccer practice is a social activity. In fact, if kids didn’t have to go to school to learn it frees up the day to have more activities. My nephews are home schooled and their parents say they get all sorts of socializing every day. I also take issue with the theory that online courses are not social activities. I recently took my Masters degree online and let me tell you, it was very social! I made life long friends. These are not mail correspondence courses anymore.
Of all the reasons to send children to school, the biggest one is school is a babysitter while parents are at work. Even that one will change as more and more people can do work from home via telecommuting.
As you start to strip away the various things that schools are charged with, I think valid alternatives will arise for each.
That all being said, I hugely respect Larry’s work! I just disagree with a few things, I hope he doesn’t mind. Time will definately tell who is more right.