Is bandwidth the new school bus?

In Saskatchewan, many students are faced with a very long bus ride to and from school every day. For example, the Prairie South School Division covers an area of over 34000 square kilometers in southern Saskatchewan, and the vast majority of that is very sparsely populated. There are students who take a 90 minute  bus ride to and from school each day. That’s 15 spine crunching hours per week bouncing over southern Saskatchewan roads. Yuk.

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Photo Credit: BC Gov Photos Flickr via Compfight cc

I see the internet as the new school bus, and when I say internet, I mean bandwidth. Bandwidth is bringing the education to the students instead of the bus taking the students to the school. I really don’t care about which particular tool is being used, as it is all about how the tool is being used and why it is being used that way. I will say this again and again, teachers must be willing to use technology with an eye on the future. The 21st Century Learning Competencies  and the 7C’s are vital to the future of our students. Naomi mentions in her blog about how distance students don’t get the same support as the face to face students, and I agree with her that the tools need continual improvement in order to help each individual meet their learning goals, but we also can’t take our eye off the importance of 21st Century Learning.

I think the students who ride the old school bus are facing a potential advantage that urban students won’t have as the province faces “transformational change” and distance learning i sure to increase.  For example, a student may have a great idea for providing clean water to impoverished communities around the world. Who has the experience to communicate their ideas to the appropriate authorities – the student who took half or more of their high school credits online and o University classes using effective distance education tools, or the student who simply changed classrooms in the same building?   No one knows what the tools will look like in 20 years, but the skills will remain. Communicate, Collaborate, Create, Critical Thinking, etc. should be at the heart of every distance learning opportunity. Anything less is a waste.

5 thoughts on “Is bandwidth the new school bus?”

  1. I like that you mentioned you don’t care which tools or how many are being used but it is about ‘how’ they are being used that is important. After attending a tech conference a few years ago, it was expected of us to use and present on these new apps we had learned about. The problem was I was all over the place and was not delivering lessons with any purpose because I was too focused on integrating technology to please.

    1. Thanks for reading, Tyson. I think we have all been there, focused on the tech for the wrong reasons. I think it is just part of the growing pains of implementing technology in schools. Even though we have been doing it for many years, I feel that we are just starting to figure out how we can use technology in schools on a large scale.
      And for the record, I hate those PD expectations that require me to present what I learned at a conference… I have a limited at best background in what I am presenting, and I know 90% of my colleagues I am presenting to really don’t give a shit about the conference I was just at. It is artificial at best.

      1. Angus and Tyson,
        I have been there too. Asked to present on “Autism Spectrum Disorder” because I went to one one-day conference. There was staff in the room who were specialists in this area and they could have spoken to it much better than I did as a new teacher. Artificial is right!

  2. I love the analogy you used and your perspective Angus. I think you touched on an important point in HOW we deliver the content through technology. Thanks for the post

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