A Blended World!
I am a teacher at a face to face high school. I am also a teacher at Illinois Virtual School, an 6-12 online virtual school. I am blessed with both jobs! If I could take both of those worlds and smash them together, I would then have my ideal collaborative environment.
It would be the perfect blend. Like peanut butter and (strawberry!) jelly, like coffee and cream, like chocolate and caramel. I am sure you can think of some more great relationships, but I am sort of hungry right now, so this is my focus.
A face to face environment offers so many benefits; the personal contact every day, the relationships formed with teacher/student, the multiple levels of assistance offered students during the day, the personalized instruction and guidance, the rich social and emotional environments where they can grow and learn from each other.
An online learning environment also offers positives to students as well. Opportunities to learn at one's own pace, flexibility around busy schedules, a variety of ways to show learning, the development of digital learning skills and literacy, increased student accountability, an a true collaborative environment with both students and teachers.
My ideal collaborative environment would be a blended classroom in a flexible scheduled school. School would be an open campus, students would come to school as needed and would get support from teachers who would still hold actual classes a couple of times a week. Teacher are available to work with students face to face, but students would have the option to come and go as needed from the building depending on their level of understanding and mastery of the material. The rest of the required course time is spent online anytime/anywhere working on the material, collaborating with classmates in a virtual learning environment that is set up to complement the course and continue the learning away from the building. Collaboration would be happening at the school and continue at home without the ideas that students HAVE to be at school. Because with all of this technology, they really don't all the time.
Let's work to provide students with an educational infrastructure and programs that promote continual learning.Because learning should not start and stop when students come and go from the school building.