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Online Teaching: A Significant New Pedagogy

The Community as K-100 University

by Frank Odasz, Director of Big Sky Telegraph Internet

Click here to telnet to Big Sky Telegraph.

Interactive reading and writing via online networks presents an unprecedentedly new pedagogy that is only now being acknowledged for the real depth of unique educational merit it deserves. Very little research on online teaching exists, despite widespread interest.

The promise of online teaching is that both teacher and learner can be anywhere, participating at any time convenient, through any type of microcomputer with modem. If online instruction can demonstrate economies of delivery of distance learning, it opens the door to ongoing learning for all potential learners. No one is too old or too young to be both learner and teacher. "Community networking" and "lifelong learning" are two related themes pointing the direction forward.

Currently this unprecedentedly new medium, based on interactive reading and writing, is invisible to the uninitiated. Many social and political barriers exist, despite major advances in the technologies.

The inevitable trend is that laptop microcomputers, within three to five years, will be standard equipment for all students and teachers. Costs should drop to below $500 for a laptop with wordprocessing and telecommunications capabilities, at the very least. Laptops would allow students to communicate 24hrs/day outside the classroom with each other, community members, librarians, and teachers (not to mention the rest of the world).

The age of PERSONAL COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS has come, and they will very soon be wireless, utilize multiple telecommunications mediums, and very possibly be wearable.
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