The Importance of Being Earnest … – about virtual education

… about virtual education.

When I was still in school my world was restricted to my immediate friends and surroundings. If I wanted to visited relatives or friends living farther away it took quite some time. With the arrival of modems and BBSes my small world became a little bit bigger. And when the World Wide Web and eMail established themselves and virtual worlds began to emerge in the mid nineties my world expanded to include everybody who had access to an internet account. Nowadays the number of people who have access to the internet in some form or the other has multiplied x-fold, and our world is expanding, or maybe I should say our perspective is expanding, the world itsself seems to have become smaller. It is becoming easier to access an ever increasing of information, it is becoming easier to contact an ever increasing number of people without having to use a phone or visiting them physically. Never before has it been so easy for people of different cultures to meet each other in a virtual environment and get to know each other. But has it become easier for us to process this much information? Has the number of our friends (and I mean REAL friends) increased?When I talk to people of my generation many are still wary of the internet and its possibilities. Many are still insecure when they have to use it and are even more wary of learning to use it (which again increases the insecurity). However our children grow up with this medium. They have never known a world where a letter from Uncle John in Australia would take weeks to reach Susan in London. But who is to teach them responsible use use of that new medium? Who is to teach them how to regulate the flood of information and how to filter it?

In my opinion it is the responsibility of parents and teachers to guide their children in that process of learning, and if they cannot do that, at least acompany them on their of discovery through the net. I know many who make a great effort and do a great job with it, but often they do not get the support they need from their schools, the parents, or the government. Students must learn a responsible use of the net and know about the dangers. And what is more! They must learn to think globally.

All ready there a lots of tools around to support teachers to use the new possibilities the net offers in their lessons! The can coordinate their lessons using Moodle, they can teach information management and documentation with a wiki, they can help their students collect their digital works in ePortfolios, and last but not least they can easily visualize things in a virtual world like OpenSim. And what is best: all these tools can be used as a virtual global classroom! Teachers and students are no longer limited to working with students in the same school or area. Using the virtual tools learning and working can be done on a global level.

Students who learn to work with others on a global level, learn to think on a global level, and only then can they solve problems on a global level.

BTW I love Oscar Wilde 😉 Can you tell?