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I have been travelling the #edtech world for several years, and here’s what I’ve seen:

However.

All the tools presented and proposed in this class are actually a bit overwhelming! There are so many options and yet what feels like so little time to experience all of them. The clock is ticking as I consider how to deliver content in my AP Biology course synchronously as soon as next school year for Prairie South Schools (and SunWest doesn’t offer this, yet! I’ll be a hot commodity). In our meeting October 25th, Jade Ballek mentioned that SunWest even offer classes to international locations such as China… how do they receive funding for this? Do they receive a tuition from Chinese students (what is listed is $500 on the website)? Do they charge more to international students?

Can I use this?

A colleague/friend of mine, Jeff Boulton, mentioned the potential of offering distance education privately. At $500/student, could I offer a Biology course to 10 students for $5000? And could I even have this class programmed asynchronously so it basically funds me once I complete my initial prep work? And if it’s asynchronous, with automated marking programs, couldn’t I manage well over 10 students?

Money? Interesting.It is here that we reach our quandary. Do we sell our educating soul?

chappelle cash gif.gif

Chappelle Swag via Giphy

I possess the ability to offer education to individuals worldwide and potentially receive money to do so. Should I? Would you? Based on my principles and beliefs related to open education and how learning should unfold, I should make my content and work free, which I have, but if I were to actively record instruction and create lessons to educate students worldwide, do I take a “small handout or reward”? Is it okay to?

It’s important to note that I believe that every individual deserves an education… so perhaps the solution lies in equity, with affordability to those who can’t and collection from those who can to promote my use and production values?

All these questions aside… can I even replicate the Logan Petlak Classroom Experience online? Is the educator I am on a screen the same as that face-to-face? I would argue probably no. Not without active discussion and interaction with students. That’s my favourite part of teaching, getting to work and talk with as well as read and respond to students… is that gone in the distance classroom – even with synchronous sessions (perhaps offered via Zoom)? And does this lend itself to more direct instruction? What about the socialization of being on campus and engaging with other students in the classroom? Many sources will tell you that a cons to distance education is a lack of “student to teacher face time” and “no social interaction”.

Solution?

Digital citizenship: fostering a digital presence and creating a networked learning community. And from that networked learning community, perhaps presents opportunities to collaborate with professionals from around the world to invite to contribute to class sessions (Adam reminded me of this idea with Skype).

This stuff you’re teaching Alec is starting to take shape more and more, day by day!

What are your thoughts? Does distance education present an opportunity for us as educators to earn beyond our negotiated salary? Do we as educators have a moral obligation to simply provide instruction to all and do this in the most cost-effective way possible?

– Logan Petlak

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