If I Were Running A Company…Tele-Learning

This week, we are witnessing a polar vortex that has paralyzed most of the United States in a deep freeze, literally. Because of that, most schools and some companies have closed due to this “cold spell.”

Luckily with technology, work can be done at home, most people can be flexible and the workflow continues on. For schools, it’s a little different. Kids do need to hand in assignments and projects and losing a day won’t help because the teachings get pushed back a day. Well, why not use technology to make up for those teachings? In most cases it would work…but for certain people.

There are mobile phones and tablets that are out there for a reasonable price, however, some can’t afford getting a decent smartphone or tablet. For those people, a public library is the only place they can connect wireless to get assignments, but if there’s inclement weather, it’s likely it is closed. What to do?

In a 2008 Scholastic article, they stated that textbooks cost $100 each. Since we have math, science, English, history, sex ed, one elective subject, and others, you’re looking at a minimum of over $600 per student. Tablets can range from $50-400 and it would still be cheaper than a stack of textbooks that could ruin a kid’s back. Why not this big push?

Two reasons: one, access to wireless networks is tricky where if there is too many people accessing the network, it wouldn’t let some people in. The other reason, and a big one, is most teachers have to adapt to change, which is a mixed result. Most teachers are part of their own local union and the biggest issue for those unions is pay, which I think is fair, but should have chosen another path like pay-for-performance to promote quality teachers. Also, they need to adapt to technology on how to use the app and how to shoot a video, which does take time.

While telecommuting is not a problem in the workforce, tele-learning has a long ways to go. The technology is there, but adaptation from teachers and politics will be the biggest hurdle to make it mainstream. Will it eventually happen? Yes, but most people want to do it sooner than later.

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