"When I was growing up, I walked to school uphill, both ways, in a snowstorm." Yes, education has changed over the years, but the heart of a school remains the same - trying to reach students in ways they will learn the best.
In American one-room schoolhouses, resources were limited as to what educational tools were available. Over time, slate turned into paper. Ink replaced chalk. Pencils and crayons added to the mix. These tools allowed increased communication and offered an easier method for recording information and performing calculations.
Available information also expanded. Instead of having one precious book for all students to read, the printing press allowed classroom sets of books and eventually one-to-one book assignments. The wealth of information available to students steadily grew as encyclopedias were developed and placed in many households to supplement learning.
Jump to modern day. Technological tools have once again shifted, allowing increased communication extending beyond a teacher. Students are now able to contact inventors, experts, or senior officers to learn first-hand about various interests. They are able to collaborate with others in their peer group about similar topics or ways of approaching a problem. They are no longer an island learning on their own, but part of a networked puzzle, emerging as a complete project.
New educational technology such as computers, tablets, and smart phones remove the walls of the one-room schoolhouse. It has created a surge in virtual classrooms. Students are able to learn online without being limited to the resources of one particular location. Virtual learning can easily allow a students' learning process to become a global perspective, interacting with students from all walks of life, and engaging with professionals.
Information access has also continued to expand. Due to the Internet, the amount of available information far exceeds anyone's imagination from one-room schoolhouse days. Gaining a solid grasp of how to sort through online information and finding valid data becomes essential for today's youth. Practicing online networking with professionals and peers helps students prepare for modern careers in a global economy.
Virtual education potentially allows students from all over the globe to live, work, and learn together as they protect and design a better world.