Canadian schools behind in online learning. Should we care?

I'm a news junkie.

When the news is about technology enabled education, I take notice.

Last week, the Globe and Mail published an article entitled "Canadian schools falling behind in online learning, report says".  It described the loss of leadership in online learning, web enabled learning and distance education.

Kate Hammer's article laid out a lot of facts, but it had a significant gap... To me, it seemed to describe the delivery of education using technology as a separate and distinct process from the classroom delivered experience.

I just had to comment.

I suggest you read the article (link is here), then read the comment I submitted (which earned 15 likes and 4 replies).

Some people disagreed with me, but that's fine with me. I don't claim to have the right opinion, but I certainly have an opinion, and love the dialog.

If you ask the wrong questions, you get the wrong answers. 
Online Learning in itself should not be the goal, but a way to enhance the total learning 'experience'.  Education must focus on the total experience, not just the delivery tool. 
Having both done my MBA online (Athabasca) and experienced in developing a platform online learning curriculum for Canada's newest medical school (Northern Ontario School of Medicine), I have a bit of experience in this area. 
While online learning provides opportunities for those who can't participate in traditional learning opportunities (e.g. people who must remain working AND attend school, remote and isolated students, self directed learners), and extends the variety of resources available in the classroom,  it must not be considered a panacea for education. 
At the school where I am now, my team is developing a technology platform to deliver the educational experience that provides our students with the skills, literacies and competencies they need to be successful in today's global competitive market.  Technology is not the end goal. All the students and faculty have tablet pcs, there are media studios available and practically all academic curriculum is delivered, completed, and submitted online. So while we have all the core elements that all Canadian schools should have, our focus has shifted from putting technology in the classroom, to what we do with it once you have it. 
So, instead of the story being about falling behind in online education, and computers in the classroom, we should get our collective heads together and consider the ultimate outcomes - the literacies, competencies and skills our students need, THEN implement the technology to get us there.  Let's make the Canadian educational experience the best in the world. 
Sorry for the verbosity. This topic is near and dear to me.  More musings and ramblings available on my blog - TurningTechInvisible.com

What do you think?  Feel free to add your comments below.


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