Professor Levinson's essay, which touches on the online classroom and the conditions of time, place, and physical restriction which it can eliminate for the betterment of education and earnest academic participation seems to be the next spokesperson in line for the fore-mentioned type of talk. I don't deny the advances technology(namely the Internet) has done for the educational institution. Hell, without Blackboard, Oasis, or Fordham.edu I wouldn't know how to pick classes, know when they were, or what day the school year started or ended on (school calendars are clutch). E-mail and the Internet have vastly increased the scope of material, interaction, and points of view we have as far as information and access to one another, its potential is not what I question, its the application part I'm looking at.
When I read this chapter and the parts it discusses about the beauty of online classrooms bringing people from all over the world together at all hours of the day joining in intellectual dialogue, I do admire it. I am by no means discounting the majesty of a deaf or blind person finally being able to participate to their intellectual potential because of the neutrality and assistance given by technology. Its just that I can't help but think the chapter is giving me prototypes and trials and calling it full-blown proof. Technology has tremendously increased the scope and efficiency of the business of education, but as for "online classrooms", the most I see (aside from those Phoenix University ads everywhere) is a blackboard posting here and there by my professors. Just like with "TV in the classroom" this has been hyped up and perpetuated by its potential. Looking back, about the most my classroom's ever been "online" is when I spent a whole class watching 'To Catch a Predator' episodes on YouTube, or the standard PowerPoint lecture class. From the onset of the Internet and its possibilities craze in the mid 90's, all I remember doing when I first learned what "Electronic mail" was, was sending dumb and pointless messages to the people right next to me.
And hey, this isn't because its not a good idea. Their are just too many factors that I guess, would never let the idea of an online classroom meet its full potential. The Chapter does point out our innate tendency to feel that the traditionally, physical way of learning in the class from a teacher whom you can see and hear is what most of us hold on to as the optimal way of learning. This will always make integrating something so against that notion difficult, so that we will almost always want to self-sabotage it. Because while there are lectures and teachers out their who sound as monotonous as a simple text recording, there are those who couldn't believe anything more effective than the real deal, the catch is that, most of us believe that. Also, looking back on how crappy/highly aggravating Oasis or Fordham Internet can be, I wouldn't want to risk the same functional dependency on my direct learning experience. For now, I'll tip my cap to the new doors and access ramps these online classrooms open and facilitate, but it's still right up there with the video phone for me.