Beyond the Bell Schedule
Time for a little history lesson. More than 150 years ago, at the turn of the 19th century, free public education was provided for children in the US. State after state agreed to use tax dollars to fund public elementary schools, and the modern American classroom emerged. Groups of about 25 students of roughly the same age all began joining under the roof of an 800 square-foot classroom to receive instruction from one teacher – a model that has been an archetype for education ever since. Unknown Object Though it wasn’t coined so at the time, this model is now known as the “factory-model classroom.” The education system was designed to prepare students for the 20th century industrial work force. The classroom wasn’t designed to train intellectuals, to develop holistic thinkers or to encourage creativity but was instead crafted to produce factory workers. The same factory-model classroom is still in place in the public school systems of America. And it’s failing many students. It’s failing the dreamers and leaders of the future. Most traditional public schools are structured like assembly lines with checklists of courses to complete, tests to take and grades to score. Even the bell schedule inhibits individualism and hinders learning in its purist form. The bell rings and students move to where the schedule dictates, the bell rings again and they do as they’re told. Learning begins and ends at designated times and only as directed by the instructor and administration. While this education system functioned wonderfully at training efficient factory workers, it deeply fails at equipping young people in our rapidly advancing 21st century. If a cell phone can be customized in a million different ways shouldn’t class curriculum be versatile as well? As the number of job opportunities, career paths and lifestyle options continue to grow, shouldn’t the avenues for learning also evolve? Yes. Which is why personalized, customizable, flexible and fluid online school is essential to the educational landscape of America today. With online school there is no bell, time is at the student’s command. With online school the four walls of a classroom disappear and both every-day settings and far off places become the landscape for learning. With online school students aren’t treated like a set of hands in a factory line but are equipped with the freedom to imagine, dream and create. It’s time to embrace a new way of thinking about and delivering instruction. It’s time to redesign the methods by which each student is prepared for a vibrant future. It’s time for students to be given a chance to live remarkably.