This becomes a stalemate. If the classroom instructor cannot be responsible for each student's experience, then the students will not be responsible either. Everyone is acting irresponsible for each other and for what could be learned from their mutual torment. This lesson of irresponsibility gets ignored repeatedly, even when the lesson is extremely tragic like Columbine High School eight years ago and Virginia Tech this week.
I expect most classroom learning will vanish in the coming decade. The web is an ideal technology to support responsible learners and mentors. Returning to the analogy of the truck of migrant workers, here's what will be different when classrooms get replaced by the next generation of online learning. Each migrant worker will have:
- a steering wheel to turn the truck where they want to go immediately, to spend some time or to explore for the first time
- a gear shift to back up and go over the same ground, to cover familiar ground quickly or to proceed cautiously
- a brake pedal to slow down, stop and park while going off somewhere else
- a gas tank that gets refilled with fuel for the progress they are making
Classroom educators pale at this thought. They assume (correctly IMHO) that students would quickly evacuate their classrooms. By taking responsibility for what they learn, how quickly and when, students would have no further use for classroom delivery systems. Why turn over the truck to an irresponsible driver when the freedom to take responsibility is supported by eLearning systems? Why be bored when learning can feel like an adventure? Why stand around in the back of the truck when every learner belongs behind the wheel?