Is the Classroom Obsolete?

DEN blogger Tonya Wilson tipped me off to this Prakash Nair article from last month’s “Education Week” and it got me thinking. As a retired high school teacher, I miss the classroom – somewhat. As an online instructor in Wilkes Instructional Media program, I miss the classroom just a little bit too. I wish we could have one meeting face to face just to see and hear each other in real time, interact and share. But we would not have the benefits of sharing a class with such a diverse, widespread group as I usually see. From Alaska to Florida, Hawaii to Europe, I have enjoyed the work and challenge of teaching educators spread across time zones. I (and they) have also enjoyed the convenience and flexibility of ongoing discussions and sharing video projects without a rigid schedule or commute.
But I digress. I switched gears on you, reflecting on my current role working at a distance with motivated, well educated teachers. Back to the title, is the classroom obsolete? Is it just a matter of architectual design? It has been a long time (and even then it was rare) since I have seen a classroom set up like church with all the desks in neat rows facing forward. Is it leaving home and going to another building? I personally can’t imagine young students not getting the human touch to help them shape their learning. What do you think? Scheduling? Length of day or school year? A combination?

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