High fuel costs affecting learning

By Murray Bourne, 06 Aug 2008

A sign of the times. In "Fuel prices force schools to get creative - School districts scramble to offset the effects of rising transportation costs" (no longer available), we read how:

[One school] district's annual fuel budget totaled $225,000 three years ago, when prices averaged a little more than $2 a gallon; this year, however, the budget is around $350,000.

Online conferencing and "virtual field trips" are some of the solutions that districts are using to reduce costs.

Jane McDonald, from George Mason University's Graduate School of Education, says that schools could look at models where students stay home for one or more days per week.

And further:

McDonald believes the current fuel crisis might be an opportunity to rethink, restructure, and reorganize the traditional educational system.

It doesn't make a lot of sense to me that we have convenient and sophisticated communication tools and we still commute, polluting the atmosphere and spending a fortune.

Sure, people need to meet face to face and that important aspect of being human should definitely be preserved. But we don't have to do that every day of the week. And there are issues with letting novices loose with technology (I mean both the students and the teachers) without the pre-requisite skills for online lesson design (teachers) and online learning (students).

While fuel prices have eased a bit in the last week or so, they are set to rise in the future. It is inevitable.

Big changes are coming.

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