If you are like me, you will have a knee-jerk reaction to the concept in the above title. A while ago, I was reading a tweet from Royan Lee, and over my morning tea skimmed the article he had linked to. I believe I also offered a comment on the topic. My first thought was that this was a pedagogical travesty of the highest order! But then as I contemplated the article during the course of the day, I thought I remembered a mention of Utah.
And that made me reconsider my original opinion.
Readers, have you ever been to Utah?
Although I am not that well-travelled, I have visited this state. It is right at the top of my list of the most spectacularly beautiful places on earth.
It is also filled with great big areas of absolutely nothing. We once got lost in a huge expanse of desert for about an hour-and-a-half, while attempting to follow an incorrect map leading from a National Monument to the Interstate. It was so hot we couldn’t take the dog out of the truck to pee in the middle of the day because he would burn his feet. The only person we saw while lost was in a grader moving drifts of sand off the gravel road. The only wildlife we saw was a herd of deer motionless beside a small mud hole. The only reason I didn’t panic is that we camp in the back our truck so we had shade and accommodation at all times, not to mention a large water container.
So, when it comes to pre-school in this part of the world, I can only imagine that there are many families for whom an online option would be helpful. I am also sure the good parents of Utah would happily take their kids to a face-to-face pre-school if they had one close by. But in the meantime, kids could go online for all kinds of activities and interactions.
I also started thinking about the launch of Sesame Street, and wondered if it had been whole-heartedly approved back in the day. In fact, it was not. The Wikipedia article on the iconic educational kids’ show says, “According to writer Michael Davis, Sesame Street is ‘perhaps the most vigorously researched, vetted, and fretted-over program’. By 2001, there were over 1,000 research studies regarding its efficacy, impact, and effect on American culture.”
Without doing any extensive research on online pre-school, whether mandated or optional, I am still interested in the topic, and feeling positive about its application in rural and remote areas. And maybe I should add “northern” to that list…