Wes Freyer recently reported on a digital learning conference in Oklahoma. In this report he included a video about the money potential in digital learning that is embedded below. The presenter outlines the money in Pennsylvania Cyber Charter Schools along with the scope of the money involved in digital learning and executive salaries.
Education is already dealing with big money;
School Lunch program cost $10.8 billion in FY10 (reference)
In Illinois, school transportation costs approached $1 billion in Fy09 (reference)
Putting computers in schools have cost about $20 billion during past twenty years (Disrupting Class, 2011, p. 81)
Total annual spending on education in U.S. is $800 billion (reference)
The point is that education is already big business. To vilify the digital learning movement over executive compensation is a red herring. Nobody is in the education “market” for altruistic motives. While teachers pledge to help students, they have mortgages, children’s college tuition, and utilities to pay. Everybody gets paid.
The video ends with a student staring into a computer screen into a darkened room. Another red herring. As has been written here before, learning online is not learning alone. Interactions with other students and teachers are essential for digital learning.
The challenge for educators is that we need to be engaged. We have been able to block many movements, but this one has the capacity to change schools as we have known them. It’s more than “integrating” technology into classrooms. Digital content a new way for students to learn and a new way for teachers to teach.