Songhai Concepts

Media Literacy/Digital Archiving Instructor

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

If all classes were transparent, students would not miss a beat

As the citizens of Philadelphia brace themselves for what could be a long public transportation strike, students who usually take public transportation to get to and from school are finding alternate ways to get to class and the alternatives don't involve buses, trains or trolleys.

I snapped the above photo while driving to work this morning. I did the caption in Bubblesnaps.
While I was driving this morning, I got to thinking how cool it would be if every classroom were transparent... and what if students didn't need to be present in the physical school building (everyday) to stay current with their classwork?

The transparent classroom is no dream. It can be any teacher's piece of the rock, but there are obstacles, for example, every classroom is not equipped with a computer for every student.and most schools don't allow cell phones in the building.  Cell phones are just as powerful as desktop computers, but it takes time and effort to teach students how to use electronic devices responsibly - something many teachers and administrators are not willing to do. And of course, many teachers would rather have their students sitting in front of them, everyday, for 50 minutes, for any number of different reasons - handouts, worksheets, lectures, high stakes tests.

Fortunately for me, I've got a computer for every student. My students are able to work at home, or in the car, or on the beach, or while sitting in the park. They can access my work anywhere they have an Internet connection. They don't need to sit in front of me everyday to stay current with their classwork. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't want to do that either. My classes are a totally paperless - I've not used paper in class in four years. All the tools and resources my students need to access, publish and save work exists in the cloud. They don't need me every single day for every little thing.  The real work, however, is getting them to believe and understand that.

H Songhai

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  • At November 04, 2009 3:27 PM, Anonymous Dean Shareski said…

    Interesting ideas. I teach a hybrid online/f2f course for pre-service teachers. Today happens to be a f2f class and we'll be exploring movie making. Certainly this is a much richer experience f2f. However, I have a number of students who are ill. With, little effort, I can use a webcam or other camera and ustream the class to them. Not as good as being there but it's no work for me and they can remain connected.

    There are lots of possibilities.

  • At November 09, 2009 5:39 PM, Blogger SoulMan said…


    I want to talk to you by phone. Plaese contact me @


  • At November 29, 2009 12:52 PM, Blogger Tom said…

    I believe there was an experiment in Philly back in the sixties with what they called the School Without Walls. It involved students meeting their teachers off site at such places as museums..


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