As I’m writing this, we’re about a week into the “social distancing” phase of the fight against COVID-19. At this point, pretty much every school and college in the country has been shut down and either has or is trying to transition to remote instruction.
Even though this transition (like everything) is chaotic right now, once we get this going – I can’t help but think that we are going to realize that remote instruction is a valuable “arrow in our quiver”. I’m not saying that this will work for every situation, but this is the perfect opportunity to put in place the idea of transitioning in-person lectures to YouTube videos.
Instead of the same information being delivered thousands of times across the country by different teachers with different presentation abilities, let the best lecturers present the material and let local teachers answer questions and help students process and apply the information. Khan Academy is just one example of an online resource that has many great online lessons. (This isn’t an original idea. This is one of the many interesting ideas Seth Godin makes in “Stop Stealing Dreams”. Video here, manifesto here.)
Don’t misunderstand. We still need local teachers and local schools. We just don’t need them to do the same thing they’ve done for years.