Traditional Blackboard Learning To The Umpteenth Power
It's true, we have come a long way from the individual chalk slates held by individual students in a one-room school house with dirt floors, a choking pot-bellied stove, curtain-less windows, and one person knowledgeable enough to teach manifold subject range to a class of all ages packed into one room. Blackboard learning was one of the first tools (after hundreds of years of sticks in the dirt learning, etc., of course) that had a particular educational appeal. That is, blackboard learning was effective as a visual aid for visual learners, those in the largest learning style group of all. With visual learning styles outnumbering verbal, kinesthetic, sensing, intuitive, and other less frequently extant styles, blackboard learning has been augmented by educators using slide shows, reel-to-real films projected onto pull-down screens, LD and DVD materials, and computer hardware and software presentation tools. Oh, and blackboard learning went through a revolutionary (or evolutionary) change when whiteboards with erasable markers and easels, presentation pads, and markers were thought to enhance the learning experience. But the internet changed traditional blackboard learning for good. Without eliminating it as a tool that continues to be effective for a majority of learners, the net capabilities and resources spawned a new kind of learning tool--distance learning. Actually these facilities have not really created a new tool (as distance learning has existed for hundreds of years) and they have not replaced effective learning/teaching strategies. These technological advances have enhanced and supplemented and made more available and accessible blackboard learning. In fact, one online system is called the Blackboard Learning System--one which allows learners to study in a virtual classroom, watching the classroom lectures and sessions by closed-circuit and other media online; which enables continued learning by chat, IM, email, and forum discussion with peers and tutors; which administers and requires online testing; and which provides supplemental materials such as Quicktime movies, downloadable video-recorded lectures, and numerous interactive software systems. Blackboard learning isn't going anywhere. It is instead going through exponentially enhanced phases that enhance the learning experience for all.
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