Jumping back into school at 40 or over can feel intimidating for a lot of reasons. For one, there’s the cost. When you have other financial responsibilities like a mortgage and family expenses, finding thousands of dollars for tuition can be challenging. Then, of course, there’s the aspect of readjusting to being a student after …
It’s a candy mint! No, it’s a breath mint! No, it’s two mints in one! It’s an entertainment toy! No, it’s a learning tool! No, it’s two tools in one!! Many of today’s tablet devices are stuck in the same “part this, part that” position as the old mint commercial. They’re not as powerful as laptops, or even netbooks, their closest computing relatives. But, they do so much, and they come so close to the functions of a portable PC or Mac, that they are emerging as an important new category of technology in distance education.
What does a teacher do? He or she helps you learn something. Very often, that’s not by using a classic lecture, in which cartoons show the professor opening up the top of your head three times a week and pouring in knowledge…although that style of teaching still exists in many classes. In contrast, today’s online teachers often pose challenges, assign group studies, ask questions without a definitive answer, and generally try to challenge you and encourage you to find meaning in your learning experience. At least, that’s what they are encouraged to do. Every year, more of them are trying out new teaching techniques and styles of interaction.
Education in the U.S. has been firmly hammered into a round hole, assuming that it’s a round peg. Because our parents sat in a classroom and someone lectured to them, that’s “the way” of truth and wonderfulness. All too many people seem to feel that because they learned something (and we’re seldom sure exactly what) from face-to-face lectures, that classroom lectures are the best way to learn.