Magazine article Vocational Education Journal

Technology and Distance Education

Magazine article Vocational Education Journal

Technology and Distance Education

Article excerpt

Technology education faces an increasing need to serve community development through satellite technology. Technology education curriculums and present school-to-work efforts have to address this change.

Investing in human capital is crucial in today's competitive workplace. O'Hair and Odell, in Educating Teachers for Leadership and Change, said that "change, reform and restructure" are the common education terms in the 1990s. The media and educational professionals also have challenged schools to better prepare students for the working world.

Alvin Toffler's Future Shock, written in 1970, predicted this need, followed by Naisbitt's Megatrends in 1982 and Bill Georgiades' The New America for the Third Millennium in 1988.

Georgiades describes the past 200 years as dynamic and mind-boggling. He states that the process of rapid change continues to accelerate daily.

The rapid changes affecting our society also have a direct impact on schools, continues Georgiades. This could be a major influence on determining the future of technology education. Education also is being influenced by the changing nature and structure of the family, shifting ethnicity, different ways of viewing the disabled, the forces of technology and changing values.

In today's information age, learning is no longer confined to a classroom. The "traditional" teacher is no longer the sole source of educational experience. Information resources are everywhere.

Using distance learning, we can eliminate geographic barriers to lifelong learning.

The following are some components of the concept for community development through distance education:

Participants

* local educational institutions

* local and state economic development organizations

* local businesses

* local government organizations

* local hospitals and health care facilities

* partnerships for distance education

* area vocational centers

* extension offices

Driving forces

* importance of workforce education and development to business competitiveness in the 1990s

* decreasing levels of federal and state funding for education and the need to locate educational resources

* increased competition for local business expansion and new business attraction projects

Individual beneficiaries

* high school students who need advanced placement courses and specialized foreign languages

* parents who can't afford to send their son or daughter to a campus to take courses leading to an associate's or bachelor's degree

* elementary, secondary, and high school teachers interested in updating their teacher certification or completing a master's degree

* workers interested in completing or obtaining a master's in business administration or MS in engineering

Other beneficiaries

The community benefits because distance learning creates and enhances a variety of educational opportunities, avoids duplication, breaks down geographic barriers and serves as a first step toward other collaborative community activities. …

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