Where to next – back to school?

This is my attempt at writing a newspaper article to reflect one quadrant of a scenario matrix.  This article loosely explores virtual schooling, qualifications and equity in 2032

Virtual educational facilitators have been called to a crisis meeting.  This was pre-empted by a particularly nasty cyber attack that shocked the learning fraternity.  Serendipity, one of the facilitators tells her story:

I have been virtually facilitating learning from when our virtual learning school (VLS106) first opened.  Mostly things have gone smoothly in VLS106, which opened in 2022.  There are many positives, which make learning really exciting for students. For example the advent of high-speed travel in 2020, means that we can send language students half way around the world for a morning of in situ language learning in France.  Rapid access data systems and time shifts mean we can spend quality ‘face-to-face’ time planning individualised learning experiences that suit our students.  Money that used to be spent on the up-keep of school buildings and technology infrastructure can now be put straight into resources for learning, now that caregivers are responsible for connecting students to our virtual school.  We have found that it is still important to put students in touch with each other, so we do this through virtual community projects.  Our students gain assessment points for their creativity and problem solving contributions to these projects.

The downside of our virtual learning environment has meant that students unable or disinterested in connecting have become very disaffected and isolated.  Some students become isolated anyway – they find it difficult to socialise unless it is face to face in real time. Others resent the intrusive nature of our virtual personal tagging and tracing systems (GPS and NPD).  Learning experiences, achievements, time on task, virtual and real movements are all displayed for all to see.  They do all they can to abort the system. Online learning doesn’t suit them, but unfortunately the economy of such an approach is a compelling reason for the Government to continue this way now.  We call these disaffected students the ‘turn-offs’ or ‘isolationists’.  They turn off all opportunities to engage with online learning, preferring to go underground, setting up negative networks and undermining the system.  I have to admit though there is an equity issue here – not every family can fund the extra participatory activities for learning, as is expected now.  Some students have set up amazing online businesses, which help off set their learning account.  But others with little to give are disadvantaged.

We have been called together today because a massive cyber attack on the hospital system has been traced back to our virtual school network.  There have been calls to have these students better managed.  Questions have been asked about how we are meeting the needs of these students and how effective our virtual tracking and tracing systems are.  I know that some of the students’ issues could be solved, by getting to know them better, and attempting to meet their learning needs in real time.


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