Teaching a lesson to first grade students in a remote setting

I presented direct broadcast classes about dinosaurs.

The content for my show ranged from "Can you move like a four-legged dinosaur?" for early learners to substantial content for middle-school classes.

One day, I had a broadcast to a group of first graders in Hawaii. My broadcast engineer and I pulled together the material for our "Can you move like a four-legged dinosaur?" show.

The students, of course, could see and hear me via the satellite broadcast, and I could hear them via phone line. The show went smoothly... for about two minutes. I was talking about "four-legged dinosaurs" and happened to use the term "brontosaurus."

As soon as the word had come from my mouth, the teacher's voice came through my ear-piece.

"Mr. Shaw," she said, "Can Billy say something to you?"

"Of course. What would you like to say, Billy?"

"There's no such dinosaur as a brontosaurus," says Billy confidently.

"You're absolutely right, Billy. Do you know the real name of the dinosaur that was called the brontosaurus?"

"The apatosaurus."

It was obvious that these first graders knew their stuff when it came to dinosaurs. 

My engineer contacted me privately through the ear piece, "Should I pull the other tapes?" I nodded as I had all the students give Billy a round of applause for being correct. "Do you know the story of how the brontosaurus became the apatosaurus?" I asked. Billy didn't know the story, and by the time I had finished (about a minute) my engineer and I were able to seamlessly shift the show to a more advanced level.

The lesson to be learned is this: 

  • Education needs to be dynamic. 

In order for education to be dynamic, content needs to be accessible, fluid, and able to be scaled to the user's needs.

Of course, in the case of our dinosaur show, none of this would have mattered if my engineer and I didn’t listen to our students and we didn’t have a personal commitment to the quality or our material.

We want to help change the face of education. For this to happen our product needs to:

  1. be affordable,
  2. be current,
  3. be easily accessible,
  4. be scaled to local and even individual needs,
  5. empower teachers and students to create their own content without being programmers,
  6. support current interactive multimedia technologies,
  7. have a stimulating spirit of innovation, adventure, and discovery,
  8. have an affordable platform and high speed access.

Web delivery makes items 1-3 possible.

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