Is the 21st century class room a virtual one?

I recently came across this excellent TED talk by Peter Norvig entilted “the 100,000-student classroom”. The popularity of online education should probably not be a big surprise. Instant knowledge, facts through online encyclopedia and so on was certainly a first step. The power of internet clearly bring with it the idea of learning when ready concept. In manufacturing, they would call it “just in time” production. A great example of this can be found in the growing popularity of the Khan Academy (see for example Let’s use video to reinvent education).

This brings numerous questions. Namely:

Will the virtual classroom be limited to tutoring in order to supplement traditional teaching or as a replacement option?

Is there still place for one on one teaching / learning?

If I look at the graduate courses I teach, they tends to be slightly different from one year to the other because of student / teacher interaction. The virtual classroom removes real-time interaction!

Maybe it will force teachers to redefine teaching as to provide a plus-value in order to get students in a dedicated room at a fix time every week for 15-17 weeks in a row (a semester)…

What do you think?

(Note added: While scanning my usual blog lists today, I found that Organizing Creativity also as a post on the virtual classroom)

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