Khan Academy is an online class resource - I remember seeing Trieste mention it, and keep meaning to go back there myself. Wolfram-Alpha is another educational resource - I remember them from their focus on math (I once browsed their site so heavily, they thought I was a 'bot), but they might offer other courses.
I think there needs to be a certain amount of 'push', rather than leaving it strictly 'student-driven'. I'm a little biased, due to the little Oni's decision to try to 'coast' through 5th grade, but parental insistence (and a
ssistance) on getting X amount of learning in can be crucial to getting the 'learning bug' going. We started out giving the little Oni a written note with what exercises she had to do before getting on the computer for about a week - complete with password-locking the computer. Yesterday, I had forgotten to leave the note out, and despite having figured out the password, she still got the book, did the next set of exercises, asked me for help
, did the work, and then actively listened to my explanation of why two of the problems really couldn't be answered as 'True' or 'False'.
I can envision Internet 'conference classes' set up for some subjects: Teacher in a central location, kids at home computers, libraries, whatever. The 'blackboard' would be replaced with a tablet that outputs to a separate frame on the page - no more 'I can't see the booooard!' - while the teacher explains the lesson over Skype. Questions could be asked over headsets, entered on a form or typed into chat room-style setups. 'Going to the board' could be done with keyboard, mouse, or other input. Important: Teachers would still be needed!
I'm not good with the idea of one teacher handling an undefined number of students - I worked tech support in a chatroom with 19 users at a time, and that was hard enough, thank you. Classroom sizes should be limited to something less than that. Added benefit: Lessons could be recorded for review (I'd incorporate something so that the recorded lessons were tied to a given student ID for better teacher compensation - or tie something to the amount of times the recorded lesson was downloaded.) Oh, and if they'd had things like this
in my Biology class, instead of making us suffer from formaldehyde fumes, I'd have been a whole lot more interested and less nauseated. (Found that site through the little Oni.)