Remote learning is not a new idea or way to learn. It has been a part of the curriculum for centuries, possibly as far back as the 1700’s. It was named “Correspondence” and although a slow and tedious process, it caught on and grew leaps and bounds, sweeping across the countries of the world.
One of the most prominent in its time was the “Society to Encourage Home Studies” in 1873. In 1888 adult, immigrant men entered correspondence learning to become state mine inspectors and foremen of a Pennsylvania coal-mining boom to alleviate a shortage of workers.
Correspondence in the states alone grew in twenty years to an enrollment of 2500 new students in 1893 and matriculated 72,000 new students by 1895. The growth was due to sending out complete textbooks instead of single lessons, and the use of 1200 aggressive in-person salesmen. By 1906 total enrollments at the expanded International Correspondence School had reached 900,000. Correspondence or Remote learning continues to grow today, from Grade school subjects to University degrees, all accessed online. I, myself, took Grade 9 Algebra via snail mail correspondence in 1974. Hmmm….What a difference a Zoom class would have made in my Algebra mark!
Do you remember the “Draw Me” ads of Tipsy the Turtle and Winky the Deer along with many other interesting characters in every newspaper and magazine in the 80’s? Audrey Watters initiated this course to help budding artists see their potential, then offered an online art course after they sent in their version of these drawings. Ms. Watter found 3 characteristic qualities of distance education that remain reasonable today:
- First, that distance education is just as good, valid and high-quality as in person.
- Second, your earning potential will increase if you participate in this course of study.
- Third, that distance education is scalable to give access to students everywhere.
- In 2021 we can also add – frees up time allowing students to juggle work and class time when necessary, keeps cost and fees lower, less travel expense, ability to work at their own pace and remain in the comfort of their home
These are true of urban areas, however, still not the case in our rural and remote parts of Canada or the world for that matter.
Statistics Canada reports “40 percent of Canada’s workers found themselves working from home as pandemic lockdowns were enforced. That compares to less than 10 percent in 2018 who had the option to work a day or two a week from home.”
Whether e-Commerce itself would have moved us forward or Covid-19 has been the sole push, traditional classroom learning and jobs are rapidly moving from office settings to on-line capability. Economic booms and busts are long overdue to be a shared endeavor, for every Canadian, no matter their race or title. The future of connectivity through technically solid operations is looking brighter with an upswing in readily available teaching tools and learning opportunities. Many new options are on the horizon, in large part due to LEO’s scheduled installation and orbit by 2024 (as described in the previous “LEO is out of this World” blog). Many, many Indigenous lives will be changed in a positive, economic inclusive way with these new opportunities.
Let’s repeat a line we shared at the beginning of this blog regarding learning in the 1800’s, to show it’s relevance today when thinking of online learning and Indigenous inclusive economy… “although a slow and tedious process, it caught on and grew leaps and bounds, sweeping across the countries of the world”. With a holistic approach, Indigenous communities, regardless of their location in Canada are about to leap forward into the future.
It’s Time For Change is listening, watching closely, and being ready to liaise between Indigenous and non-Indigenous entities. Education, it’s delivery, well sourced honest information, and honorable inclusive negotiation is key.
Let’s all get connected!