Okay, I’ve been sitting on some of these entries for a while in my Bloglines account, and since it has been a while since I posted here and since AECT is coming up in less than a month, I figured I should deal with them.
The first that I’ve wanted to chat about was an entry called Research in Distance Education in Canada that I found at e-Learning Acupuncture. Essentially the entry is about an article in International Review of Research in Open and Distance Education about that status of distance education research in my home country. The author of this entry goes on about the interesting things that can be found in this article (and I’m not disputing that) and somewhat of a commentary on the overall state of research in distance education in general. The problem for me is that when I look through IRRODE or any of the other main distance education journals, I see very little in the way of research that is focused upon a K-12 audience.
This is probably best evidenced by the article described by Darren in his entry on A Review of Research on Teaching Courses Online over at Teaching and Developing Online. This was a recent Review of Educational Research article that we read as a part of our group last year. A comprehensive look at online distance education. Not one mention of the K-12 environment.
Now I understand that virtual schooling has only really be around for a decade, but distance education at the K-12 level in North America has been common in rural areas for the past thirty to thirty-five years. Even online distance education at the K-12 level has been around (although not as extensively) for the past fifteen to twenty years. So, why is the K-12 environment alays dissed?
Maybe it is partly our own fault. I’m only a doctoral student, so I haven’t been at this trying to be an academic thing for that long a period of time. But most of that time my interests have been squarely focused upon distance education at the K-12 level and, specifically, on virtual schooling. For example, I came across this article this past week:
A Comprehensive Look at Distance Education in the K–12 Context
Kerry Lynn Rice
And given that I am working on my dissertation and I was sure that if I didn’t include something like this in my chapter two, I’d never be given the chance to defend, I downloaded a copy of it and began to read.
To be honest, I was a little disappointed. The comprehensive look wasn’t that comprehensive at all. The title of the article, and even the abstract, imply that all forms of distance education at the K-12 level would be considered, but the majority of the article looked at online forms of distance education with a real focus on virtual schooling. But even more disappointing than that was in looking through the bibliography and seeing how much was missing.
So I ask, are K-12 distance education researchers partly to blame for the fact that everyone else ignores us, particularly when we also tend to ignore much of our own area of interest?