Green eLearning: From electronic to energy-efficient»
Okay, let’s face it. From a literary perspective it might not be considered the greatest creative genius to simply add a lower case letter to a word in order to create a brand or product name. I don’t want to go into the endless reiterations of iPad, iPhone, iBook, eCommerce etc… we’re all more than familiar with those neologisms than we may even want to be.
Shakespeare and his literary colleagues might be turning in their graves, or who knows – maybe they’d gladly accept those artificial formations into their treasure trove of vocabulary without batting an eye. But this is speculation. The main thing is this: They work. They buzz. That’s it.
So, to make a long story short.
What is eLearning?
The term actually refers to “electronic learning”. One might argue that most if not even all advanced forms of learning these days include electronics or technology to at least some degree. And maybe this is the reason why this term compared to its siblings iPad and eCommerce is not heard as often in common parlance.
The fact that learning is connected to technology is an obvious fact, especially to younger learners who take it for granted that things are electronic and even more so, that they are digital, online and connected.
As a teacher at Learn Out Live in particular, technology for me is the medium of teaching. It is as obvious a fact as walls and books are in a physical school. And I have to disagree here with the popular phrase of Marshall McLuhan that “the medium is the message.” At least for our case this is not true.
Technology is simply a given for modern human beings. Learning always means making the best out of all the possible givens and aligning them towards a maximum of growth and efficiency in information processing.
Having said that…
eLearning is green!
Yes, the “e” means also ecological. Let’s look at an example:
Living in one of the bustling cities on this planet I see everyday hundreds of students migrating from home to school and back, but there of course many more than I can see : There are three big universities in Berlin. One of the oldest is the Humboldt University, it has about 30.000 students and 4000 persons on staff. Then there is the FU with also about 30.000 students and about 5.000 persons on staff. Then there is the TU with also roughly 30.000 students and 7000 on staff. Do the math!
Considering the fact that most students and personnel of those three universities do not live in walking distance to their study or workplace (like in most cities) it means that every day about 100.0000 people are commuting through the city with trains, buses, cars, trams, motorcycles and subways. And those are just the universities. Add 831 public schools with 320870 students plus staff from headmasters down to caretakers.
Add all other secondary or private schooling institutions for both children and grown-ups. Most of them involve commuting. If you thought that commuting starts with work life, think again.
The numbers above are just to give you an example for one city. Add all cities of all countries and what you get is quite a LOT of traffic, energy and time spent not even on learning itself, but just getting to the place of learning or supporting its hungry infrastructure.
Add to this the actual impact education facilities all over the planet have on the environment in terms of heating, electricity and other resources. No matter how you calculate, eLearning is 100 % green.
I know there are arguments that using computers and the Internet is one of the worst contributing factors to global warming, but that’s a blunt one for the simple reason that all big universities, schools and other educational facilities use computers and the net on top of all their other resources.
In other words: In current times it is not any longer a question whether we pollute or environment or not. We actually do! If you still don’t believe this, even the best of education will not help you.
The question is one of reducing emissions, making things more efficient, friendly and greener in general. How to do this is really up to each and every person. At Learn Out Live we do our share by giving people all over the planet the opportunity to study in the most energy-efficient way possible, reducing environmental impact by eradicating commuting to language schools, exchanging paper copies for digital documents and physical products for digital goods.
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