The e-pioneer pushes the envelope.
The word “envelope” does not only mean a paper container for a letter. In aviation it refers to a collection of curves on a graph that defines the maximum capabilities of an aircraft – it describes the generally accepted ranges and limits within which a high-performance airplane can operate.
Towards the end or World War II test pilots started pushing their aircraft beyond these limits and this practice came to be known as “pushing the envelope”. This piece of aeronautical jargon gradually entered general usage to describe any situation where accepted and conventional limits are challenged.
To what extent can e-pioneers push the envelope in education, moving beyond conventional boundaries?
Teachers may start using computers as productivity tools, such as using a word processor to type test papers. But can teachers be moved beyond personal use of computers and start using them as teaching tools?
With increasing numbers of educators leaving and decreasing numbers entering the teaching profession, one can reasonably ask: what if a class of learners suddenly finds itself without a teacher? Should we not push the envelope to a position where technology assumes some of the roles of teachers?
Pilots who pushed the envelope in their flying excursions sometimes crashed. The e-pioneer may not succeed all the time – but the failures will not lead to loss off life. Much is to be gained by pushing the technology envelope to its limit in schools.
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