It’s interesting to listen to different viewpoints from teachers on the recent development of high quality, free online courses available to everyone on nearly any topic. Some teachers see these courses as a clearly inferior education due to a lack of social interaction, hands on instruction and personal relationships. Other teachers are wary of alternatives to the classroom and see free online courses as a potential threat to their own livelihood. But there are those who see Khan Academy and similar institutions as potential enrichment activities, ways to integrate supplementary materials into class, or a way to reach and teach multi-leveled classrooms at an appropriate pace. And of course, there are some teachers who have never heard of online instruction-but they are not reading this article.
The method of instructional delivery in certain lecture-based courses found online will not replace what you can do in the classroom any time soon. And personal interactions remain the best way to collaborate on group projects with hands on materials. However there are some really nice interactive STEM tutorials, well-organized and fun that would likely enhance your courses, and give students an opportunity to practice key concepts at home. Carefully chosen online courses can make your teaching more efficient and engaging, and there is generally little need to rewrite lesson plans or worry about deviating from standards that you have worked hard to meet in your curriculum.