Rural System's

Education and the Didactron

See Stem education

"Education" is used so loosely and so variously that people within Rural System and those involved in its development work with concepts of changed behavior. We use the word didactics to suggest the differences in our meaning and we develop educational programs and projects for staff, clients, and the public.

We tend to work with the concepts that if the student has not changed his or her behavior, then learning has not occurred. If an effort has been made to cause a person's behavior to change and it has not, then teaching has not occurred. On a positive note, the change must be observable and "significant." For the individual for which the statistics of populations and the accepted meaning of significant difference has no meaning, we suggest measured differences of 15% over 5 years or an amount of difference agreed upon by the pooled opinion of three or more informed observers of that person's behavior. Answering a test question (item) correctly may be an index to having a desired behavior, but it must be compared to the prior behavioral condition (i.e., unable to answer correctly consistently). There are many ways to change behavior (e.g., fences, drugs, bonds and irons, significant threats, significant rewards). Laws and regulations tend to change behavior. The difference, difficult to refine, is that within the Rural System concept, the desired behavior is known and specified, the present condition is determined, and a host of actions and tactics are involved to change present behaviors to those desired and now specified. If a desired behavior exists, it cannot be taught. It might be confirmed and certified but this action is not education, certainly not didactics. The behavior might be judged to be able to be "improved" (implying the desired condition now exceeds the actual condition).

See The Didactron

The needs for education about Rural System itself, about the work of the employees and the groups, and for staff efficiencies are great. A new school is a real potential, working in the natural environment and using distance learning concepts in concert with outdoor education can created a needed alternative for youth and an adjunct resource for Virginia Tech, including its Northern Virginia Graduate program. The need is to bring the best of of what traditional education has to offer, delete the barriers and costs. Costs can be high but by concentrating on subsequent incentives and payoffs and on cost per unit of changed behavior per unit time real gains can be made. Incentives and payoffs can provide students with net gains for their investments.

We deal with the didactron as a system, only a small part of which is a place.

See Reply radio response systems for classrooms.

See World Lecture, free on-line course material

See US Distance Learning Association and Electronic Campus

Last revision: October 5, 2004, August 12, 2005