Distance Learning Evolved

Mind Map

Distance learning has evolved throughout the decades. When I went to school, I thought that distance learning was barely being introduced and the technology wasn’t nearly as advanced as it is today. In the school setting, distance learning was a tool used to communicate to remote areas. They placed a big screen television with a camera in the front of the classroom, and if we were lucky, other students from the district would tune in and we could all watch a demonstration live.  Many people are under the impression that distance learning only deals in the education atmosphere, which is not true at all.

Due to advances in technology, distance learning has come a very long way and keeps advancing as new technologies are brought to light. Distance learning is a form of communication where the teacher and the student do not meet in a face to face classroom but rather online.

Distance education has gone through several stages of development.
Taylor (1999) has proposed five generations of distance education:

  • correspondence education;
  • integrated use of multiple, one-way media such as print, broadcasting or recorded media such as video-cassettes;
  • two-way, synchronous tele-learning using audio or video-conferencing;
  • flexible learning based on asynchronous online learning combined with online interactive multimedia;
  • intelligent flexible learning, which adds a high degree of automation and student control to asynchronous online learning and interactive multimedia.

The progression through these stages of development has been driven mainly by changes in technology and educational theory.

Throughout the past week, I’ve learned that there are four characteristics of Distance Learning (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015):

  1. It’s carried out through institutions
  2. Geographic separation and time separate students and teachers.
  3. Interactive telecommunications, electronic communication created the interaction between learners and teachers.
  4. It established a learning community.

Distance learning has become a method of learning (studying), in which the lectures are conducted over an online connection, without the student or employee having to be present in a face to face environment.

The future of Distance learning is held in the demands of the consumers.  Many have turned to Web 2.0 tools to learn how to do many things from cooking to building a house. It will remove barriers from learning and technology will continue to be the critical element in Distance Learning.


Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of

distance education.

Taylor, J. C. (1999). Distance education: the fifth-generation proceedings of the 19th ICDE world

conference on open learning and distance education, Vienna, Austria

What Is Distance Education? (2008, July 7). Retrieved January 13, 2017, from


About Me



Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Mayte Castilla and I was born and raised in Texas! I have been an educator for about 9 years and have taught 5th – 7th grade, Science and Reading. I am also certified by the Texas State Board of Pharmacy as a pharmacy technician. I am currently working on my M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology through Walden University. My goal is to blog about the instructional design field and distance learning.

I’m ALWAYS Learning


After reading and studying the different learning theories and learning styles, it was brought to my attention that I learn many different ways. I have a multimodal way of learning, meaning that I have to use kinesthetic, read/write, aural, and visual strategies.

Using more than one strategy usually works best! Knowing this, my learning stretches across different learning theories as well. I feel as if I may dip into a little bit of all the learning theories based on different situations and also my mood. My students show the same energy at times. In order to keep their engagement, you have to know your students and feel their energy and think, “How will my students learn best?”

Technology plays a huge part in my learning and teaching. Teachers need to keep abreast of the new technologies and instructional strategies using apps on iPads, for example.  When performing research, I have to teach my students how to research correctly using the internet and making them aware of situations that could arise. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t use technology. I use it to keep grades and attendance, keep records, and analyze data. I often find different ways to engage my students and use technology to raise the rigor of the curriculum.

There’s so much to learning and teaching than meets the eye. Those who aren’t in the education field find it hard to believe that it’s a difficult job. It’s not for everybody! But for those who want to argue, I simply take off my shoes and tell them, “Here, put these on!”


My Mind Map of Network Connections


Mind mapping is fun and I was able to reflect on my learning experiencing. Theres no way that I would have been able to finish this because its a “working” mind map. I am constantly getting information and support from family, education, work and my personal life. This allows me to connect with different people all the time and through them I acquire new skills and experiences. During this process, I was able to reflect on my past experiences and think about the wonderful memories. Those memories alone, taught and molded me into the person I am today.

From the Brain to the Classroom

There are many websites and articles about how the brain learns. The study of neurosciences have developed many different approaches to trying to understand how the brain works. But since no one is able to fully dissect the brain to fathom how the brain learns, those with epilepsy are the ones to go through any such trial. There continues to be research done and the links below can help us understand how to apply techniques to better the learning that is happening in the classroom.

Brain-based learning is an excellent website  full of tools like videos, news articles, and website that help explain how neurosciences can be applied in various lessons.

Since I began my career in education, the schools that I have taught at are those with low social-economic status. They receive federal grants under Title I. In the past 9 years as an educator, the 4 schools that I have taught at have a history of students who come from broken homes divorce, parents that are incarcerated, being raised by grandparents, homes involved in drugs etc.

  In my opinion, these families send me their best everyday. Our school has to be inviting and have a feeling of safety and trust.

The following website: How Can Research on the Brain Inform Education?, explains how certain findings encourage educators and parents to expose their little ones to different learning experiences.


Technology Integration in Middle School


Being a middle school science teacher, I’m always looking for the next big thing to engage students and make their learning meaningful. With the introduction of iPads at our campus, I have made it a personal challenge to flip my classroom. The students are already submerged into the technology world, so why not incorporate that with learning!

The Edutopia – Flipped classroom Blog, is a great source for strategies, videos, and online blogging about what a flipped classroom has to offer. Its a great way to use differentiated instruction through technology. The most successful part of a flipped classroom is customized, watchable, functional videos. Students are able to express themselves in a whole new way. The videos must encourage the students to interact as well as watch.

In a true flipped classroom, the teacher’s role is to be a mentor by stepping away from the traditional lecture. There are Apps for the Flipped Classroom  that have everything from interactive practice sets to instructional videos to whiteboard tools to help students learn new things at home, freeing up classroom time for clarification, exploration, and creation. When looking through the apps for Science, I discovered some great science tools, tips, lesson plans and ready-to-use resources for STEM/STEAM for physics, biology, chemistry, and Earth science.

My students deserve the best learning environment and I need to make sure to be efficient in building lessons. The following website: Top Instructional Design Tips , has great design tips to help one learn about course design and how to build those strong lessons.