Uranus in Taurus began in December of 2019 and will last until July 2025. The last time Uranus was in Taurus was 1934 to 1942. It is easy to identify these years as the time of the Great Depression and the beginning of World War II, and those events can certainly reflect Uranus in Taurus. But, more interestingly, Uranus in Taurus represents breakthroughs in technology and social norms that revolutionize everyday life. This article will look at current and possible impact of comprehensive online learning.
Uranus in Taurus
Each point in the sky rules a specific sign; when that point is in that sign, its energy is strongest, and its effects last the longest. When the point is in a different sign than its rulership, especially a sign that is also very different in terms of element and expression, the impacts occur in the areas of life ruled by that sign. With Uranus in Taurus, the point and the sign could not be more opposite, so the impacts can be very noticeable.
Uranus brings breakthroughs, shocks, and revolution. Taurus conserves, supports traditions, and prefers for things to “stay the way they are”. So, you can imagine that this transit is likely to impact the fundamentals in life (Taurus) in revolutionary ways (Uranus) while it moves through the sign from 2019 to 2025.
It is interesting to study astrology over the course of human history and see how the patterns cycle through, especially when seen through the lens of the outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. In the case of Uranus, the cycle happens every 84 years for an 8-year span. In the case of Neptune, the cycle happens every 165 years for about a 14-year span. And Pluto returns to a sign every 247 years for anywhere from 17 to 31 years.
Therefore, it is not surprising that, as an aspect of American history, the period between 1935 and 1942, and the years soon after, when Uranus entered Gemini, would be one of astounding breakthroughs in technology and societal norms. Let’s just consider a few profound examples: rocket power for planes, with the development of the Heinkel He 176 in 1939; the discovery and use of nuclear fission (1938), which lead to the development of the atomic bomb; and women entering the workforce in support of the war (1940 to 1945). Each of these, and many more, fundamentally redefined reality (Taurus) in shocking ways (Uranus).
Like so many things happen during this transit, that breakthrough, the real question remains, “what will become part of the new normal?” Because learning has “always taken place in a classroom”, which is not actually true, the push to online learning as the mainstream learning approach is viewed as a temporary solution until everyone can get back to the classroom.
The modern classroom as we know it today did not get its start until 1837, when Horace Man, then Secretary of Education in Massachusetts, introduced the idea of a system of professional teachers who would teach basic content in a formal curriculum. Online learning has been around since the 1990s and distance learning, through correspondence courses, dates back to the 1850s. But online learning went from the edge of the mainstream to full on mainstream between 2020 and 2021, due to the pandemic.
Is the Future Online Learning?
Here are some very interesting statistics from Think Impact that show how tremendous the shift was regarding electronic learning (eLearning) from 2019 to 2021.
K–12 eLearning Statistics
- 85% of these courses were taken by high school students.
- 23% of the courses taken were math, while 14% of the courses were science.
- 64% of the online learning opportunities were to provide courses not available at a particular school.
- 57% of the opportunities were to help students recover from missed or failed courses.
- 40% of the courses provided students with AP or college-level courses.
- 30% were available to reduce scheduling conflicts.
- 25% were in place to help students with special needs or who were homebound.
- 11 states offer online course choice programs.
- 21% of public schools and 13% of private schools offered at least one online course.
- Of the schools that offered at least one online course, 81.9% were primary schools.
- 3% of middle schools provided at least one online course, while only 53.8% of high schools provided this option.
- Around 4.8% offered all courses online.
- About 2.9% of schools offered half of their courses online.
- In 2019 a total of 57% of all students in the United States were equipped with digital learning tools.
- 45% were elementary students, 64% were middle school students, and 63% were high school students.
- Administrators stated that up to 70% of online classes could be taken without any orientation.
- In 2021, use of remote management apps for academic purposes increased by 87%.
- The use of collaboration apps increased by 141%.
- 40% of student device usage was spent on education platforms.
- Full-time classes were available in 68% of high-income districts but only in 36% of schools with low-income students.
- In 2021, 75% of US schools have planned to operate completely online.
- 80% have purchased or are planning to purchase additional technology for students.
The numbers for colleges and business are equally dramatic.
An Imperfect Solution Due to Taurean Thinking
As it turns out I have some rather unique experience when it comes to distance and online learning, having worked for the Department of Continuing Education at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1996, and then for the School of Government from 1997 to 2007, where numerous efforts were made to try to leverage online learning. Most of them only partially succeeded while many failed outright because no real effort was made to think of online learning as a very different way to learn.
In other words, from then to now, and even with the huge thrust of the pandemic, the learning attempted to “recreate” the classroom environment. Rather than try to imagine how you would build online learning from the ground up, without a reference to in-person classroom learning. As a result, almost all attempts have tried to fit a square peg in a round hole. Therefore, it is unlikely that many of the online learning efforts will stick.
Online learning does not need to recreate the shared group experience but can rather allow students to move through material at different paces and in different ways, with a greater focus on critical thinking, knowing that the knowledge base does not have to reside in anyone’s memory. Rather, the data can be called upon in useful ways when situations and problems arise thanks to the speed of the internet and the AI of Siri, Alexa, and other voice-activated solutions. If you are going to use online resources for information, then how about teaching how to evaluate them rather than focusing on just the data?
If online learning is going to have a chance to become mainstream, then it will not be seen as a lesser substitute to classroom learning, but rather a completely different learning style and environment that needs to be shaped by its own parameters and not the one’s set out over 160 years ago.