Friday, December 23, 2011

Socrates and C-3P0


Instead of replacing teachers, technology has the potential to transform [..] teaching.


Wrong. Average teacher who is only expert at pedagogy should disappear, researchers record and distribute online videos. This means replacing teachers (except a few), and is a major change in how schools are organized. So noone is being "transformed" here -- quality teachers teach as they did before, but their reach, in terms of students will now be in millions. On the other hand, average teachers get zero access.

This is not a slam against regular teachers as individuals. Maybe all of these people can be stellar educators in a topic they know really well. But the system is pushing them towards standardized topics, giving them only basic pedagogy and expect to create wonders on topics that change faster than the seasons in a year.

I'll give you an example: In mathematics / linear algebra, the topic of "determinants" used to be a big deal. I mean big. People used to write books about this shit; that's how big it was. But research changed direction, all of a sudden that part of math contracted a little. Now, Gilbert Strang at MIT can reflect that in his video courses immediately. He knows the research, makes a decision, snap -- millions get the new content. How long would it take for this change to reach "schools" using the old process? Textbooks, teachers, .. A long time.

That's why I keep saying, everyone gets first-hand access to quality content through the Net. No exceptions.