Terry Moe and John Chubb say…
Even today, with educational technology in its earliest stages:
- Curricula can be customized to meet the learning styles and life situations of individual students.
- Education can be freed from geographic constraint.
- Students can have more interaction with . . . teachers and students who may be thousands of miles away or from different nations or cultures.
- Parents can readily be included in the communications loop.
- Teachers can be freed from their tradition-bound classroom roles, employed in more differentiated and productive ways, and offered new career paths.
- Sophisticated data systems can put the spotlight on performance [and] make progress (or the lack of it) transparent.
- Schools can be operated at lower cost, relying more on technology (which is relatively cheap) and less on labor (which is relatively expensive). . . .
Information and knowledge are absolutely fundamental to what education is all about . . . and it would be impossible for the information revolution to unfold and not have transformative implications for how children can be educated and how schools and teachers can more productively do their jobs. . . .
Precisely because technology promises to transform the core components of schooling, it is inevitably disruptive to the jobs, routines, and resources of the people whose livelihoods derive from the existing system. [Liberating Learning: Technology, Politics, and the Future of American Education, pp. 7–9]
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Pablo From Argentina
Terry and John,
I think you have an interesting point when you say that “Schools can be operated at lower cost, relying more on technology (which is relatively cheap) and less on labor (which is relatively expensive).” It reminds me of what has happened in history as machines have replaced humans in factories and in the workforce. Although technology is good, I don’t think that there will ever be anything that will truly replace the relationship that develops when a teacher interacts with a student, in person, in the classroom. If we take that away from the education system in the name of “cost efficiency”, I think that we will be making a huge mistake. I understand that many people now get college degrees through all internet or “e-learning”, but there is a big difference between a college student and a first grader, or a sixth grader. I think that we need to be careful that we do not exchange quality for cost efficiency.