How Technology can Shape Education

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Initial reflections, poor understanding of the current conditions and mostly biased towards high-income countries.

In the podcast people i mostly admire , Steven Dubner discusses with Mayim Bialik about the role technology can have in shaping the future of education. Incredibly, they default to the technocracy approach, typical of Silicon Valley, thinking that teachers can be replaced by videos.

The argument is as follows:

Grab the best 100 teachers across a country, make them record videos, and distribute them to all schools. In this way, all students have access to the best teachers.

This approach was done decades ago 1 as an attempt to democratize the access to university education in Argentina. But it is not enough. The solution to educational problems are not constrained to a better use of technology, but to a better understanding of the science behind learning, and a clear political decision to make a change.

Having a recorded video is only a tiny (extremely tiny) part of what technology offers for education. We could consider building courses as knowledge trees , where each student can follow a different path according to their needs and desires. Technology also allows to build knowledge without domain barriers , while physical teachers tend to be specialized in some area.

The idea of recording videos is what MOOC platforms are already employing. Many universities have opened their resources for whoever wants to consume them. However, most of the classes are still built on the idea of following a well defined path. Content can't be easily consumed in a custom way, linking content from different courses into a meta-knowledge tree.

  1. Rolando García, "La Construcción de lo Posible"


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