Public Education’s Silver BulletIn a labor-intensive industry, customizing education meant having one teacher for every child. That’s impossible, so instead you have 30 children and one teacher. You can’t customize. You have to standardize. But we have a method now that personalizes every child’s education. They can move through at their own pace.
That’s because there will essentially be a division of labor between teachers and computers, where computers are doing a lot of the teaching and teachers are participating, facilitating, but most of the load is being borne by computers. And kids can go through the material at their own pace. If they don’t know something, the computer knows they don’t know it. It can then immediately provide them with remedial help. They can work on things that they don’t know until they do know them. Then they can move ahead. The computer can be measuring how well the kids are doing at every step along the way and make that data available to teachers in real time to see the student’s progress. So there’s just so much more relevant information about the student. This has never happened before.
And teaching will become a much more differentiated profession than it is now. Not all teachers will be class teachers. A lot of the teachers will be online teachers who may, in fact, not deal with students. They might deal mainly with parents. Or with developing curricula. Or setting up management infrastructure. There may be other teachers whose job will require them to be at the school physically, monitoring kids or providing kids with tutoring, special help when they don’t understand something about their computer or about the material or the assignment. And I think that they’ll also be paid differently and evaluated very differently because their profession is going to be so different.