The worst teacher I had in high school was my history teacher in I think 10th grade. His lecture was him writing notes on the blackboard and we would copy them down. He would do page after page of notes with no talking. Then after we copied down notes for 20 min he would talk about it for a little bit. I got a hand cramp every day. I love history and yet it killed it for me. 😦
A few years ago I realized that the great power of the Internet was to empower creative people. If everyone has a (fairly) equal voice, then the people who are most creative will rise to the top. So far, I think that has proven out to be accurate. So can we apply that to schools?
Right now, school is organized on the physical location of teachers and students. A student ends up with a particular teacher, not because that paring would be very effective, but because they live near each other. This was necessary 100 years ago but today it’s not. Therefore I have speculated it is now possible to hook up a teacher and student via the Internet based on the suitability of the paring. Then, the Internet also greatly increases the amount of people a single person can reach at the same time. Put this together and you can see that it is now possible to have a few really good teachers teaching many many students remotely.
With that in mind, I would direct you to a new article in The Atlantic
I describe what I think the public-school classroom will look like in 20 years, with a large, fantastic computer screen at the front, streaming one of the nation’s most engaging, informative lessons available on a particular topic. The “virtual class” will be introduced, guided, and curated by one of the country’s best teachers (a.k.a. a “super-teacher”), and it will include professionally produced footage of current events, relevant excerpts from powerful TedTalks, interactive games students can play against other students nationwide, and a formal assessment that the computer will immediately score and record.
I tell this college student that in each classroom, there will be a local teacher-facilitator (called a “tech”) to make sure that the equipment works and the students behave. Since the “tech” won’t require the extensive education and training of today’s teachers, the teacher’s union will fall apart, and that “tech” will earn about $15 an hour to facilitate a class of what could include over 50 students. This new progressive system will be justified and supported by the American public for several reasons: Each lesson will be among the most interesting and efficient lessons in the world; millions of dollars will be saved in reduced teacher salaries; the “techs” can specialize in classroom management; performance data will be standardized and immediately produced (and therefore “individualized”); and the country will finally achieve equity in its public school system.
Phew that’s quite a block of text. The whole article goes on to say that not only is the author more convinced about this but now he thinks it might be a little as 5 years to happen. To which I will add, once you add realtime translation to the mix you can get teachers from the whole world. Can you imagine a lesson on Japanese art being taught by a Japanese art teacher? Imagine driving a drone through a historical area like the Pyramids of Egypt. Imagine it was equipped with a 360 degree camera so you can use a VR headset to actually be there.
Oh I am darn excited to see how education changes in the next few years!