Monday, October 26, 2015

The Reshaping of Education

"Here is a link that is related to the book I am currently reading:

No More Pencils, No More Books - Artificially intelligent software is replacing the textbook—and reshaping American education.

Education will being changing very significantly in the coming years." Laurie


jerrye92002 said...

This item shows that correcting for student demographics only accounts for one third of the variation in educational performance.

Read more at:

Public education will change, unfortunately, only when they are forced to change.

Anonymous said...

"Public education will change, unfortunately, only when they are forced to change."

That's hilarious coming from a Conservative.


John said...

NR Destiny

NYT FL and TX excel

John said...

Joel, Why is that hilarious? To me it seems the GOP is the group demanding change, accountability and improvement. Whereas the Democrats and Teacher's Unions want to return to hiding the Public Education "near monopoly's" failures and leaving unfortunate children behind.

I will never understand why caring compassionate Liberals keep fighting for the questionable Teachers at the expense of the unlucky students.

jerrye92002 said...

Joel, how about trying a different example? Suppose I had said that "GM has been making poor-quality, high-cost cars for decades, while rewarding their workers with high wages and benefits and failing to invest in improved methods. Unfortunately, GM will change only when they are forced to change." Would you consider that observation hilarious, or simply factual?

Or put it another way: How do you believe a conservative SHOULD observe the public education system and its massive failures?

Laurie said...

so I read the long article I linked carefully all the way through and discovered it was even better than I initially thought in discussing this disruptive innovation in education.

But I am not going to spend energy commenting on it, as based on the few comments made I don't think it interests anyone but me.

I also think people are more interested in repeating their views on what's wrong with schools, teachers, unions, students, and/or parents than considering a new idea that could dramatically improve how students are educated. (or not)

Instead I am going to reread the article and continue with my book "Blended" with an eye toward which educational technology company I should invest some of my very limited savings into (once I fugure out how to research a company and how to buy stock.) Maybe I can get my new business school graduate son to help me out :)

John said...

I made the time to read it. I agree that it looks promising.

I keep hoping that Teachers figure out that their job is to help children understand and learn the chosen curriculum, not to choose the curriculum / content that is taught. Releasing that control and focusing on the kids seems challenging for some.

jerrye92002 said...

Sorry, I didn't read all the way through, because it just amazes me that somebody, somehow, has just discovered a technology that's been around for 20 years. I've used it, and I've seen other students and schools using it. It is essentially "class size=1" while the real teacher:student ratio can be considerably higher than it is presently (last class I saw had 45 kids, all heads down learning). That's one of the reasons I think education will be forced to change, finally. I'm surprised that no school district has discovered that they can have a real teacher in every classroom, too, through "distance learning" from India, where we can pay teachers 1/3 of what we pay here, "outsourcing" teaching jobs. I really hope that school districts and teachers can figure this out and "get with the program" before a) we lose another generation of kids and b) we wipe out our "domestic education industry."

John said...

Out source to India... I hope you are kidding.

Now I use WEBEX for many of my global meetings and I can assure everyone that though it works very well in some cases, education of a bunch of 8th graders will not be one of them.

jerrye92002 said...

I am not assured, because it is already working in a few test cases. To do worse than some of our public schools constitutes a pretty low bar for "not working." And can you offer similar assurances that computers will not replace teachers?

John said...

If all teachers did was Teach academics, it may happen.

However these are needy immature not fully developed rambunctious children... Not mature adults with fully developed frontal lobes who all value learning and/or sitting in front of a computer screen.

Now kids like my daughters may be able to do well with remote or computer led learning in some classes since based on years of conferences they are very focused and intent on learning. The Teachers typically sat them between the easily distracted kids who were resistant to learning to stabilize the area.

However it is not kids like mine that are struggling in school or with ACT scores. It is the easily distracted kids who are resistant to learning and have irresponsible or "in over their heads" parents where the failures occur. Thus the need for a lot of close adult supervision, coaching, and one/one talks.

John said...

However I am a big fan of Laurie's original link.

It helps the kids focus on what they need. And it keeps the Teachers focused on teaching, not curriculum creation.

Laurie said...

at first I though you made another dumb comment, John, just repeating another one of your favorite talking points, but then I realized you are right, that it will change the nature of the teaching job (although as the technology is still in an early phase we really don't know how.) Anyway, it does seem that teachers more focused on relationships with their students instead of driven by creating content will feel more satisified with their future role. Maybe the creative content developer teachers will be able to put their skills to work working for one of the ed. tech companies.

Also, I initially agreed with Jerry, why aren't the schools using this much more widey already and there is probably some resistance to change, but a bigger factor is this is very hard to do well amd we are jsut starting to get there in terms of quality software.

I decided I am probabably not to late to make some money off an investment (if I had more $ to invest and I could pick a winner.)

jerrye92002 said...

John, what you are missing is that the "sage on a stage" model of classroom instruction CREATES the very chaos that makes learning difficult. That is because the instruction proceeds, if the teacher is very good, at the exact proper pace for ONE of the students in the class. Those a little quicker get bored and become discipline problems (my kid was one) and those a little slower get lost and discouraged and become discipline problems. The beauty of CAI (what we called it way back when) is that EVERY student proceeds at exactly their own pace, so there is no time for devilment. The bright kid moves rapidly forward (my favorite story is about a 2nd-grade girl finishing 4th grade math in December, and promptly starting on 5th grade math) while the slower kid gets drilled and drilled until he gets it, or until the computer flags down the teacher to offer help. Usually, the kid gets it after a bit of repetition.

What's wrong with class size=1, especially when it costs less than class size=22? Granted there are some things computers can't do-- Kindergarten, art, probably English composition and literature, but there is no excuse for more schools not having adopted this technology long ago for the many subjects for which it IS well suited. None, that is, except union intrasigence at preferring more teachers doing a poor job to fewer teachers doing great, assisted by the technology. Sort of a Luddite mentality.

John said...

"the "sage on a stage" model of classroom instruction CREATES the very chaos that makes learning difficult."

Prove this silly claim. I think Mpls has enough chaos before the kids ever enter the school.
Mpls ELL and Spec Ed

Now I agree that a poor Teacher can make the chaos worse, but the idea that a good Teacher creates the chaos makes no sense.

jerrye92002 said...

"prove this silly claim"

OK. Lower class sizes improve education, true or false? Smaller classes make it easier to maintain class discipline, true or false? Poor students need more individual attention, true or false? Kids learn at different rates, and a teacher can only proceed at one pace through the material, meaning that in a class of 30 kids, 29 of them are either bored or lost; it's simple logic. Now, add computers and suddenly you have class size=1, the number of bored or lost drops by 97%, and both learning and discipline improve markedly. QED

John said...

This from the person who has for years insisted that classes can get bigger with no adverse effect? "Lower class sizes improve education, true or false?"

I agree that unlucky kids do need additional supervision, nurturing and support. I disagree that this can be provided via a webcam with a person from a totally different culture on the other end.

And if there are 30 kids in the room, a typical normal distribution should be able to be applied in most populations. Therefore probably ~20 are in a similar boat and there are 5 who are slower and 5 who are faster.

At Plymouth Middle School, they have 3 different levels of math for 6th graders dependent on their capability. Therefore the bottom ~half of the class takes normal math, the next ~quarter takes advanced and the highest quarter takes super advanced.

Please remember... I support the tools described in the link, they can help Teachers spend more one on one time with those who need it.

jerrye92002 said...

I wasn't asking ME about class size, I was asking YOU. And even the best research says that class sizes below about 18 are not cost effective. And I have agreed that, above the third grade, there are numbers at which the class size is a detriment to learning. However, did you ever take a college class with 250 other people? What is the significant difference between a professor 70 feet away and one 5000 miles away?

And I'm surprised that someone with your statistics knowledge would suggest that a normal distribution would put 20 kids at the median and just ASSUME the teacher would teach at that exact point, and that only 1/3 would lie outside that extremely narrow band. Even assuming an actual normal distribution where only 1/3 lie outside the 2-sigma range, there can be a LOT of variation within that 2 sigma, and you certainly do not expect those outside the 2-sigma to succeed, do you? Is a 33% failure rate acceptable? How much do the 1/3 disrupt learning for the 2/3? How else to explain results like Mpls schools, where twice as many white kids (2/3 of them)"get it" (presumably in the same class) as the black kids (only 1/3 of them) do?

Interesting that you offer Plymouth schools as an example, with 3 levels of math class. So with 80 students, say, wouldn't EIGHTY levels of math class be better?

John said...

Actually, we are on the poor side of Plymouth... (ie District 281)
Plymouth Middle Scool Demographics. With 35% free and reduced lunch levels our challenges are much different than our western sibling with 13%.

As I have mentioned, having an instructor 5000 miles away may be okay for mature responsible adults who want to be in the class. None of these statements describe most of the students in an 8th grade classroom.

It will be interesting to see where this goes.

Laurie said...

it seems to me individualizing math with online content at the right level and pace is a change that has progressed the most (that is it is being most commonly implemented), though at my school there is still room for improvement in the program we are using.