Trends | Replacing Teachers with Digital Tools? Not Quite.

As digital tools proliferate and improve, solid instruction in the basics will eventually become “flat”—available anywhere globally, argue Bryan and Emily Hassel of Public Impact in a new paper,  “Teachers in the Age of Digital Instruction.” The elements of excellent teaching that are most difficult for technology to replace will increasingly differentiate student outcomes. They say that teacher effectiveness may matter even more than it does today. Why? “…the selectivity and prevalence of the teachers-in-charge who will leverage technology—and be leveraged by it—will be the distinguisher of learning outcomes among schools and nations,” they write. But for this drastic reshaping of the US education system to happen, something’s gotta give. This insightful paper outlines what that is and how we might get there. On to another vital topic: In “School Finance in the Digital-Learning Era,” Paul T. Hill of the Center for Reinventing Public Education, explains how the existing school finance model creates significant barriers to innovators entering the education market and proposes some creative solutions, such as a combination of weighted-student funding (the “backpack” model)—linked to accountability for results—and a debit card that parents can use for supplemental online learning. For more deep reads in edtech, check out the Fordham Institute site.


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