Response to Diane Ravitch NPR Interview on “Reign of Error”

Please see Diane’s blog and NPR for my responses. Both are similar with some small differences. (archived below)

(From Diane’s Blog)

“I heard this broadcast this morning and was disappointed by your rationale towards technology.

What is technology? This term is often used broadly without specific consideration to what you are actually talking about. It seems you are considering that computer technology may make teachers obsolete. You may forget that the printing press is also technology, and computer technology which you are specifically referring to in the context of education is simply an evolution of the printing press. Can improved books and learning materials make teachers obsolete? If they are unwilling to change their methods then possibly some of them; yes. This will result in increased demand for teachers with the new skill set.

As someone in the education industry, you might think I would be worried about this possibility, but I am not. My reasoning is straightforward. Future computerized educational learning systems will contain thorough curriculums, and someone with expert knowledge will need to assist in the programming and updating of these curriculums, as well as the analysis of results. This demand may simply replace the in classroom demand and represents a shift from on-premise teaching to remote teaching.

So your concern Diane (and like-minded followers and teachers) should not be whether or not your time and knowledge will become obsolete.. Your concern should be whether or not you will have the skills and ability to embrace the future of delivering education.”

(From NPR)

“It seems that many share your predilection Bertis, but it is emotionally motivated and subjective.

I heard this broadcast this morning and was disappointed by Diane’s rationale towards technology.

What is technology? This term is often used broadly without specific consideration to what the conversation is actually talking about. It seems that you, Diane and many others are considering that computer technology may make teachers obsolete. We must not forget that the printing press is also technology. Computer technology, specifically referred to in this interview, in the context of education is simply an evolution of the printing press. Can improved books and learning materials make teachers obsolete? If educators are unwilling to change their methods then possibly some of them; yes. This will result in increased demand for educators with the new skill set.

As someone in the education industry, one might think I would be worried about this possibility, but I am not. My reasoning is straightforward. Future computerized educational learning systems will contain thorough curriculums, and someone with expert knowledge will need to assist in the programming and updating of these curriculums, as well as the analysis of results. This demand may simply replace the in classroom demand and represents a shift from on-premise teaching to remote teaching.

So your concern and Diane’s (as well as any other like-minded followers and teachers) should not be whether or not the time and knowledge of our teachers will become obsolete.. The concern should be whether or not we will have the skills, ability and open-mindedness to embrace the future of epistemology. This invites the question – What is the most efficient method of delivering education?”

References
NPR Interview: http://www.npr.org/2013/09/27/225748846/diane-ravitch-rebukes-education-activists-reign-of-error
Diane Ravitch Blog: http://dianeravitch.net/
Diane’s Blog re: NPR Interview: http://dianeravitch.net/2013/09/27/maybe-my-best-interview-ever-npr-morning-edition/

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