Will Technology Solve the Problems with Education?

Will Technology Solve the Problems with Education?

Will Technology Solve the Problems with Education?

From the last two articles I wrote – here and here, we can agree that there are two major problems with the educational system. 

  1. The 2 Sigma Problem
  2. The Greater Problem.

Having spoken extensively about these two problems, it brings to bear the questions – Will Technology solve these problems?

This is a tricky question and there is the possibility that I am biased in reasoning considering I work for an edtech company. Plus, there is an ideology that says our salaries are a compensation for us to be subjective. While I’d do my very best to remain objective, I want you to  be critical in reasoning as well. This is also a tricky question because we can learn from history how Technology has proven unpredictable in terms of disruption 

Will Technology Solve these Problems?

There is no doubt that Technology is a solid solution to the 2 sigma problem as it makes personalized learning very possible at scale. But the question to ask is how personalized is personalized?

Technology is deployed by recording a person teaching a class and uploaded on a platform for people to watch asynchronously. It still doesn’t factor each individual student as all that is happening is one teacher deploying the same content using the same style and method for different students to watch at their different times. 

According to some groups including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and EDUCAUSE “personalized learning” rests on four pillars:

  • Each student should have a “learner profile” that documents his or her strengths, weaknesses, preferences, and goals.
  • Each student should pursue an individualized learning path that encourages him or her to set and manage personal academic goals.
  • Students should follow a “competency-based progression” that focuses on their ability to demonstrate mastery of a topic, rather than seat time.
  • Students’ learning environments should be flexible and structured in ways that support their individual goals.

Yes, each student can control when and what to watch per time but there is no substantial evidence that “when and what” will lead to a greater academic performance let alone greater performance after school. I can put up a video class but not pay attention to what is being. True, the tutors find every creative way to keep the students engaged but a student who doesn’t want anything to do with Maths but is forced to do it if they want to get promoted will still struggle to pay attention. 

This leads us to the next problem – the greater problem. Can technology solve it? I believe this is not the right question to ask at this point. The greater problem with education is a question of how do we get our kids to learn skills that will enable them to live meaningful lives? It doesn’t matter if it is via technology or traditional means just yet. 

Constraining a child to learn what he doesn’t want only makes his life more miserable – either via technology or traditional. The idea that there is a fixed pattern in life is totally ridiculous. Fifteen years ago, nobody thought there would be job titles like community manager, YouTuber, Podcaster, etc. What subjects are needed to become all these? There is also a strong possibility that in the next 10 years, most of the jobs we have today will be replaced by something entirely different. 

Teaching a child to live a meaningful life is what helps in spotting opportunities and making the best of them. So, it is not yet a question of technology or not. We cannot talk about personalized learning if we still have to force children to study what they have totally no interest in. 

True personalized learning takes into account the interest of the learner. Hence, technology might just not be the innovation we need right now as it seems as though technology aims to do more harm than good – amplify the problems with education. 

Traditional education is setting up children to be what they have no interest in only to come out into the real world to be stuck and clueless. With the introduction of technology, we would have clueless children at scale. 

How about an alternate schooling experience to solve the production of clueless children? How about a school (with or without technology) that focuses on developing the child to be the best version of themselves enough to cause ruckuses?

to be continued… 

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