17 Comments
Mar 20, 2023Liked by Dan Meyer

Thank you so much for existing on this planet! Reading this is exactly what people need to understand about the role of teaching and learning. Interpreting the smily face response as a student reaching out for belonging is something only a human teacher could do. Teaching as an act of love is what you modeled here, and not something computers can provide.

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Mar 16, 2023Liked by Dan Meyer

I am a current user of the Desmos/Amplify curriculum and LOVE it. I appreciated your perspectives on EdTech and wanted to share this information with my administrators, so I clicked on the linked Gates Foundation research. It brought me to a paper from 2015 that only talked about the scholastic gains of students experiencing personalized learning, but didn't mention "diminished feelings of belonging and safety". Is there a different study you could direct me to?

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Mar 17, 2023Β·edited Mar 17, 2023Author

Thanks for the feedback on the curriculum! I had the wrong RAND study link in the post and just now corrected it. This one has the graph from the post.

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2042.html

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All links still point to the same study, and that study mentions nothing about safety. You make a powerful claim that really needs powerful support. I look forward to a re-corrected link.

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I apologize. The correction is now corrected.

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2042.html

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We are learning.

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Thank you for helping all of us, including the Gates folks, get smarter about learning, thinking, growing and most of all participating in democratic math learning.

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Learning is a human experience. I forget where I read that, but it was before Covid and Covid illustrated how true it was. Learning is about the shared social experience of success, struggle and failure. Students need the shared moments that define learning. Those experiences create belonging and purpose and may be more valuable than the "content" around which the experience occurs. Technology standing alone doesn't create a learning experience. It's a tool to be used by humans to create moments.

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I really appreciate these words, especially considering the audience, as it is so student-focused. To ask "What are students good for?" almost seems subversive, but I think it gets the point across when talking to folks who are particularly focused on scaling education solutions that make an impact.

At face value, the magic you describe at the end of your post is not scalable in the traditional sense. We're imagining a great teacher who has strong relationships with students who are mostly engaged with the work and each other. This teacher hits on a moment of opportunity which weaves together humor, mathematical thinking, and classroom community that doesn't really play well on a spreadsheet analyzing the effectiveness of the technology (or the teacher for that matter). This isn't necessarily a plug and play instructional move or piece of tech so it feels "unscalable", but I would argue that there are opportunities to spread this knowledge and invest in these moments (which I hope the Gates Foundation took to heart). I'm specifically thinking of large ways in the professional development realm and in small ways like your post "Tiny Teaching Games".

A final thought which is in response to Khan Academy's recent unveiling of their GPT-4 integration (https://youtu.be/rnIgnS8Susg). While I do think this is game-changing in the tutoring world, it is certainly not the panacea for teaching & learning that some are calling it. Namely it does not solve one of the challenges that Khan Academy has always faced (i.e., it only works if the student is willing to sit down and engage with the work). I think Sal understands this as you'll notice he consistently says "tutor" not "teacher" throughout, which is an important distinction. Yes, in the use cases described in the video, a human teacher is probably not "good" for much. But if we believe in the value of "socialized learning" as a critical piece of the student growth equation and the role teachers play in creating it, teachers are very much good for something.

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> This isn't necessarily a plug and play instructional move or piece of tech so it feels "unscalable", but I would argue that there are opportunities to spread this knowledge and invest in these moments (which I hope the Gates Foundation took to heart). I'm specifically thinking of large ways in the professional development realm and in small ways like your post "Tiny Teaching Games".

Definitely. I mentioned this to the group at BMGF as well. The efficacy of our change model scales linearly with teacher quality. (By contrast, the dominant edtech model doesn't have much use for more teacher quality.) That's why I'm basically fully invested right now in scalable teacher development.

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Love the nuance and insight in this post. Would love more ed. conversations exploring the ideas raised in here πŸ‘

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Excellent. You asked a question that rarely gets raised, but is so fundamental to our sense of worth and dignity (I'm talking about all three participants β€” students, teachers and edtechies). Another way of getting at the same issues is to ask "what is the purpose of education", which an educator friend of mine did ask a room full of educators. Useful conversation ensued. You nailed the fundamental problem with Khan Academy β€” it streamlines the delivery of traditional education, without questioning what education is, other than to allow the student to work at their own pace (which is significant, but only a small part of the puzzle).

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β€œ...I want to suggest that where this edtech model hits a new gear is when we get the teacher involved. We give teachers a view of this early student thinking in real time.” πŸ‘The way we often teach math now is like teaching kids to shoot foul shots and then sending them off to do it at home (or in a virtual gym) never watching them shoot, but only looking at their score (how many problems correct). Real time coaching is crucial and Ed Tech should be a tool for returning any classroom or computer lab into a coaching engine... Big weakness of, for example, an otherwise useful program like ST Math. It runs along on auto and arely actually gets teachers involved.

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I wrote a similar thing about a piece of ed-tech some 30 years ago. It was called a coursebook. Nothing new here. Whatever happened to blended learning? I think we've mistaken the detour for the actual road.

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Did they actually hear you, or just politely listening?

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Yeah, they were a very receptive audience and also asked some helpful follow-ups around the kinds of teacher PD our model requires.

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Mar 16, 2023Liked by Dan Meyer

We heard Dan!

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