Excellent piece from the NY Times on the initiatives of the Gates Foundation:
The education gap facing the nation’s work force is evident in the numbers. Most new jobs will require more than a high school education, yet fewer than half of Americans under 30 have a postsecondary degree of any kind. Recent state budget cuts, education experts agree, promise to make closing that gap even more difficult.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and four nonprofit education organizations are beginning an ambitious initiative to address that challenge by accelerating the development and use of online learning tools.
Just how effective technology can be in improving education — by making students more effective, more engaged learners — is a subject of debate. To date, education research shows that good teachers matter a lot, class size may be less important than once thought and nothing improves student performance as much as one-on-one human tutoring.
If technology is well designed, experts say, it can help tailor the learning experience to individual students, facilitate student-teacher collaboration, and assist teachers in monitoring student performance each day and in quickly fine-tuning lessons.
At the Harlan Institute, we are at the cutting-edge of fusing technology and education. We are very pleased to see such recognition of the power of computers to enlighten tomorrow’s leaders.