Is scaling up a matter of philosophy or ritual? Of belief or benediction? Of action or intercession? Does #edreform really have one edge instead of many sides? Many sides that make one edge? Are we on a loop, as well as in a box? Just because both close, is there really no way out?
Is education intimate or mediated?
If we agree that education is an intimate act, then how do we reconcile #edreform with scalability? Is 1:1 learning intimate? Are adaptive computer programs intimate? Does a customized process or customizable product ensure intimacy – a relationship characterized by trust? Do students – do we – trust machines more than educators to deliver intimate education? Do positive academic results denote intimate curriculum, assessment, and instruction? Do negative academic results denote mistrust? Is there an objective, goal-driven intimacy achievable by HAL that it not achievable by every teacher with every student?
When we create this technology at a scalable cost, does that become the price of teaching – of a teacher’s salary? Should a teacher’s salary be formulated based on the per pupil licensing cost of a technology that achieves comparable results? Should there be a division of labor and stratification of pay for teachers teaching or facilitating content delivery and those teaching students how to learn? Who wants which job? Who will do it? Should students be allowed to learn how to learn only after they have mastered learning content? How much longer will those teacher roles be merged? Are they still? Does blended learning and open-source education privilege kids who have learned how to learn?
Is customized education unscalable or infinitely scalable? At what ratio of facilitator to learner? Does every child need a master teacher’s attention every day, or can they learn just as effectively through technology curated by a master teacher or from apprentices working under a master teacher?
Is there an ability, age, or attitude at which a student no longer needs a teacher? Are teachers childish things? Have we lost our faith in us? Have we lost our faith in the institutions we serve despite, or because of, their size?
Are we approaching a three-tiered model of education with “passing” kids getting teacher instruction, “bubble” kids getting technology mediated instruction, and “failing” kids getting different teacher attention than that received by the “passing” kids? What will this do for test scores? What will this do for #edreform? What will this do for generational cycles of school engagement? Community engagement? Communities? The world?
Is scalability primarily an economic problem or a problem of social justice? Which kind of problem is education? Public education? Is spending less for better results just? Is education a problem of economics? Do we pare down to protect essential services or redefine essential services and fight for kids’ due?
What is due kids?
That’s an intimate question. Is it school? Is it a teacher? Is it something ineffable and intrinsic?
Is your answer scalable and does that matter?
Who is willing to invest in something out of hand?