Moore’s Law Coming to a Classroom Near You

May 16th, 2013

Category: Policy and Practice, Student-Centered Learning

Moore’s Law is pretty straightforward – technology capacity doubles almost every two years. Looking back, it’s clear that the theory has been uncannily accurate, with all of us scrambling just to keep up with the pace of technology’s development and applicability to our daily lives.

As covered previously, it seemed like technology has yet to have that sort of compounding impact on education. However, based on events of the past couple weeks, maybe Moore’s Law is coming to a classroom, school, or even home near you much sooner than we realize.

For starters, Coursera, one of a few Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) providers, announced it will offer free professional development courses to all interested educators. Initial topics range from strategies to help you be successful as a novice teacher, utilizing formative assessments to ensure math instruction aligns to the Common Core, to incorporating positive psychology to increase student engagement and achievement. Looking at the list of topics and providers, two things become glaringly apparent. First, educators, regardless of zip code, are going to be able to learn from the best, whether it’s unpacking student motivation from KIPP’s Dave Levin or digging deep into various science topics from the American Museum of Natural History. And second, as Delaware educators begin to voluntarily enroll in MOOCs and see (or don’t see) value – are we going to start seeing credit given for completion? And while these are free initially, will districts and/or schools be willing to pay for their teachers’ enrollment in the future?

In addition to development, an initiative to extend the reach of great teachers to more students is starting to take root – with astonishing interest from educators. Project L.I.F.T (Leadership and Investment for Transformation), a public/private initiative that works with Opportunity Culture in Charlotte, had 708 applications for 28 positions for its initial cohort of teacher leaders! Those numbers alone demonstrate that teachers are hungry for opportunities to grow professionally. In addition to Charlotte, Metro Nashville Public Schools and Clark County School District (Las Vegas) are working with Opportunity Culture to expand similar initiatives to their districts. Many of the benefits educators experience working in these types of environments can be found in Digital Learning Now!’s recently released report Improving Conditions and Careers: How Blended Learning Can Improve the Teaching Profession.

And last, the National Education Association is encouraging teachers to lend their voice in highlighting the positive and negatives associated with various assessments used within our schools through Teach Plus’ Assessment Advisor. The partnership between the NEA and Teach Plus is unique and represents an extraordinary opportunity for teachers to share their expertise directly with both each other and external folks. This collaboration is one of the first (among hopefully many) times groups that are seemingly at odds partner to empower educators to solve our most pressing issues. Whether it’s rating assessments in partnership with Teach Plus or working with the National Center of Time and Learning to provide extended learning opportunities for kids, it’s clear that there are areas in which agreement is within reach and collaboration can help provide better educational experiences for all our students. 

Hopefully, these aren’t just one-offs and point to something much bigger – a world in which teachers, students, and others embrace the power of technology to drive improvement within our schools. I know Moore would be excited to see his theory start to take root within our schools, clearly expanding the benefits we’ve all experienced outside of classrooms to our students and teachers.

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Brett Turner



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