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We don’t need no educator: The role of the teacher in today’s online education

Nov 13, 2011
Keynote presentation delivered to NFF konferansen: Utdanning i bevegelse, Oslo, Norway.

How often do we read about the importance of teachers in education? It must be every day, it seems. We are told about "strong empirical evidence that teachers are the most important school-based determinant of student achievement" again and again.

The problem with the educational system, it is argued, is that teachers need to be held accountable. We are told we must fire incompetent teachers. Not just in the United States, but in the UK and elsewhere, the concern is that bad teachers must go.

The problem with focusing on the role of the teacher, from my perspective, is that it misses the point. Though there may still be thousands of people employed today with the job title of "teacher" or "educator", it is misleading to suggests that all, or even most, aspects of providing an education should, or could, be placed into the hands of these individuals.

[Slides] [Audio]

Nade Conference 2011; Stephen Downes: We don't need no educator (Part 1) from NADE_NFF on Vimeo.

NADE Conference 2011; Stephen Downes (Part 2) from NADE_NFF on Vimeo.

[Conference Link]