The primary problems that have prevented Progressive reformers from changing the core of the educational system are the schools' dependence on fixed curricula, the stranglehold of standardized testing, and the impossibility of giving individual attention with student-teacher ratios of thirty to one. For Progressive reforms to succeed on a widespread basis, we need to break the lockstep of the classroom. We must give students individual attention and customized support. Since we cannot afford to have a full-time teacher dedicated to each student, the solution rests with technology that allows students to learn naturally aided by one-on-one instruction.
The goal here is to take the natural interests of each student and use them as a vehicle for teaching what we want students to learn. If a student likes trucks, why not teach him to read about trucks, do the math that is needed to understand fuel economies and know the economics and politics needed to run a trucking company?
One primary reason Progressive reformers could not carry out their program earlier in this century is that they did not have the means to deliver such individualized instruction. While the Progressive movement acknowledged the importance of students controlling their own learning, it had no way to create an environment that would allow such self-management to occur. The computer has the power to change all this.
Learning by Experience
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