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Online Learning and the Ed Tech Debate

Released Monday, 17th August 2020
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This episode is all about education and technology, a topic that’s especially top of mind this week as students in much of the country return to school—virtually. The intersection of learning and technology has been accelerated by the pandemic, but the debate around education's "disruption," and what that means for educators doing the hands-on work of teaching, has been swirling for years.

In this episode, a16z general partner Connie Chan and host Lauren Murrow are joined by educators and experts Josh Kim, the Director of Online Programs and Strategy at  Dartmouth College (whose most recent book, Learning Innovation and the Future of Higher Ed…, was published earlier this year), and David Deming, Professor of Education and Economics at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

We explore the complicated issue of online education from a variety of angles: Can the quality of online learning stack up to an  in-person education? What improvements have we seen over the past decade and what improvements are we likely to see this fall, compared to the COVID scramble last spring? And might this moment be the push we need for educators and technologists—sometimes at odds—to collaborate more closely?

We discuss and debate the research behind online learning, the dual impact of tech and COVID on the future of higher ed, and tech's potential in everything from curriculum to access to structural inequality.