Help me get this message to Mark Zuckerberg…

Dear Mark,

you wrote a new letter on your own network about philanthropy and you want technology to save American Education. First of all, great you want to help the world, but as an educational scientist you got me a bit worried.

I want to discuss this excerpt of your text:

To imagine what a future education system might look like, consider the research of Benjamin Bloom showing that if you take an average student and give them one-to-one tutoring, they will perform two standard deviations better than other students learning by conventional techniques. In other words, if a student is at the 50th percentile in their class and they receive effective one-on-one tutoring, they jump on average to the 98th percentile.

That suggests we need an education system where all students receive the equivalent of an expert one-on-one tutor. That is what we mean when we refer to “personalized learning”. Rather than having every student sit in a classroom and listen to a teacher explain the same material at the same pace in the same way regardless of a student’s strengths, learning style and interests, research shows students will perform better if they can learn at their own pace, based on their own interests, and in a style that fits them.
There are several things to say here. I could start talking about solutionism but I’m sure you know Morozov, I could tell you how this has failed in the past, but the most important thing is: you state that what you say is research based, mentioning someone who died in 1999 as if ed research hasn’t developed since.
Oh, and there is also this:

Benjamin Riley is very correct, dear Mark, and I would suggest to invite the man too. What you write, has been one of the most enduring myths in education. I don’t think you need the money, but if you want to earn 5000 dollars you could try this challenge to prove me and the scientific world incorrect. Until then, please don’t say it is backed by research. If you want to know more about myths about learning and education, I sure want to send you our book.

Have a great 2018,



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